Tag Archive for 'Raffique Shah'

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.
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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.
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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.
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Killing Us Noisily

By Raffique Shah
January 03, 2015

Raffique ShahEight o’clock Saturday morning and as I start writing this column, all is quiet on my block, suspiciously so. It’s cool and sunny, and I hear birds chirping, see them flying past my windows. Butterflies add a colourful touch to this gift of nature, a peaceful cul-de-sac located mere metres away from a busy, noisy, dusty main road.
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Billboard face to launch a million votes?

By Raffique Shah
December 28, 2014

Raffique ShahIn the spirit of the season, which for me means extra-laid-back, lazy if you will, certainly not busy with chores that people ignore all year only to attack feverishly only at Christmas time, I thought I’d round of the year on a high note even as I lay low.

Really, we cannot be so blighted to have endured yet another year of foul-ups by those on high and lawlessness from top to bottom, crime down but criminals running free, a health system that’s ready for the dreaded Ebola but takes two years to deliver cataract surgery, costly free education that churns out a handful of bright young people but a mass of dumb others—surely, we would be spared worse in the final few days of the year.
Or so I thought.
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Cuba and the USA: the long thaw begins

By Raffique Shah
December 20, 2014

Raffique ShahI confess I was surprised when, last Wednesday, announcements from Washington and Havana confirmed that the United States and Cuba had agreed to restore diplomatic relations and work towards the normalisation of other relations, especially trade and travel between the two countries.

I did not think that President Barack Obama had the fortitude to dismantle a 50-plus-year anachronism that lingered as the last vestige of the Cold War that all but ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
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Slaves to digital devices

By Raffique Shah
December 14, 2014

Raffique ShahSome nights ago, a television news reporter covering one of the Prime Minister’s toys distribution functions asked eight children what they would like to get as Christmas presents. All seemed to be between ages five and ten. One boy said he wanted a truck and a girl screamed, “A doll house!”
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Satanic race-verses

By Raffique Shah
December 07, 2014

Raffique Shah“This is PNM country. The black African king anointed by the blood of Jesus Christ has decreeded (sic) that is we time again. We Africans will be the masa (sic) and the rest ah allya (sic) will be we slaves. Starting today the terror shall begin for all allya coolie and chin who feel allya better than we. Today is just a flat tire.”

For those who are reading or hearing about it for the first time, the idiotic but poisonous verses quoted above, with the PNM insignia inserted above them, formed a “flyer” that some patrons at MovieTowne found stuck to their vehicle windscreens last Saturday night. In instances, the victims found their tyres deflated.
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Politics and oil—a deadly cocktail

By Raffique Shah
November 30, 2014

Raffique ShahIn the current oil prices turmoil that has sparked much speculation, rumours of doom and gloom, and seeming indifference on the part of Government, the few in the country who know and understand what’s happening at the global level owe it to the nation to let their voices be heard.

We cannot believe the politicians. Over the past few months, as the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude slipped from US$105 a barrel in June to below US$70 a barrel last week, Finance Minister Larry Howai and Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine were singing, “Don’t worry, be happy!”
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Manzanilla collapse: decades of neglect

By Raffique Shah
November 23, 2014

Raffique ShahThe devastation of sections of the Manzanilla-Mayaro Road may have been triggered by an act of God, as many are wont to say when heavy rainfall wreaks havoc and they wish to cover up their complicity in the destruction—dumping debris into watercourses, interfering with drainage systems, or denuding hillsides and undertaking construction in the worst possible places.
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