Monthly Archive for February, 2019

Thanks for the lyrics and music, Sparrow

By Raffique Shah
February 28, 2019

Raffique ShahIt was a moment of sheer serendipity last Friday night. My wife Rosina and I had just watched the television news, and, scanning the local stations for some Carnival-related activity but finding nothing of interest, I resorted to YouTube for some good music that would take us to bedtime, around ten o’clock.
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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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The War on Venezuela Is Built on Lies

“A war has been declared on Venezuela, of which the truth is ‘too difficult’ to report” – John Pilger has his take on Venezuela.

By John Pilger
February 24, 2019 – johnpilger.com

Venezuela's FlagTravelling with Hugo Chavez, I soon understood the threat of Venezuela.  At a farming co-operative in Lara state, people waited patiently and with good humour in the heat. Jugs of water and melon juice were passed around. A guitar was played; a woman, Katarina, stood and sang with a husky contralto.

“What did her words say?” I asked.

“That we are proud,” was the reply.
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Do not politicise war against crime

By Raffique Shah
February 20, 2019

Raffique ShahBuried in the last paragraph of a document titled “Interim Gang Report 2018”, which was compiled by the Organised Crime and Intelligence Unit of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and featured prominently in the last Sunday Express, was one of the main reasons why criminal gangs conduct their savagery with impunity, making a mockery of all attempts by new Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith to rein in their murderous rampage.

Said paragraph concludes: “…Extensive co-ordination between the TTPS and the T&T Prisons Service is crucial to expand investigations and gather intelligence to address the growing threat gangs pose to T&T.”
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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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US Media Ignore – and Applaud – Economic War on Venezuela

Gregory Shupak examines the silences that organize the mainstream media’s coverage of the crisis in the Caribbean nation.

By Gregory Shupak – FAIR
February 19, 2019 – fair.org

Venezuela's Flag

The US media chorus supporting a US overthrow of the Venezuelan government has for years pointed to the country’s economic crisis as a justification for regime change, while whitewashing the ways in which the US has strangled the Venezuelan economy  (FAIR.org3/22/18).

A UN rapporteur declares that “sanctions kill” (Independent1/26/19)–but few in Western media are listening to his message.
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Sex Behind the Convent Veil

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
February 18, 2019

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeFrom Wednesday to Saturday this week Pope Francis will meet at the Vatican with Roman Catholic bishops from around the world to discuss the global sex abuse crisis that is threatening his “legacy and the moral capital that is the currency of his pontificate” (NYTimes, Feb 5, 2019.)

Maria Abi-Habib and Suhasini Raj recounted the story of Bishop Franco Mulakkal of India who agreed to personally celebrate the First Communion for Darly’s son, a rare honor in the Roman Catholic Church.
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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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The Venezuela Myth Keeping Us From Transforming Our Economy

By Ellen Brown
February 09, 2019 – ellenbrown.com

USAModern Monetary Theory (MMT) is getting significant media attention these days, after Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview that it should “be a larger part of our conversation” when it comes to funding the Green New Deal. According to MMT, the government can spend what it needs without worrying about deficits. MMT expert and Bernie Sanders advisor Prof. Stephanie Kelton says the government actually creates money when it spends. The real limit on spending is not an artificially imposed debt ceiling but a lack of labor and materials to do the work, leading to generalized price inflation. Only when that real ceiling is hit does the money need to be taxed back, and then not to fund government spending but to shrink the money supply in an economy that has run out of resources to put the extra money to work.
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