Archive for the 'Politics' Category

Beware: nasty election campaigns ahead

By Raffique Shah
March 20, 2019

Raffique ShahIf you thought that Vernella Alleyne-Toppin had plumbed the depth of depravity when, in the run-up to the 2015 general election, the then Tobago East MP launched the most scurrilous, vulgar attack on People’s National Movement leader Dr Keith Rowley, believe me, you haven’t seen the nastiest political campaigning yet.

Alleyne-Toppin had been allowed by House Speaker Wade Mark all the time she needed to allege that Rowley was a biological product of rape, and that he, in turn, would later end up committing the heinous crime to father a son. The alleged victims openly denied Toppin’s baseless charges, which were read into Hansard in the presence of her political leader, then Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, and other People’s Partnership parliamentary colleagues, none of whom intervened to stop the nastiness.
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Kamla’s Position on Venezuela Ascended the High Moral Ground

By Stephen Kangal
March 09, 2019

Stephen KangalIn the face of rapidly unfolding political and diplomatic events globally and the current isolation of T&T for its ill-advised decision to recognize unwittingly and side with the internationally denounced illegal and illegitimate regime of Nicolas Maduro bilaterally while pursuing a contradictory neutrality/ non-interference position at the multilateral Caricom and UN levels, it appears to me that Kamla outwitted Prime Minister Rowley in her strategic support for Interim President Juan Guaido.
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While I Am Here!

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
February 25, 2019

“Until all races see each other as brothers and sisters and not as competitors or enemies Trinidad and Tobago is not going to move forward.”

—Kamla Persad-Bissessar

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI congratulate the Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar for the brave speech on race relations in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) that she delivered on Monday, February 11. While I do not agree totally with the accuracy of her “short history lesson,” thinking in and of the future is much more important than being mired in the commess of the present. Demeaning Persad-Bissessar’s important insights by castigating the probity of her having Malone Hughes, a brother who was charged and fined several times , on her platform does a disservice to a brilliant analysis of our present condition. It reduces a pressing existentialist issue to a misguided rant about non-sense.
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Montevideo Mechanism Product of Corridor Diplomacy

By Stephen Kangal
February 18, 2019

Stephen KangalThe Chairman of Caricom, St Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Harris described the Montevideo Mechanism as a blue print or framework to process and resolve all political conflicts. However Caricom’s immediate mandate was to deal exclusively with identifying specific proposals/measures/ the way forward for abating and resolving the worsening humanitarian and political crisis in Venezuela via peaceful means.

This so -called peace-making Mechanism contains four theoretical modules that students develop in their conflict resolution classrooms. It is not self-executing and depends on the push and pull intervention by Mexico, Uruguay and Caricom for its fulfillment in Caracas. No word is forthcoming on progress being achieved this front.
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The Door of Tomorrow

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
February 12, 2019

“The civilization of the fathers was hinged on the preservation of that which already existed, not on the discovery of new things.”

—Chigozie Obioma, An Orchestra of Minorities

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeBrian Harry is a Trini who was educated at Queen’s Royal College. He has lost several friends because of his outspokenness. Some years ago he told me that a major difference between a developed and a developing society is one of attitude. Citizens of a developed society think of what they can do; citizens of developing societies always think about what they can’t do.

This distinction came to mind on January 29 as I read the Trinidad Express and the New York Times articles of how two jurists approached matters of public policy. The cases involved the use of marijuana and each jurist’s response to it. I appreciate that we are talking about two different systems of jurisprudence, but their responses to a similar problem was interesting.
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Periscope on upcoming national elections

By Raffique Shah
February 12, 2019

Raffique ShahEven as the crisis in neighbouring Venezuela remains volatile, with the threat of civil war looming large just beyond our horizon, politicians in Trinidad and Tobago are pressing ahead with preparations for their own political wars—local government elections due to be held later this year and a general election before the end of next year.

Elections in Trinidad and Tobago are driven by one core issue: when the People’s National Movement holds power, as it does now, how to remove it from office. Or when it’s out in the wilderness of opposition, how to keep it there. Nothing more, nothing less.
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Using Parliamentary Time to Humiliate the USA

By Stephen Kangal
February 11, 2019

Stephen KangalI am getting the impression that although we are mere seven miles from Venezuela, have potential energy interests there to safeguard and cultivate we also have even more compelling economic, technical co-operation and diasporic interests within the USA that is in fact our largest trading partner and source of actual and promising huge investment prospects.

Why is T&T giving undue precedence to propping up illegitimate and dictatorial Maduro and humiliating the USA in our current foreign policy posturing?
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Venezuelans should thank Rowley, not cuss him

By Raffique Shah
January 30, 2019

Raffique ShahThe Government of Trinidad and Tobago has adopted a correct response to the political crisis in the neighbouring Republic of Venezuela. In conforming with the United Nations charter that member-states will not intervene in the internal affairs of sovereign nations, as Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley explained, T&T has opted instead to join with CARICOM countries to try to persuade the UN to mediate between the warring factions and hopefully diffuse the tension and bring a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
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The Democratic Ethic Stopped A Secret Sandals Deal

By Stephen Kangal
January 22, 2019

Stephen KangalThe Sandals debacle is a reflection of our growing maturity as a Nation propelled by a strong interactive Westminster democratic ideal and a Civic Society that is vigilant and untrusting. Poor Project Management Skills as well as a very incompetent and arrogant political leadership and unilateralism contributed to the mismanagement of the Project in getting a discerning public to buy into it.

That is the crux driving the abandonment of the Sandals Resort that was to be constructed in Buccoo on very fragile and pollution-sensitive wetlands.
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Society steeped in corruption

By Raffique Shah
January 16, 2019

Raffique ShahSometime in 2017, I wrote a column in which I counselled Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to refrain from hurling allegations of corruption against ministers and senior officials of the People’s Partnership Government unless or until such time as some them have been charged with serious corruption-related criminal offences.

By then, I had reasoned, most citizens had grown fed up with such allegations being made by parties in power and those in opposition, with no proof produced as they exchanged places every five years from 1986 when the People’s National Movement was first voted out of office after a 30-year grip on power. The average person knew or believed there was rampant corruption involving PNM ministers, and the overwhelming vote they gave the National Alliance for Reconstruction was fuelled by expectations that they would finally see “big sawatees” hauled before the courts in handcuffs, with many of the crooks ending up behind bars like the common criminals they were.
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