Tag Archive for 'Raffique Shah'

Beware: nasty election campaigns ahead

By Raffique Shah
March 20, 2019

Raffique ShahIf you thought that Vernella Alleyne-Toppin had plumbed the depth of depravity when, in the run-up to the 2015 general election, the then Tobago East MP launched the most scurrilous, vulgar attack on People’s National Movement leader Dr Keith Rowley, believe me, you haven’t seen the nastiest political campaigning yet.

Alleyne-Toppin had been allowed by House Speaker Wade Mark all the time she needed to allege that Rowley was a biological product of rape, and that he, in turn, would later end up committing the heinous crime to father a son. The alleged victims openly denied Toppin’s baseless charges, which were read into Hansard in the presence of her political leader, then Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, and other People’s Partnership parliamentary colleagues, none of whom intervened to stop the nastiness.
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Dying with laughter

By Raffique Shah
March 13, 2019

Raffique ShahThroughout my life, as far back as I can recall, one characteristic I have learnt to value highly is being able to laugh at myself…and then at other people. I think I inherited the importance of humour, of being able to laugh heartily at occurrences that might make other people cry, from my mother whose demeanour belied her propensity for laughter at anyone’s expense, but more so her own, and most definitely ours, her five children.
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Salute the London clan

By Raffique Shah
March 09, 2019

Raffique ShahHaving written last week that I did not see the successors to Sparrow and other icons in the pantheon of great calypsonians of Trinidad and Tobago, hence of the world, I think I must be man enough to apologise to the London family, three of whom won the four most prestigious calypso titles at stake this year.

Uncle Brian, who composed the winning songs for nephews Ronaldo and Rivaldo, beat a formidable field (Gypsy, Myron B, Black Sage) to take the ex-tempo crown convincingly, having failed on several previous occasions. Ever since his entry into the calypso arena sometime during the first decade of the Millennium, Brian has consistently maintained high standards as a composer and singer. He was selected for the monarch finals on five occasions (1st runner-up in 2010), and the ex-tempo finals more than that.
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Thanks for the lyrics and music, Sparrow

By Raffique Shah
February 28, 2019

Raffique ShahIt was a moment of sheer serendipity last Friday night. My wife Rosina and I had just watched the television news, and, scanning the local stations for some Carnival-related activity but finding nothing of interest, I resorted to YouTube for some good music that would take us to bedtime, around ten o’clock.
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Do not politicise war against crime

By Raffique Shah
February 20, 2019

Raffique ShahBuried in the last paragraph of a document titled “Interim Gang Report 2018”, which was compiled by the Organised Crime and Intelligence Unit of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and featured prominently in the last Sunday Express, was one of the main reasons why criminal gangs conduct their savagery with impunity, making a mockery of all attempts by new Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith to rein in their murderous rampage.

Said paragraph concludes: “…Extensive co-ordination between the TTPS and the T&T Prisons Service is crucial to expand investigations and gather intelligence to address the growing threat gangs pose to T&T.”
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Periscope on upcoming national elections

By Raffique Shah
February 12, 2019

Raffique ShahEven as the crisis in neighbouring Venezuela remains volatile, with the threat of civil war looming large just beyond our horizon, politicians in Trinidad and Tobago are pressing ahead with preparations for their own political wars—local government elections due to be held later this year and a general election before the end of next year.

Elections in Trinidad and Tobago are driven by one core issue: when the People’s National Movement holds power, as it does now, how to remove it from office. Or when it’s out in the wilderness of opposition, how to keep it there. Nothing more, nothing less.
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Unknown Guaido: pawn in a high-stakes game

By Raffique Shah
February 06, 2019

Raffique ShahSitting as we are in Trinidad and Tobago on ringside seats watching the political crisis in Venezuela unfold, events are moving so quickly they appear to be spiralling out of control.

The apparent chaos was scripted in Washington over more than a decade, with only the key actors’ names and roles changing to suit the dynamics of regime-replacement. The aim of the exercise, as one of my lecturers in military warfare used to prefix his sessions, is to remove Nicolas Maduro from the presidency of Venezuela by any means necessary, and replace him with a compliant candidate, once the puppet understands that when he is installed in office, he complies with the dictates of the US State Department.
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Venezuelans should thank Rowley, not cuss him

By Raffique Shah
January 30, 2019

Raffique ShahThe Government of Trinidad and Tobago has adopted a correct response to the political crisis in the neighbouring Republic of Venezuela. In conforming with the United Nations charter that member-states will not intervene in the internal affairs of sovereign nations, as Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley explained, T&T has opted instead to join with CARICOM countries to try to persuade the UN to mediate between the warring factions and hopefully diffuse the tension and bring a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
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Sandals saved Rowley

By Raffique Shah
January 23, 2019

Raffique ShahPrime Minister Dr Keith Rowley should thank the principals of Sandals for saving him from a fate worse than death. When the Butch Stewart-owned luxury resorts chain dispatched its CEO to announce its withdrawal from the three billion dollar (or whatever it would have cost) Tobago project, it provided a clean escape from infamy for the PM.
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Society steeped in corruption

By Raffique Shah
January 16, 2019

Raffique ShahSometime in 2017, I wrote a column in which I counselled Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to refrain from hurling allegations of corruption against ministers and senior officials of the People’s Partnership Government unless or until such time as some them have been charged with serious corruption-related criminal offences.

By then, I had reasoned, most citizens had grown fed up with such allegations being made by parties in power and those in opposition, with no proof produced as they exchanged places every five years from 1986 when the People’s National Movement was first voted out of office after a 30-year grip on power. The average person knew or believed there was rampant corruption involving PNM ministers, and the overwhelming vote they gave the National Alliance for Reconstruction was fuelled by expectations that they would finally see “big sawatees” hauled before the courts in handcuffs, with many of the crooks ending up behind bars like the common criminals they were.
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