Brek-UP, Brek-DOWN Society – Part 3

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 05, 2017

PART 3

Jasmattie live in bruk-
Down hut big like Bata shoe-box,
Beat clothes, weed yard, chop wood, feed fowl
For this body and that body and every blasted body
Fetch water, all day like if the
Whole slow-flowing Canje river God create
Just for she one bucket.

David Dabydeen, “Coolie Mother”

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeAll of us in Trinidad and Tobago were nurtured in Bruk-UP, Bruk-DOWN huts, big like a Bata shoe-box as David Dabydeen’s Guyanese example suggests. Even Eusebio Atanasio Valerio, an exemplary Amerindian ancestor, who documented his life in Sieges and Fortunes of a Trinidadian, lived in a hut in forested Arima. In Tacarigua, up until the 1960s, an Indian barracks stood at the back of the Orange Grove Sugar Estates (OG). Twelve of the first batch of Indians who came to Trinidad in 1845 were sent to OG where they joined the 265 African workers who were employed there at the time.
Continue reading ‘Brek-UP, Brek-DOWN Society – Part 3’

Distorting facts to suit one’s biases

From: Glassie
May 23, 2017

lettersIt is human nature to feel more comfortable ‘with your own’. So, an Indian voting UNC or conversely an African voting PNM is not necessarily a sign of racialism but merely a level of comfort with your choice. But when facts are distorted to suit one’s BIASES or to satisfy existing prejudices for purely political expediency, is when the devious nature of racism takes effect.
Continue reading ‘Distorting facts to suit one’s biases’

I arrived by birth

By Raffique Shah
May 30, 2017

Raffique ShahThere was a minority view back in the 1980s/1990s when the lobby for a holiday to mark the presence of Indians in Trinidad & Tobago was loudest, that the termination of indentureship in 1917, not their arrival in 1845, should be celebrated. If that had prevailed, this year the Indo-Trinidad community would have marked the centennial of end of their semi-slavery. But the very vocal majority had their say and their day, hence the declaration of a public holiday on Arrival Day, May 30, the date when, in 1845, the Fatel Rozack docked in Port of Spain and deposited 200-odd wretched Indian souls on these shores.
Continue reading ‘I arrived by birth’

Colm created tax confusion

By Raffique Shah
May 23, 2017

Raffique ShahFinance Minister Colm Imbert must shoulder much of the blame for the fiasco that a relatively simple exercise, the submission of information for the valuation of properties across the country, has degenerated into. The overwhelming response by property owners to abide by the law, hence flock the few Valuation Division offices where they could drop off their forms or get help filling them out, should have surprised no one. That the ministry was unprepared for the rush is an indictment against the minister and his senior advisors.
Continue reading ‘Colm created tax confusion’

Since when the Courts are Playgrounds?

By Stephen Kangal
June 02, 2017

Stephen KangalUpon his return to T&T after the Chilean visit the Prime Minister made the following comment on the property tax issue:

“…On the current property tax legal battle, Rowley reiterated that his Government “will respect what goes on in the courts but I think, as PM, you’ll allow me a comment and I have my concerns.” “I find it very difficult to swallow ministers of a previous government could have managed a law in a particular way, not to the benefit of the people of TT, and when they get put out of executive authority, those same persons could see the court as their playground; to the disadvantage of the people of TT…

I stand by that comment but that dos not say that I do not respect the outcome of the courts in TT and the Government of TT, the executive, we will carry our point of view to the highest court in the land, if we have to,” Rowley stated.
Continue reading ‘Since when the Courts are Playgrounds?’

A Brek-UP, Brek-DOWN Society – Part 2

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 29, 2017

PART 2

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeSooner rather than later I am going to ask Reggie Dumas to take the Trinidad and Tobago Government (T&T G) to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for their wanton destruction of historic sites in our country. In September of last year the ICC sentenced Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi to nine years in prison for “‘intentionally directing’ attacks on nine Timbuktu’s mausoleums and the centuries-old door of its Sidi mosque in 2012.” The judge hoped such a stiff punishment “will deter other attacks on heritage sites around the world.” (London Guardian, September 27, 2016)
Continue reading ‘A Brek-UP, Brek-DOWN Society – Part 2’

Harris and Koylass Recruited to Lobby for Doomed Property Tax

By Stephen Kangal
May 27, 2017

Stephen KangalI read the statement issued by RC Archbishop Harris and a Guardian article penned by SC Koylass both making a misguided and ill-founded case for the collection of the Property tax outside of the the scope of the relevant legislation and quite favourable to the person who seemed to have recruited them. An exercise that is truly voluntary does not need external encouragement by the Minister of Finance bent on mobilising people to join his crusade to collectively defy the Court Order as if he is protected in Parliament.
Continue reading ‘Harris and Koylass Recruited to Lobby for Doomed Property Tax’

Punishing Pensioners

By Raffique Shah
April 09, 2017

Raffique ShahMy friend Pablo (not his real name) is on the brink of bankruptcy. In fact, he has been teetering on the edge for six, seven years or so, managing somehow to stave off the banks, which is in itself an achievement, given the heartlessness of the decision-makers at financial institutions. But for a man who has worked hard to afford the little luxuries that many middle-income earners enjoy only in their latter years, he is facing uncertainties over whether he will survive to see his 70th birthday.
Continue reading ‘Punishing Pensioners’

Spreading Planter Propaganda

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 21, 2017

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI am sorry I am only now getting back to Kamal Persad’s response to my article, “Getting It Right” (March 26). I noted: “While Indians were treated in a horrible, inhumane manner…, there is no doubt the Indians were brought to Trinidad to undercut the progress that Africans were making at the economic front.”
Continue reading ‘Spreading Planter Propaganda’

Time-Tabling by the Executive and Legislature in the Property Act

By Stephen Kangal
May 19, 2017

Stephen KangalA determination of the intention of the Executive and the Legislature as expressed in the time-tabling of the implementation of Act No 18 of 2009 is pivotal to the interpretation of the legislation as well as whether the Act has lapsed through non-implementation and non-observance of the dated law. It is also crucial in assessing whether the current bulldozing action being instituted by the Minister of Finance is legitimate and valid or tantamount to misbeviour in public office.
Continue reading ‘Time-Tabling by the Executive and Legislature in the Property Act’