Archive for the 'Labour' Category

I cry for the Fyzabad I knew

By Raffique Shah
June 21, 2018

Raffique ShahIt was on this historic day 45 years ago that I started a new chapter in my life-my involvement in the trade union fraternity, and more specifically, being part of the thousands who made the annual pilgrimage to Fyzabad to pay tribute to pioneers of the labour movement, more specifically Tubal Uriah Butler. From June 19, 1973 until I called halt to marching with my comrades in 2009, I never missed a Labour Day celebration in Fyzabad.
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Darryl Smith Fired by Rowley

The statement from the Office of the Prime Minister

Darryl SmithToday, (April 10, 2018) Prime Minister Dr the Honourable Keith Rowley advised Her Excellency Paula-Mae Weekes, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in keeping with the provision of Section 3(9) of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, to revoke the appointment of Mr Darryl Smith as Minister in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

This following a meeting between the Prime Minister, the Minister of Planning and Development, the Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis and Mr Smith during which new information came to the attention of the Prime Minister.
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Contradictions & Counterfactuals – Pt 2

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
February 13, 2018

“…a state could never have been born without surplus.” —Yanis Varoufakis

PART 1 — PART 2

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIn the nineteenth century Trinidad saw the first massive giveaway of lands and bonuses to the Indians in lieu of their passages to India. Those options were never available to Africans. This was the first step in the systematic dispossession of Africans in the land to which they had been brought. Few of us seem to remember it.

Fast-forward to one hundred and thirty years (around the year 2003) when a PNM government engineered another massive giveaway of lands, which is taking place in front of our eyes under the faulty premise that Indians had the first preference because they farmed the lands. This was/is strange logic since these lands belong to all nationals.
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Let casino workers plant peas in Cumuto

By Raffique Shah
October 26, 2017

Raffique ShahIt says so much about this country, about the national psyche, when, in the wake of a budget that will impact the cost of living almost across the board, reducing people’s purchasing power, the most vociferous protests are coming from gambling establishments that add nothing productive to the economy, but enrich a handful of casino owners, pauperise thousands of families, reduce many female gamblers to prostitutes, and provide the biggest avenue for laundering the ill-gotten gains of criminal enterprises, in particular money from the illicit drugs and firearms trades.
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Labour Day blues

By Raffique Shah
June 28, 2017

Raffique ShahI awoke on Labour Day morning to Public Services Association (PSA) president Watson Duke saying in a television interview: Maternity leave? I’m not talking about maternity leave. I am talking about parental leave…two years each for both mother and father…

I groaned, my features turning sour, my Labour Day mood dampened, not by the approaching storm, but by the “gobar” being spewed from the mouth of one of the senior trade unionists in the country. I had gone to sleep the previous night thinking of the glory days at Fyzabad, between 1973 and 2009, when, without fail, I marched with pride alongside giants like George Weekes and Joe Young, and later Clive Nunez, Errol McLeod, Lyle Townsend and others, leading thousands of enthusiastic workers and farmers and unemployed persons, lustily singing our union battle-hymns.
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Spreading Planter Propaganda

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 21, 2017

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI am sorry I am only now getting back to Kamal Persad’s response to my article, “Getting It Right” (March 26). I noted: “While Indians were treated in a horrible, inhumane manner…, there is no doubt the Indians were brought to Trinidad to undercut the progress that Africans were making at the economic front.”
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Sugar industry was doomed to fail

By Raffique Shah
Submitted: July 26, 2016
Published: August 01, 2016

Raffique ShahTrinidad & Tobago, as a very inefficient producer of sugar, relying heavily on preferential, prices for the commodity from Britain, and later the European Union, should have scaled back sugar production from the 1970s when the industry’s losses mounted year after year, soon to reach uncontrollable levels.
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Butler and Rienzi

By Raffique Shah
June 26, 2016

Raffique ShahWithin recent years, annual Labour Day celebrations trigger accusations that the trade unions that mark the occasion with marches and speeches at Fyzabad pay homage only to Tubal Uriah Butler, never Adrian Cola Rienzi.

Such sentiments imply that Rienzi, whose original name was Krishna Deonarine, is ignored by labour because of his race. They suggest that his contribution to trade unions in the country through registration and leadership of both the oil workers’ OWTU and the sugar workers’ ATSEFWTU in 1937 was as critical to the recognition and development of labour as Butler’s charismatic appeal to the masses.
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Don’t take Mittal’s mill even for free

By Raffique Shah
March 16, 2016

Raffique ShahTrinidadians are hell, I tell you.

Take their almost instantaneous sympathy with the 600-odd steel workers who found themselves jobless last week when ArcelorMittal shut down its plant in this country.

Sure, that means at least 5,000 family members facing very uncertain times if not utter devastation. Those who have mortgages or rentals could lose the roofs over their heads. Vehicles may be repossessed. Children’s education will be at risk, in particular those who attend university. And ultimately, putting food on the table might be a challenge.
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More CEPEP, URP ‘lochos’

By Raffique Shah
Jun 13, 2015

Raffique ShahAs she enters uncharted territory seeking a second term in office, the Prime Minister exudes a measure of confidence that is at odds with a widely-held perception that her People’s Partnership coalition will lose the general election.

She and her ministers have made it clear that they plan to campaign on performance, which they hope will mute charges of corruption, waste and scandal that were deafening during the past five years.
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