Monthly Archive for October, 2019

We live only once, but…

By Raffique Shah
October 31, 2019

Raffique ShahLast week, as I listened to Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh complain for the umpteenth time about the high percentage of citizens who are literally eating and drinking themselves to chronic, costly lifestyle diseases and early deaths, I thought I needed to return to the topic I focused on in my previous column—food production and consumption.
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Diversity Matters

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
October 29, 2019

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIn 2003 I fought a doggedly battle to convince educators at (The University of the West Indies) that grades and standardized tests should not be the only criteria for selecting students to enter our university. Many people castigated me and a few called me a racist. Morgan Job bleated: “If Selwyn Cudjoe’s racist quota is implemented, UWI will have semi-illiterate African lecturers teaching illiterate students. They will go into the classrooms, the Public Service and police to compound the problems which plague the nation, and are a necessary consequence of the blight of mediocrity we have nurtured and promoted” (Trinidad Guardian, August 21, 2003).
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Eating ourselves to early deaths

By Raffique Shah
October 23, 2019

Raffique ShahFact: while we the people of Trinidad and Tobago eat much of the foods, fruits, etc, that we produce locally, most of what we consume for sustenance and satisfaction, maybe as much as 80 percent, we do not produce. We import it.

Fiction: if they are given adequate incentives, starting with land tenure and going all the way through tax-free inputs and proper marketing facilities and concessions, the nation’s farmers can feed the population.
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Mobilizing Our Social & Cultural Capital

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
October 22, 2019

All you guys have done is reference to us getting jobs. I do not want a job. I want change, I want a future….You are ignoring our future….What are you doing to give us a voice?

—Stefan Lander, student, St. Mary’s College

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeTo hear Colm Imbert, Minister of Finance, tell it, the 2020 budget has nothing to do with the upcoming local elections or the 2020 general elections. It emanated from the government’s genuine interest in the welfare of our people.

The words had barely come out of Imbert’s mouth when Rohan Sinanan, PNM’s campaign manager, declared: “I am very pleased; I think my job as campaign manager was made significantly easier with a wonderful budget” (Express, October 10).
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Greed is killing us not so softly

By Raffique Shah
October 16, 2019

Raffique ShahSome day last week, after I had eaten a very modest lunch, I was snacking on a few locally-manufactured crackers when my wife asked, “You still hungry, nah?” She has noted with unnecessary concern that I eat smaller portions, which I attribute to ageing and my now mostly sedentary lifestyle, the latter imposed on me by my infirmity. I don’t need calories that I won’t burn as I did during my very active pre-Parkinson’s life. That reality notwithstanding, the urge to snack on junk remains undiminished, much to my dismay.
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Consultation Versus Coercion

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
October 14, 2019

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOn Wednesday evening I attended a consultation at the Tacarigua Community Center that was organized by Susan Corbett, director of Community Development (CD), with the assistance of Terrence Beepath, Senior Project Manager of UDeCOTT, to tell us what CD had in store for us vis-à-vis our proposed community center. We, mere supplicants, were supposed to listen and presumably to acquiesce. We were not supposed to question the bearers of these new gifts.

I raised this issue in this column in June of this year. I reported that in January 1965 the Trinidad Sugar Estates gave ninety-four thousand, six hundred and ten square feet of land to the Tacarigua Welfare and Improvement Council for “a site of a community center.” The first center was built in 1965.
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Questions remain over presidential invitations

By Clint Chan Tack
October 11, 2019 – newsday.co.tt

President Paula-Mae WeekesA statement issued by the Office of the President (OTP) does not appear to have answered questions about why guests invited to functions that it hosts may only bring legally married partners. The statement was issued after President Paula-Mae Weekes spoke about the issue before after this year’s national awards ceremony.
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69 ‘rescued’ from Arouca church

69 rescued from cages at Arouca church
These people both men and women are believed to be victims of “modern day slavery” and “human trafficking” according to Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith who spoke to the Guardian Media Limited’s Lead Investigative desk Mark Bassant earlier on Wednesday just outside the Transformed Life Ministry Rehabilitation Centre.
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Public Enquiry needed into the Education System

By Dr Tye Salandy
October 09, 2019

Dr Tye SalandyTwenty years ago, in 1999, young Clivia Jones went to school with a modest cornrow hairstyle only to be told by the Corpus Christi principal to fix her hair or stay home. This incident came to mind when I read of two recent incidents that have been highlighted recently within T&T’s education system. The first incident was the teacher in a POS school spewing racist and classist statements. The second incident is the issue of the student at the south Anglican school who complained about being harassed for wearing her natural hair in Bantu knots, twists and cornrows. From my own experience in the education system as a student, educator and researcher, issues of discrimination, abuse and damaging approaches to differences are deeply entrenched across the education system. This is so despite the actions of some dedicated and fairminded teachers and administrators to do better.
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Turning the Clock Backward

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
October 09, 2019

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeTrinidad and Tobago is a difficult, contradictory society. Every time we take one step forward, we also take two steps backward. Imagine a progressive leader saying that she won’t invite a man or woman to a government function unless he/she is accompanied by his/her married partner. One would have thought our foremothers had solved that problem two hundred years ago but one of her great granddaughters is doing her best to turn the clock back to even darker days.
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