Tag Archives: Raffique Shah

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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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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Budget by everyone, for everyone

By Raffique Shah
September 15, 2020

Raffique ShahI imagine that every citizen who is conscious of the state of the country’s economy must wonder what magic Finance Minister Colm Imbert will weave when he presents his sixth consecutive Budget in a few weeks. The economy was already battered and bruised by plummeting oil and gas prices and struggling production levels when Covid-19 entered the picture and added to its grimness. The deadly virus savaged economies around the world, bringing many countries to their knees, leaving behind scenes that seemed to be apparitions of Armageddon.
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Opportunities lost

By Raffique Shah
September 07, 2020

Raffique ShahEarly morning Independence Day. I switch on the television, remembering that there would be no military parade this year, thanks to Covid-19, the Great Destroyer. So what is there to watch? On CNC3, I catch the last few words of the Prime Minister—rerun of an interview he’d done with Natalee Ligoure a few days ago. Then the host excitedly introduces 2020 Panorama champions, Desperadoes—their winning performance on Carnival Saturday night.
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A new beginning

By Raffique Shah
September 01, 2020

Raffique ShahIt came to pass in this not-so-blessed year 2020, that persons of far greater faith than I can imagine, convinced that God, in whatever manifestation they believed Him to be, was signalling the end of an era, epoch, curse, call it what you will, signing off on the old with pandemic flourish, and simultaneously setting the stage for the launch of a new beginning, an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start afresh.

You of little faith may ask, with justification, how can we start afresh, encumbered as we are with an abundance of old geezers in pivotal positions? Voices will sing out from the heavens above: let them be! They have seen hell on Earth. Give them an opportunity to redeem themselves, to distinguish right from wrong, and offer solutions to the many troubled problems they and their kind have left us to resolve.
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Race is not my compass

By Raffique Shah
August 24, 2020

Raffique ShahIt pains me to return to the issue of race and politics in Trinidad and Tobago, but since it seems impossible to dismiss its impact on not just elections, but on the body politic of the nation, I feel obliged to address it. Note well how racism reared its ugly head as we got closer to the recent general election, and it peaked in the few weeks before and after polling day.

Much like the Covid-19 super-virus, race and racism disturb the equilibrium of the country in waves, peaks and troughs, some more damaging than others. Worse, it seems there is no cure for racism, no vaccine to halt its contagious nature. And, as if these virulent strains weren’t scary enough, there is an abundance of evidence to suggest that racism is contagious, even hereditary, possibly part of the DNA of some people.
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Destroying democracy

By Raffique Shah
August 17, 2020

Raffique ShahOne of these not-so-good days, some fool will vent his or her racial spleen on the anti-social media or in some public place once too often in a rant that has gone too far; another fool will feel sufficiently aggrieved to react with more than mere racial epithets, possibly summoning idle but willing hands to take up cutlasses and defend the domain of the tribe; and the tribal leaders, coming from a manure-fed lineage that nurtured the fires of hatred for generations, would, by word or deed, ignite an eruption that will wreck what passes for civilisation in Trinidad, not necessarily Tobago, sending this island back into a future filled with hatred, bile, sewage and all things negative. A potential paradise will never be allowed to bloom. It will instead be strangled by the patricidal savages who inhabit the wasteland.
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Making of a megalomaniac

By Raffique Shah
August 03, 2020

Raffique ShahEight days from today, Kamla Persad-Bissessar expects to be named Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago after she leads the United National Congress to victory in the general election, Hers is a legitimate expectation, and she has as good a chance as Dr Keith Rowley, the incumbent office-holder and leader of the People’s National Movement. In fact, she could make history being the only female to win a second term as Prime Minister, to add to her already impressive career as a politician.
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New prospects for small parties

By Raffique Shah
July 27, 2020

Raffique ShahIt would be remiss of me if, having chosen to comment on the 2020 general election, I ignored the many small parties and independent candidates that have entered the race. The Elections and Boundaries Commission said 150 candidates from 19 parties are set to do battle in 41 constituencies on August 10. Between the PNM and the UNC, they have fielded 80 candidates (41 and 39 respectively), while the new Progressive Empowerment Party has 28 candidates. This means that the other 16 parties and independents will have 42 starters when the polls open.
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Resurrecting the dead

By Raffique Shah
July 20, 2020

Raffique ShahI had no intention of intervening in the campaigning for the general election, which is due to be held in three weeks. It is well established that politicians say the darndest things in normal times, and they become outrageous when they are soliciting votes from the electorate. They not only lie, they make promises that they and the voters know they can never keep. . But there is a tacit understanding between the combatants that allows the candidates to peddle lies, to promote the impossible and not be held accountable for it.
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