Archive for the 'Politics' Category

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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‘We dogs dead’

By Raffique Shah
December 11, 2018

Raffique ShahIn my column last week in which I lamented the collapse of Petrotrin, I submitted that one of the tragic consequences would be the oil refinery falling into the hands of foreigners (by lease or purchase), and the workers who were terminated returning to seek employment with the new operators, prepared to work for substantially lower wages and salaries than they earned with the State-owned company.
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Day of moaning for Petrotrin

By Raffique Shah
December 05, 2018

Raffique ShahDuring last Friday’s unofficial “Day of Moaning” for the official demise of State-owned oil giant Petrotrin, I detected more than a hint of hypocrisy among the moaners. I must confess that your not-so-humble scribe was prominently positioned amidst the thousands of Trini-Pharisees who had saved their saddest faces and rehearsed their most somber vocal tones for the tragic occasion.

I admit that mine was an ego issue, one in which my wounded pride provoked extreme prejudice against my fellow-Trinis for having shamed me, for having shattered my dreams of seeing us as a people take control of the commanding heights of the economy, and successfully steer them to take their place alongside the best such enterprises in the world.
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HDC projects hit by approval woes, defects Mistakes cost $2.4 billion

By Renuka Singh
November 05, 2018 – guardian.co.tt

Greenvale ParkConstruction variations or changes to the agreed scope of works at Housing Development Corporation (HDC) projects cost taxpayers some $2.4 billion between 2005 and 2017. These include two projects that had to be abandoned because of structural and engineering obstacles that were not determined before construction began.

The news comes even as the ruling People’s National Movement and Opposition United National Congress continue to spar over which party made the errors while in government which led to the recent flooding disaster at the Greenvale Park, La Horquetta development.
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Dark Memories of a Lynching

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
October 23, 2018

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeAn acknowledgement: I am Dr. Keith Rowley’s friend. I consider him a person of impeccable character and integrity, someone who will not willingly tell a lie to save his or any other person’s crime or misdemeanor. Although I have not always agreed with his policies, he is an eminently trustworthy person and possesses the courage to withstand the storms of adverse publicity that seeks to ground his name into the dust.

My friendship with Rowley goes back to twenty-three years ago when he ran for the leadership of the PNM against Patrick Manning. I supported him then as now because of his conviction of purpose, his unflinching ability to speak truth to power, and his principled position that asserted because Manning had lost the General Election he had an obligation to step down as party leader.
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Reduce road traffic, improve productivity, economy

By Raffique Shah
October 18, 2018

Raffique ShahContrary to my assertion in last week’s column that most motorists and commuters do not care about the suffering they endure in daily traffic congestions, responses to the article suggest otherwise. As such, I shall share some more thoughts on the issue which is of immense importance to the economy, which it impacts negatively, and the physical and mental health of citizens, which also suffer serious consequences.
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“The gentleman doth protest too much, methinks.”

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
October 15, 2018

“Gold? Yellow, glittering, precious gold? No, gods, I am no idle votarist!…Thus much of this will make black white, foul fair, wrong right, base noble, old young, coward valiant.”

—William Shakespeare,”Timon of Athens”

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeTwo weeks ago, I made a case for “reparative justice.” Drawing on “Slavery, Abolition and the University of Glasgow,” a report that was coauthored by Dr. Stephen Mullen, a well-respected scholar, I challenged the national community to think about this concept. I did not chastise anyone. I simply stated facts as I saw them.

Mullen’s report was important because it drew on my work, The Slave Master of Trinidad, to demonstrate how Burnley’s profits and the capital he bequeathed to his son, William Frederick, subsidized the development of the University of Glasgow (UG). UG launched a program for reparative justice because of Mullen’s report. (See “Glasgow University to make amends over slavery profits,” London Guardian, September 11, 2018).
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Ah bus ah cuss on the PNM

By Raffique Shah
October 10, 2018

Raffique ShahIt’s a huge problem that adversely affects more than half of the population every day, costs the country billions of dollars a year in lost production, adds substantially to our mental and physical health bills—yet no government has had the testicular fortitude to confront it head-on, thus improving the quality and length of our lives.

Traffic jams, traffic congestion, call it what you will, will one day bring this country to a complete halt…full stop. And I dare argue that other than sitting in the now-mandatory air-conditioned comfort of their “rides”, music jamming, mankind “steupsing”, no one would even wind down his vehicle window to complain about this madness.
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Missing Their Mark

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 17, 2018

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeDr. Keith Rowley and the PNM came through the Petrotrin debate looking much better than Ancil Roget and the OWTU. Moreover, Rowley’s rationality and levelheadedness triumphed over Roget’s tentativeness and impulsiveness. Initially, I thought Rowley and the PNM would have won the battle and lost the war. I am not sure this prediction still holds. It’s a pity though Roget did not outline his refinery-saving proposal before (Express, September 14).

My neighbor, a shop steward of OWTU, has another view of things. He believes the strike was “partially successful. It was supposed to demonstrate to the political leaders that we need to change how we do things and to remind them that the people are still in charge.” “The union,” he said, “used the day to protest the selling of our national assets to foreigners.”
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PNM: Kamla must apologise

By Corey Connelly
September 16, 2018 – newsday.co.tt

Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Keith RowleyUnited National Congress (UNC) political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is likely to pay a hefty political price is she does not apologise to the nation for labelling Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley an Oreo biscuit, outgoing People’s National Movement (PNM) chairman Franklin Khan stated yesterday.
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