Tag Archive for 'Raffique Shah'

Buying cat in bag

By Raffique Shah
March 22, 2015

Raffique ShahIt’s amazing how the 2015 general elections campaign is derailed by extraneous matters that have no bearing on the real issues that should under discussion.

With oil and gas prices trending lower, hence a projected shortfall in revenue of more than $7 billion for the current fiscal year, with the national debt rising as a consequence, and with tens of thousands of public sector workers, among them police, fire and prisons officers, clamouring for increased salaries for a period that has expired, the politicians are distracting the electorate with race-herrings and talk about dog and “cyat”.
Continue reading ‘Buying cat in bag’

Buying and selling government

By Raffique Shah
March 08, 2015

Raffique ShahThe bell has rung, the gates are open and the campaign for general elections 2015 is underway. Over the next six months, political parties that matter and those that don’t will spend an estimated $300 million in a frenetic bid to be elected or re-elected to power. The stakes are high: by the end of this fiscal year, the incumbent administration will have spent $337 billion during its five years in office.
Continue reading ‘Buying and selling government’

Political volcano erupts

By Raffique Shah
February 28, 2015

Raffique ShahA political volcano has erupted with full force, spewing rocks, ash, lava and fetid gases across Trinidad and Tobago’s landscape. But even as the explosion demolishes structures and changes the electoral topography, the political seismologists and volcanologists, seemingly in stupor, pretend that all is well.
Continue reading ‘Political volcano erupts’

Which party will right these wrongs?

By Raffique Shah
February 22, 2015

Raffique ShahNow that the Carnival is over, we can expect electioneering to intensify, with a maximum of seven months to go before the general election is held. In fact, the ruling People’s Partnership coalition has grabbed a Carnival spillover, photographs of PNM leader Keith Rowley “wining” with a young Indian woman, as ammunition for use in campaigning.

Since the video and photos surfaced late Carnival Tuesday, the pro-UNC blogs have been hammering away at Rowley, dubbing him a “dirty old man” and worse in the hope that some mud will stick. I don’t think it will. The girl has publicly said she had a great Carnival, wine included, and to those who lambaste her and Rowley, she proclaimed boldly, “I hate racial people.”
Continue reading ‘Which party will right these wrongs?’

Kaiso, boy!

By Raffique Shah
February 15, 2015

Raffique ShahI waited patiently for Calypso Fiesta, the Mother of all Calypso shows, which featured 41 of the top calypsonians for this year. I did not trust the 20-plus radio stations in the country since those that feature local music kill us with pumping, jarring noises accompanied by voices that all sound hoarse as if the artistes are stricken with sore throats, that they tell me is soca.
Continue reading ‘Kaiso, boy!’

The political executioner strikes…again

By Raffique Shah
February 08, 2015

Raffique ShahI sense that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has cast her political fate to the wind, doing what she thinks she needs to with mere months to go before a general election. I suspect, too, that she no longer heeds her advisers, that she acts of her own accord, and will continue to do so for as long as she remains captain of the badly listing pirogue, the SS UNC-2.
Continue reading ‘The political executioner strikes…again’

A wild ride to elections

By Raffique Shah
February 01, 2015

Raffique ShahFor all its bountiful blessings—natural resources that allow us to live reasonably well, a mixture of races that dwell in relative harmony, a people that laugh more easily than they cry—this is a cussed country that moves with consummate ease from one political scandal to another, a society that has grown to accept a level of lawlessness and boorish behaviour that permeate it from top to bottom, from captain to crook.
Continue reading ‘A wild ride to elections’

Fit for the military

By Raffique Shah
January 25, 2015

Raffique ShahThere are many arguments in favour of extending the compulsory retirement age for members of the armed forces, the strongest being the fact that there are retirees receiving full pension at age 47, many of whom are fit and healthy and can easily work for another 20 years, which most do.
Continue reading ‘Fit for the military’

Talk Raoul, talk history

By Raffique Shah
January 18, 2015

Raffique ShahRaoul Pantin and I never worked together as journalists in the 40-odd years that I knew him. Yet, in some curious ways, our lives and paths intertwined and intersected, particularly during the major political convulsions in the nation’s history.

As products of the same generation, we forged a friendship that allowed us to share experiences of different eras (witness his “Afro” hairstyle in the 1970s and my rebellious profile) even as we at times disagreed on issues. When, last Wednesday, I heard he had passed on, I realised that a phone call I had planned to make early in the New Year would now never happen—a cruel reminder that we had both reached “that age” when one must do what one plans since there may be no tomorrow.
Continue reading ‘Talk Raoul, talk history’

Medical System a Mess

By Raffique Shah
January 11, 2015

Raffique ShahThe public medical institutions in this country are in crisis. Note well that I did not say the “healthcare system” because while there have been some initiatives in promoting healthy lifestyles and preventative health care, these have not reached the mass of the population.

So we are saddled with a network of district health centres and a handful of hospitals that are charged with diagnosing and treating the sick, but which have failed to fulfil their mandate.
Continue reading ‘Medical System a Mess’