Category Archives: Health

Be Very Afraid

By Raffique Shah
December 22, 2020

Raffique ShahAs we come close to the end of the year 2020, millions of people around the world who believe in God in one form or other will be praying to their deity that nothing cataclysmic happens in the dying days of what is probably the most tumultuous year in our lifetime. Really, after Covid-19 swept through planet Earth with a death-dealing ferocity that numbed the mind, what worse punishment could God conjure to hurl at man to teach him just who is who in the planetary pecking order? How much more adversity can tiny Trinidad and Tobago withstand, caught as it is in the cross-hairs of an economic meltdown multiplied by a migrant crisis that has damaged our reputation as well as strained our resilience?
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Demonizing Black People

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
November 25, 2020

“Me nah know how we and dem a go work this out/But someone will have to pay/for the innocent blood/that they shed every day.”

—Bob Marley, “We and Dem”

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeThere is a notion that Trinis are a happy-go-lucky people, a description that may be more applicable to African-descended people than to members of other groups of the population. Such a description may be more illustrative of those of us whose world view has been influenced by African religions and philosophies as put forth by John Mbiti in African Religion and Philosophy, Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, or Chigozie Obioma’s An Orchestra of Minorities.

Such a notion (“happy-go-lucky Trinis”) has led others to believe that we care mostly about the celebration of the flesh and other worldly pursuits as depicted in our carnival celebration. Some have even said that while their people were “beating books, we were beating pan,” a cavalier dismissal of an important aspect of our creativity and identity.
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The Racial Divide

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
November 16, 2020

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeWhen T&T gained independence in 1962 we reveled in the possibility that we had set ourselves upon a path to deal with the problems of colonialism, particularly the sinful racism, that had disfigured our society. In 1970, disappointed that Black people were still being denied jobs and position because of their color, the Black Power Rebellion added the struggle of anti-blackness to the national agenda.

Fifty years after independence, we are still plagued with racial discrimination even though it has taken a different dimension. In the 1970s we were faced with white over black racism, today it’s brown over black, the former having inculcated some of the nastiest racial biases of the white ruling class.
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Of conformity and stupidity

By Raffique Shah
October 27, 2020

Raffique ShahAt age 74, and stricken with two “co-morbidities” as members of the medical profession would describe Parkinson’s Disease and asthma, I know that if ever I contracted the Covid-19 virus, odds are that it could be a fatal affliction, that I’d likely die during such encounter. Both conditions compromise the body’s immune system. There is no cure for PD, and asthma attacks the respiratory tracts. Hence if I value my life, I need to exercise extreme caution, adhere to the Covid-19 protocols, and until a vaccine is available or treatments are developed to eliminate the virus’ devastating impact on human beings, I should take cover, preferably in a “bubble”, and stay safe.
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President Trump’s Disruptive Power

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
October 05, 2020

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeWhen I arrived in the U.S. in 1964, the presidential contest between Lyndon Johnson (Democrat) and Barry Goldwater (Republican) was underway. They disagreed on many issues (for example, the use of the atomic bomb in warfare and U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War), but their major difference revolved around how to tackle the legal barriers that prevented African-Americans from voting in federal and state elections. This initiative was the culmination of ten years of sustained struggles by African-Americans against all forms of discrimination against them.
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A Plea for Humility & Equanimity

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 28, 2020

“The work of the desireless doer can rightly be expected to be better than that of one driven by desire for the fruit.”

—The Gita According to Gandhi

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeAt the beginning of last week, a disturbing video began to circulate on social media. It shows about a dozen school children dancing while music played in the background. These children seem to be “holding and drinking what appeared to be alcoholic beverages.” In the video, a woman is heard to be saying to another adult, “Is that what you have the children doing?” (Guardian, September 25).
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Sorry, Not Sorry: The Business of Racism in T&T

By A. Hotep
August 15, 2020

No RacismThe Supermarket Association of Trinidad and Tobago (SATT), and by extension the business community, was never interested in addressing racism. Poor working conditions and poor remuneration packages are all part of class and racial discrimination which, at the very least, renders many members of the business community complicit. Now that people are prepared to take action to deal with racism, the business community should not be allowed to set the standard for redress. This was made clear by SATT’s quick backpedalling of its boycott of Ramsaran-branded products after calling on the company to “[seek] the appropriate remedial action in a consistent and satisfactory manner.” Aside from the Ramsaran’s text-book apology and “firing” of the owner’s daughter, how has the company demonstrated appropriate remedial action?
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Making of a megalomaniac

By Raffique Shah
August 03, 2020

Raffique ShahEight days from today, Kamla Persad-Bissessar expects to be named Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago after she leads the United National Congress to victory in the general election, Hers is a legitimate expectation, and she has as good a chance as Dr Keith Rowley, the incumbent office-holder and leader of the People’s National Movement. In fact, she could make history being the only female to win a second term as Prime Minister, to add to her already impressive career as a politician.
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Compassion and consumer power

By Raffique Shah
May 12, 2020

Raffique ShahBased on comments I’ve heard or read in the media on the likely economic realities that will confront us when Government eases the COVID-19 “lockdown”, I am worried about the future of Trinidad and Tobago. No one disputes that the country faces enormous problems, what with the near-collapse of the oil and gas sectors, the closure of several petrochemical plants in Point Lisas, and the absence of other export-driven industries that could earn substantial foreign exchange.
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