Doh mess with ma name

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 13, 2022

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeAkan people of Ghana, from which my lineage springs, have a naming ceremony eight or ten days after a child is born. It is called the Outdoor Ceremony, where the child is brought into the outdoors to see the light of day.

During that ceremony, the child is given a name that confers a specific identity upon him or her. Not a tear is shed if that child dies before the naming ceremony. It is as if that entity never existed, so precious is a person’s name in that society.
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Blame the ‘haters’

By Raffique Shah
June 13, 2022

Raffique ShahBeing both a product and an architect of the age of love, peace and happiness, and belonging to a generation that opposed war and promoted peace, that even as I became a soldier, a highly-trained killer—we actively and successfully hounded America out of Vietnam and Cambodia, transformed colonised Africa into a battleground for liberation, and we set the world in motion such that generations marched together in countries across the world chanting, “All we are saying, is give peace a chance…’
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Indian Arrival Day Celebrations Not Historically Driven

By Stephen Kangal
June 07, 2022

Stephen KangalIndians came here to increase sugar production reaching 200,000 tonnes in the 1960’s and not to decrease the cost of sugar production as their wages/conditions were set. They were deceived into believing that they were coming to “chalay chinee”. We cannot be misled by Cudjoe’s Afro-centric lenses because the jahajees were already versed in sugar cultivation in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. What did the Indians think or have in their minds as they embarked from Kidderpore Docks in Calcutta bent to Trinidad after enduring the Indian Famine of 1850’s? They survived the “Kala pani” and the “pagal samundar” en route to create a better life for us. They worked for a mere pittance that was superior to what they left in UP and Bihar and did not come on their own to compromise the high wage demands of the apprentices.
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Origin of Indian indentureship in Trinidad

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 06, 2022

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOn the celebration of Indian Arrival Day, May 31, an Express editorial recounted: “On this day 177 years ago the Fatel Razack entered the Gulf of Paria with over 200 Indians aboard, the first of 143,939 citizens of India to be brought here under a British scheme to deal with a shortage of labour following the emancipation of enslaved Africans in 1834–38.”
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Haiti, we are sorry

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 30, 2022

Haiti, I am sorry
We misunderstood you
One day we’ll turn our heads
And look inside you…

—David Rudder, “Haiti”

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeAbout 22 years ago I was a part of a New England delegation that travelled to Haiti to demand that Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the first democratically elected president of Haiti after years of dictatorship, be allowed to assume the office he had won fairly and squarely.

We met with the United States Ambassador to Haiti, but nothing came of it. Our pleas, like so many others, were like voices crying out desperately in a wilderness of deceit and deception.
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Wheat, soy and disease

By Raffique Shah
May 30, 2022

Raffique ShahIn my relatively short lifetime on Earth, and the even shorter time I actively focused on food production, campaigned for food security, and was a member of committees, boards, etc, that, at least on paper or intent, held out hope that here, at last, was a government or a group of influential people who recognised that we faced a critical problem, and they were prepared to take action to halt the slide into starvation, reverse the tide of widespread hunger, only to find that no action followed the lofty pronouncements.
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If the priest could play…

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 24, 2022

Liberty trains for liberty. Responsibility is the first step in responsibility. Even the restraints imposed in the training of men and children are restraints that will in the end make greater freedom possible.

—WEB Du Bois, John Brown

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeWhen we voted for the PNM in 2015, we felt that we were voting to end corruption and to bring to justice those who had stolen from the State. Unfortunately, we were wrong. Seven long years after PNM’s ascendancy to power, no one has been found guilty of any major crime of corruption, but then again, all those allegations may have been a mirage in our collective imagination.
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Whiter shade of pale

By Raffique Shah
May 23, 2022

Raffique ShahI have grown accustomed to watching a scene in front of me—teenage boys kicking what life there was in a long-expired football, others of similar age and background carrying on an animated discussion on a subject I could not determine from where I stood, and yet others glued to their communication devices, maybe “chatting” with friends, maybe conducting extensive research into issue—I don’t know.
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A leader of destiny

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 16, 2022

PART II

“Trade Union Movement in Trinidad owes Mr Rienzi a great debt of gratitude and particularly the Oil and Sugar Unions which he pioneered until he left for the Civil Service.”

—John Rojas, former

Leader of the OWTU

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeAlthough Adrian Cola Rienzi struggled to achieve self-government at home and to make working people aware of their rights, he still found time to participate in the revival of Caribbean trade unionism after it lapsed in 1926. Brinsley Samaroo, the author of Adrian Cola Rienzi: The Life and Times of an Indo-Caribbean Progressive, noted that Hubert Critchlow convened the first Caribbean trade union conference “to coordinate the activities of the various trade unions towards the overall improvement of the Caribbean workers”.
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Full force for merchants of death

By Raffique Shah
May 16, 2022

Raffique ShahIt was the lure of the rifle that probably made up my mind for me. I enlisted in the Trinidad and Tobago Cadet Corps established at Presentation College, Chaguanas, in 1959. I was all of 13 years old, and I was eager to get on with “the gun”. It would take several months’ training—drills, map reading, more drills—before we eager beavers were allowed to touch the weapon.
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