Category Archives: Politics

Criminalizing Civil Infractions

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 27, 2021

“All advanced legal systems condemn as criminal the sorts of conduct described in the Anglo-American law as treason, murder, aggravated assault, thievery, robbery, burglary, and rape.”

Encyclopedia Britannica

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI always wonder why an inefficient government demands that its citizens be efficient when it represents the epitome of inefficiency. Recently, the government put out its regulations regarding its intention to collect “Property Tax” which requires “that every person in possession of residential land, commercial land, agricultural land or a combination of any of the above (mixed use) in Trinidad and Tobago furnish a return containing the particulars…on or before 30th November 2021.” Failure to comply with the requirement constitutes “a criminal offence which is punishable by a fine of five thousand dollars ($5,000).”
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Decentering Dr Williams: debasing the PNM

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 20, 2021

PART III

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOn January 29, 2011, I delivered a lecture on the pitfalls of multiculturalism, at a Multiculturalism Conference at Gaston Court, Chaguanas. It was sponsored by GOPIO (T&T), the leading purveyor of Indian culture, when then-PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar introduced her cultural policy to engender greater equity within the society.
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Decentering Dr. Williams— Denigrating the PNM

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 14, 2021

PART II

The UNC represents the true spirit of Trinidad and Tobago,… all the poor, humble working people, farmers, small business owners, ordinary men and women, from north to south, east, west, central, the urban, the suburban, the rural, the swampland, the coastal, and floodplains, the hills and the lagoons.

—Kirk Meighoo, The Checklist (2021)

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIf V. S. Naipaul was Kirk Meighoo’s intellectual guru initially, he later turned to Lloyd Best for intellectual guidance and direction. Since a “half-made society” (a term that Naipaul used disparagingly) is a literary conceit it could not bear the sociological weight that Meighoo thrust upon it. Meighoo argued that Politics in a Half-Made Society (hereafter Politics) was “a slight reworking” of his doctoral dissertation. This led Anton L. Allahar, professor emeritus at the University of Western Ontario, to write: “I have never seen a doctoral dissertation in the social sciences that was devoid of a theoretical perspective and a clear statement of methodology.” (Caribbean Studies, 2005).
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Education for those who want it

By Raffique Shah
September 13, 2021

Raffique ShahFor the second time in as many months I ask a question that is pertinent to this country’s future path, one that we need to answer because it is critical to everything else we do as we forge a road to recovery in the aftermath of the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic and the near-collapse of the national economy. It is this: are we satisfied with our education system which, give or take a tweak here, a turn there, has remained a hugely expensive relic of colonialism that refuses to die 60 years after independence.
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Decentering Dr. Williams; Denigrating the PNM

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 05, 2021

PART I

“Ethnic mobilization [in Trinidad and Tobago] is the result of national political impotence, not its cause. Such parties, without any firm, rooted principles, provide no basis for political solidarity….These loose ethnic solidarities arise from the safe cliques by which citizens organize themselves in this half-made society.”

—Kirk Meighoo, “Ethnic Mobilisation vs. Ethnic Politics,”

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeDr. Kirk Meighoo is one of our better scholars. I have followed his academic progress since he was a student at the University of the West Indies. In his well-researched book Politics in a Half-Made Society (2003), he argued that societies such as T&T “have not yet established enduring, meaningful standards of their own. They are societies still in formation and unmade, without a firm foundation (intellectual, cultural, political, military, and/or economic), and in which solidity is elusive.” Although I disagree with his central thesis (taken from the work of Vidia Naipaul whom he calls one of T&T’s “great philosophers”) I still think his book is a worthwhile read.
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T&T at 59: Jean or Dinah?

By Raffique Shah
August 30, 2021

Raffique ShahIf I were asked to put a human face to a new portrait of Trinidad and Tobago at age 59, I would sketch a decrepit Jean or Dinah, aged beyond her actual years, scowling and regretting her wasted years, waiting to die at the feet of an ungrateful people.

I am not happy conjuring such a sorry image of my native land at a point in its history when it should be bubbling with life, oozing confidence and full of energy befitting a nation that has had a good run, whatever obstacles it may have encountered after it became an independent nation on August 31, 1962.
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Dr Keith Rowley’s Emancipation Day Statement

By Dr Keith Rowley
Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago
August 01, 2021 – Facebook

PM Dr Keith RowleyHappy Emancipation Day to all the people of Trinidad and Tobago, from the Government, my own family and myself on the occasion of Emancipation Day 2021.

Today, we recognise not just the horrific experience of our African ancestors – but the impact it continues to have on the lives of millions of their descendants.
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Glorious day(s) of the happy and the free

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
August 01, 2021

PART 1

The masters were “dam tief”, the Governor an “old rogue”, and the King not such a fool as to buy them half free when he was rich enough to pay for them altogether.

—Port of Spain Gazette, August 5, 1834

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeToday is Emancipation Day. Ashton Ford, one of our respected elders, remembers the impetus that led former prime minister George Chambers to change the Discovery Day holiday (a day that recognised the misdeeds of our oppressors) to Emancipation Day that honours the achievements of our ancestors.

Chambers believed if you named your streets and monuments after local patriots, you encouraged a sense of nationhood and strengthened national identity among the population.
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Car exemption hypocrisy

By Errol Pilgrim
July 25, 2021 – trinidadexpress.com

Raffique ShahJohn Doe is not a government minister, neither is he head of any government department.

Mr Doe is among the thousands of ordinary workers in the public service entitled by law to tax-exempt purchases of motor cars.

Like his counterparts in other statutory bodies and throughout the public service, Doe is a travelling officer entitled – pandemic or no pandemic – to motor-car tax exemptions and a travelling allowance.
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PNM’s Political Strategy To Deny Tobago Self-Governance

By Stephen Kangal
July 25, 2021

Stephen KangalThe ill-advised, overtly hurried and premature introduction into Parliament of the two completely new Bills on June 28 last on the long-festering granting of autonomy/self-governance to Tobago prior to and without conducting the requisite inter-active consultations with the Tobago constituency of principal stakeholders by the PNM was a deliberate, deceptive, nefarious, dishonest and calculated politically -conceptualised strategy to shelve the Tobago issue.
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