Now Dasheen, Callaloo, stir interest

By Raffique Shah
November 04, 2020

Raffique ShahA few weeks ago, in this space, and not for the first time, I made a case for stimulating the production of local foods as a means of reducing our dependence on foreign foods, and in particular, to chip away at the staggering TTD $5 billion per year in foreign exchange that we must find to pay for just about everything we eat and drink. However, I made the mistake of using the headline “Cocoa, Cassava to the rescue”. I was almost laughed out of town by many of my friends and some of my detractors, who chorused: Shah, yuh want to kill we with cassava!
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The racial ghosts of the past

By Dr Selwyn Cudjoe
November 02, 2020

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI place myself in the category “too scared to believe it even though I wish for a positive outcome”.

I refer to Tuesday’s US presidential election and what the polls wish us to believe. In spite of what the polls say about Joe Biden’s lead, I can’t get over the 2016 presidential election where Hillary Clinton was supposed to make mincemeat out of Donald Trump.
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Of conformity and stupidity

By Raffique Shah
October 27, 2020

Raffique ShahAt age 74, and stricken with two “co-morbidities” as members of the medical profession would describe Parkinson’s Disease and asthma, I know that if ever I contracted the Covid-19 virus, odds are that it could be a fatal affliction, that I’d likely die during such encounter. Both conditions compromise the body’s immune system. There is no cure for PD, and asthma attacks the respiratory tracts. Hence if I value my life, I need to exercise extreme caution, adhere to the Covid-19 protocols, and until a vaccine is available or treatments are developed to eliminate the virus’ devastating impact on human beings, I should take cover, preferably in a “bubble”, and stay safe.
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Cocoa, Cassava to the rescue

By Raffique Shah
October 13, 2020

Raffique ShahFor the first time in many years, food security and food production got some attention by a government in a budget presentation. This happened only because the Covid-19 crisis exposed the country’s vulnerability, its dependence on imports for almost everything we consume, especially food for basic sustenance. For decades, voices in the wilderness have cried out for the powers-that-be and consumers to understand the plight of a nation that was not producing much of its food, how it could be driven to its knees in the face of some global crisis. We didn’t think of a pandemic or plague then. We thought of war. But Covid-19 altered everything so fundamentally, we must be thankful to it as much as we are fearful of its deadly consequences.
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Periscope on Budget

By Raffique Shah
October 05 2020

Raffique ShahI am hopeful that Finance Minister Colm Imbert’s Budget 2021 will remain open to ideas that may come from ordinary citizens or professionals or anyone else even after he will have presented it to Parliament tomorrow. This is no ordinary Appropriation Bill. It is, or ought to be, an extraordinary document that contains the sum total of citizens’ prescriptions for rescuing and resuscitating an economy that has been battered and bruised by several governments over the past, say, forty years, and rendered semi-comatose by blows from the Covid-19 pandemic.
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President Trump’s Disruptive Power

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
October 05, 2020

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeWhen I arrived in the U.S. in 1964, the presidential contest between Lyndon Johnson (Democrat) and Barry Goldwater (Republican) was underway. They disagreed on many issues (for example, the use of the atomic bomb in warfare and U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War), but their major difference revolved around how to tackle the legal barriers that prevented African-Americans from voting in federal and state elections. This initiative was the culmination of ten years of sustained struggles by African-Americans against all forms of discrimination against them.
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An accidental MP

By Raffique Shah
September 29, 2020

Raffique ShahWhen I look back at it, my life that is, the many sharp, unpredictable turns I made that often intersected with the history of my country, I cannot help but feel fated to its destiny, inextricably linked to its history.

I ruminated on these occurrences over the past few days as the nation marked Republic Day, the 44th edition of what was a giant constitutional leap back in 1976. Interestingly, then, as this year, it was marked without the pomp and ceremony usually associated with such events. As I recall it, there was the swearing in of newly-elected members of the House of Representatives as well as senators, and maybe an address by Sir Ellis Clarke (I cannot remember), the first President of the Republic.
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A Plea for Humility & Equanimity

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 28, 2020

“The work of the desireless doer can rightly be expected to be better than that of one driven by desire for the fruit.”

—The Gita According to Gandhi

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeAt the beginning of last week, a disturbing video began to circulate on social media. It shows about a dozen school children dancing while music played in the background. These children seem to be “holding and drinking what appeared to be alcoholic beverages.” In the video, a woman is heard to be saying to another adult, “Is that what you have the children doing?” (Guardian, September 25).
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Total disrespect

By Raffique Shah
September 22, 2020

Raffique ShahI do not believe that the Commissioner of Police, Captain Gary Griffith, is a foolish man. He may be egotistic, over-sensitive, loquacious, combative. But foolish? No. I make this assessment of him purely by watching him from a distance, listening to his pronouncements on people from every strata of the society whom he perceives as being his critics.

Indeed, I write this column knowing that he will brand me a notorious mutineer, a disgrace to the uniform I once wore and blah, blah, blah. I am not as sensitive as he is, so I simply shrug off such epithets as par for this columnist’s course, a reality I have lived with for many years.
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