Tag Archive for 'Raffique Shah'

Ferries fiasco symptom of systemic societal problem

By Raffique Shah
August 15, 2017

Raffique ShahIt is incomprehensible to me how two boards of directors at the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (PATT), two line ministers responsible for the operations of the ferry service between Port of Spain and Scarborough, and a battery of senior public officers in the employ of the PATT and Government, could make such an unholy mess of the sea-bridge, culminating with the acquisition of a defective old tub that failed to even arrive in the country.
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Remembering Malcolm Jones

By Raffique Shah
August 10, 2017

Raffique Shah“I’ll share with you a personal secret…I. Don’t. Like. Pone!” said Malcolm Jones, emphasising every word he uttered. I couldn’t believe what he revealed: a Trinidadian who did not like pone, that cassava sweetbread whose taste and texture are sinfully irresistible to natives of this country? We eat pone by the slabs, not slices. “Malcolm,” I responded, “what kind of Trini are you?”
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Why I chose a private hospital

By Raffique Shah
August 02, 2017

Raffique ShahI declared a personal health crisis at 2 a.m. two Wednesdays ago, informing my family that I needed to be taken to a hospital for emergency treatment for possible pneumonia or threat thereof.

On the previous Saturday, I had awakened with a severe sore throat, and within hours other symptoms of a nasty virus that’s making the rounds manifested themselves. By Monday, I was wheezing like an ancient farm tractor and every part of my body ached, I realised that my carefully-built and well-maintained defences, based on diet, supplements such as Echinacea and vitamin C, and daily exercise, had been breached by those dreadful bad bacteria for the first time in more than a decade.
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Lost generations amidst free education

By Raffique Shah
July 12, 2017

Raffique ShahAnd we wonder why, in this land of plenty, we are seeing increasing numbers of young delinquents who invariably, in their middle to latter years, become dependent on the State for all their needs and much of their wants, some of them turning to crime as a rewarding enterprise that is the safest route to garnering, maybe amassing, wealth, faring better than their contemporaries who burnt the proverbial midnight oil, who sacrificed and struggled to earn an education they believed would equip them for life.
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Has God abandoned this cussed country?

By Raffique Shah
July 05, 2017

Raffique ShahI am convinced that God, in whatever manifestation the people of this multi-religious society pray to him, has given up on Trinidad & Tobago. How else can we explain the near-total breakdown of systems that define a functioning nation? The economy is in a mess. Criminals are in control, striking at will. Lawlessness reigns supreme. And rather than work together to rescue the country from collapse, the politicians resort to jammette-like behaviour in Parliament, cackling like yard-fowls, literally saying to us, well, didn’t you elect Jean and Dinah to represent you?
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A bend in the river

By Raffique Shah
July 02, 2017

Raffique ShahIn 1950, when I was four years old, my father moved the family from a sugar company cottage in Brechin Castle (now Rivulet Road) to a rented house near the Croisee in Freeport. The house, two bedrooms sitting on stilts about five feet high (I’m writing from childhood memory), was located off a sharp bend in the Freeport River, the main watercourse in what I call Greater Freeport. In fact, its eastern boundary was the meandering river, and because the land was lower than the road, level with the river-bank, whenever it rained heavily for more than a day, which occurred several times every rainy season, our yard was flooded, the swirling waters ranging from a few inches to maybe three feet.
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Labour Day blues

By Raffique Shah
June 28, 2017

Raffique ShahI awoke on Labour Day morning to Public Services Association (PSA) president Watson Duke saying in a television interview: Maternity leave? I’m not talking about maternity leave. I am talking about parental leave…two years each for both mother and father…

I groaned, my features turning sour, my Labour Day mood dampened, not by the approaching storm, but by the “gobar” being spewed from the mouth of one of the senior trade unionists in the country. I had gone to sleep the previous night thinking of the glory days at Fyzabad, between 1973 and 2009, when, without fail, I marched with pride alongside giants like George Weekes and Joe Young, and later Clive Nunez, Errol McLeod, Lyle Townsend and others, leading thousands of enthusiastic workers and farmers and unemployed persons, lustily singing our union battle-hymns.
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Don’t nail judge to race-cross

By Raffique Shah
May 30, 2017

Raffique ShahFor some time now I have sounded warnings to our tribal leaders, more specifically those in the frontline of the United National Congress, that they are playing with fire by fanning the embers of racial strife that could easily ignite. While we have enjoyed relative harmony in a world wracked by ethnic and religious strife, the absence of war between the two main tribes in this country does not necessarily mean peace.
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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.
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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.
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