Category Archives: PNM

Academic oasis

By Raffique Shah
September 05, 2022

Raffique ShahI was scanning the local television channels last Tuesday for any Independence-related special programming they might feature on the eve of the 60th anniversary, when I realised CCN TV6 was about to run live coverage of the formal opening of the Dr Eric Williams Memorial Library and museum in Port of Spain.

As the cameras panned the guests arriving for what was likely to be one of the feature events of the anniversary, I experienced a wave of nostalgia, memories of what seemed to have been many years ago when Erica Williams, daughter of the late prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, first communicated with me about her project.
Continue reading Academic oasis

The cries of our people

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
August 29, 2022

“The horner man crying; Somebody horn de horner man…”
—Anil Roberts on Keith Rowley

“I could take a horn if I get one. I ain’t sending nobody to kill nobody.”
—Dr Keith Rowley’s response to Roberts

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeThese are the sentiments of two of our leaders on the eve of the Diamond jubilee of our Independence. Serious people treated Roberts’ characterisation of Sharon Clark-Rowley, the prime minister’s wife, with the disdain that it deserved. There was no reason to drag her into the gutter, as there was no need to elevate such spurious nonsense to the level of serious national discourse. As we say—if you play with the dog, you get bitten by the fleas.
Continue reading The cries of our people

Show me your leader

By Raffique Shah
August 29, 2022

Raffique ShahIt’s not so much that we have little or nothing to celebrate on the 60th anniversary of our Independence from Britain, as so many who swear they are patriots, but whose patriotism swings with the pendulum of their political party’s fortunes, which almost always are linked to their personal fortunes.

It’s more that our democracy has been carved up into near-equal but uneven parts in such manner, to misquote Irish poet William Yeats in his near-prophetic masterpiece, “The Second Coming”, “…Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world/The blood-dimmed tide is loosed and everywhere/The ceremony of innocence is drowned/The best lack all conviction/While the worst/Are full of passionate intensity…”
Continue reading Show me your leader

Finding African farmers

By Raffique Shah
August 15, 2022

Raffique ShahIt pains me whenever I feel it necessary to confront the race issue in my column. I see it as a waste of valuable column centimetres where those of us who have been selected by the managers and editors of newspapers to highlight and comment on matters of national importance instead find ourselves discussing drivel.

But there comes a time when columnists cannot ignore attempts by influential people in the society resorting to race, playing the race card when everything else fails them, in the hope that controversy might save them from oblivion, a fate politicians fear more than they do the hell-fire that is promised to believers and non-believers alike for the sinful lives they lead, convinced they are so clever, they can fool even the Creator.
Continue reading Finding African farmers

An unforgiving electorate

By Raffique Shah
August 08, 2022

Raffique ShahContinuing where I ended last Sunday, by the turn of the millennium and the century, the Opposition United National Congress had positioned itself to capitalise on the vulnerabilities of the People’s National Movement, which had been weakened by the mass movement of 1970 (Black Power) that was driven largely by the children and grandchildren of the PNM.
Continue reading An unforgiving electorate

Keith Rowley’s failed leadership

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
August 01, 2022

PART III

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOn Friday, July 21, 2021, around 1.30 p.m., PM Keith Rowley was preparing for his golf game when a senior golf services coordinator sustained an ankle injury from a golf cart he was driving. Nothing untoward seems to have happened to the woman. An hour later, Rowley confirmed, “While I was playing golf I heard from my lawyer that the woman was taken to the hospital, was checked out and cleared to go… Nobody was ‘run over’.” (Express, October 27, 2021).
Continue reading Keith Rowley’s failed leadership

Let’s try ah madman instead

By Raffique Shah
August 01, 2022

Raffique ShahI do not believe the people of Trinidad and Tobago, least of all those whose votes matter in a near-evenly-divided electorate, are ready for a leader who has the fortitude to take the resource-rich though now declining economy out of the cycles of poverty, stagnation and prosperity, to put it firmly on track such that it steers as close as is possible to an equitable distribution of its wealth—or suffering—and in the painful process deliver us from the evils of free-wheeling capitalism and neo-liberalism that coagulates into one of the filthy-rich, dirt-poor extremities that are imploding across the world, their populations equally stripped of all hope as ours is, the only difference being this time we go down with the ship since there are no alternative options.
Continue reading Let’s try ah madman instead

Keith Rowley’s Failed Leadership

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
July 25, 2022

PART IPART II

The Hatter asks Alice: “Why is a bird like a desk?”

Alice was pleased. She enjoyed playing word games, so she said, “That’s an easy question.”

“Do you mean you know the answer?” said the March Hare.

“Yes,” said Alice.

“Then you must say what you mean,” the March Hare said.

“I do,” Alice said quickly. “Well, I mean what I say. And that’s the same thing, you know.”

“No, it isn’t!” said the Hatter.

—Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOn April 21, 2022, the prime minister commented on the close to 20 murders that took place while he was in Barbados. Asked if T&T was losing its fight against crime, the PM responded: “I don’t notice anybody running away from the fact that we are a violent society and in recent years a number of persons have gotten their hands on firearms, handguns in particular.” (Express, April 22.)
Continue reading Keith Rowley’s Failed Leadership

Circling like corbeaux

By Raffique Shah
July 25, 2022

Raffique ShahNothing defined the great dividing line in this country the way the Law Association lawyers’ motion to have Attorney General Reginald Armour resign from office did when it came before the legal fraternity two weeks ago.

As people with an iota of common sense will have noted, while there was an element of race in the proceedings, it was not the only, or even the main factor that drove the campaign to oust the AG. It was all political—a straight case of who in the profession supported the incumbent PNM Government, or who supported the Opposition UNC. The stench of politics in what can be said to have been a minor confrontation was overpowering.
Continue reading Circling like corbeaux

Keith Rowley’s Failed Leadership

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
July 18, 2022

PART I

Why boaseth thyself, oh evil man
Playing smart and not being clever.

—“Small Axe” by Bob Marley

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeAs I listened to a recent message that Mother Bernie sent to Keith Rowley, I appreciated anew why Eric Williams paid so much attention to the wisdom of the leaders of the Spiritual Baptist faith. In her tour de force, she informed Rowley of some truths about leadership that laid bare his shortcomings as our political leader.
Continue reading Keith Rowley’s Failed Leadership