Rescuing a hero from oblivion

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 26, 2024

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI first encountered Philip Henry Douglin when I wrote Beyond Boundaries: The Intellectual Tradition of Trinidad and Tobago in the Nineteenth Century (2003). Since then I have been gathering information on Douglin at research centres such as the Watson Collection at Oxford University, the British Archives at Kew in London, and the T&T Archives in Port of Spain. Yet I knew I had to go to Barbados before I completed my biography on him.
Continue reading Rescuing a hero from oblivion

Labour Day nostalgia

By Raffique Shah
June 26, 2024

Raffique ShahI must confess that I feel nostalgic every year when Labour Day comes around. I wasn’t there in 1972 when June 19 was first declared a national holiday. The government of Dr Eric Williams had conveniently avoided recognition of the significance of June 19 to the history of labour and the country as a whole.

Most people who know anything about the significance of that date will know it was when Tubal Uriah Butler, who is seen as the father of radical labour, triggered a national strike by asking a large crowd of workers assembled in Fyzabad for a meeting if he should subject himself to being arrested by Police Corporal Charlie King, a powerfully stupid man who brandished a pair of handcuffs and the arrest warrant.
Continue reading Labour Day nostalgia

Making Tacarigua a better scene

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 16, 2024

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI am always intrigued by how officials, government or otherwise, ignorant of the history of a place or region in which they live and work, are perfectly happy to destroy a healthy community without realising the harm they can do to the place and the people who live there.

Desell Josiah Austin, chairman of the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation, may be a young man with the best intentions in the world, but without knowledge of the community in which he lives he can cause harm. He really needs to learn a bit more about Tacarigua, the history of the Orange Grove Savannah, and the origin of Tunapuna.
Continue reading Making Tacarigua a better scene

Autocracy, not democracy

By Raffique Shah
June 16, 2024

Raffique ShahWell before I thought about writing a column on the internal elections in the United National Congress, I deliberately decided that I will not focus on individual candidates but more on the process. In demo­cracies such as ours, there are always several interest groups that comprise the backbone of the parties which differ very little on critical issues such as the economic policies, crime and punishment, education and so on.
Continue reading Autocracy, not democracy

Never sit on your laurels

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 13, 2024

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIt was 2013 and the UNC (United National Congress) government decided to place a stadium and a swimming pool at the Orange Grove Savannah (now known as the Eddie Hart Savannah), a place that was used by “districkers” for recreational, health, and educational purposes for generations. Angry by this atrocity, the “districkers” of Tacarigua and the surrounding villages (Dinsley, Paradise, El Dorado, Trincity, and St Mary’s) took on government with all of its resources and prevented it from destroying one of the most idyllic areas in Trinidad.
Continue reading Never sit on your laurels

Hate is ugly

By Raffique Shah
June 10, 2024

Raffique ShahSenior Maha Sabha official Vijay Maharaj must be one very disappointed man, mud plastered across his face. According to Maharaj, Planet Earth ought to have shifted its political axis, with cataclysmic consequences, last Tuesday, June 4. But Mother Earth is not known to bow to mankind’s will or wishes, especially if—as seems to have been the case here—they come flashing “power” cards engraved with names such as Maharaj, Modi and Maha Sabha.
Continue reading Hate is ugly

Turning democracy upside down

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 04, 2024

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeDuring the early days of our democracy, Eric Williams and CLR James, founding fathers of the People’s National Movement (PNM), cited Greece as the quintessential example of what a functioning democracy should look like. Williams developed this theme in his address to the Black Writers Congress in Rome in 1959.
Continue reading Turning democracy upside down