Tag Archive for 'Raffique Shah'

The last ‘pahalwan’

By Raffique Shah
November 23, 2015

Raffique ShahThe battle for leadership of the UNC has ignited a discussion on leadership in a broader context, with the party’s founder, Basdeo Panday, weighing in on the issue.

According to my columnist colleague Sheila Rampersad, Panday told her that Indians tend to seek a “pahalwan”-Hindi for warrior, strongman-to lead them. Sheila cited Panday himself as an example of the phenomenon. In 1973, he succeeded Bhadase Maharaj as leader of the sugar workers’ union, and in 1977 he succeeded in transforming the only organic inter-racial party ever (my view…I was a co-founder), the ULF, into an Indian party.
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Boors will be boors

By Raffique Shah
November 16, 2015

Raffique ShahI address two issues of public importance today. First is the emerging controversy over this country’s attendance at the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meeting to be held in Malta next week. And second, I join the chorus of frustrated voices crying out for something to be done to curb the dangerous, deafening din of explosives and fireworks that have become intrinsic to festivals like Divali.
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Land of freedoms and freeness

By Raffique Shah
November 09, 2015

Raffique ShahI cannot understand the national outrage over the video posted on the Internet that shows several Trinidadian Islamic “jihadists” somewhere in Syria, dressed in combat gear, firing rifles on what appears to be a range, and inviting their Muslim brethren to join them in holy battle in “Hijra”, wherever that paradise or hellhole may be.

I’m serious when I say we should not only be happy that those men (and their many wives and children) are thousands of miles away from our country, but we should encourage others who believe in the nonsense they do to answer their call to arms.
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The party’s over

By Raffique Shah
November 02, 2015

Raffique ShahChoosing a leader to take the United National Congress forward, backward, sideways, or keep it stagnated, is the business of members of the party.

It is not for me, who never belonged to any party other than the original United Labour Front, and that very briefly, to tell UNC members who they should elect as their leader, the way frontline members of the UNC openly lobbied for Penny Beckles over Keith Rowley during the internal elections in the People’s National Movement in May 2014.
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Police under fire

By Raffique Shah
October 26, 2015

Raffique ShahWith crime, especially murder, being the number one issue on the national agenda for more than two decades, the police cannot escape being targeted as the most blameworthy for the barrels of blood in which the nation is swirling.

In the most recent sensational case, the Tobago double-murder, the police have come under fire from just about every quarter, including the media and individuals in Britain, among them former UK High Commissioner Arthur Snell and the sole survivors of a string of similar gruesome attacks on the island, Peter and Murium Green.
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Scale of squandermania mind-boggling

By Raffique Shah
October 19, 2015

Raffique ShahIf a mere ten percent of the sums of money quoted by almost every new PNM minister as having gone to waste or astray under the previous government is factual, then at least a billion dollars was squandered or stolen during the tenure of the People’s Partnership.

If the ministers were accurate and truthful in their allegations of profligacy, then an astounding ten billion dollars, at least, found its way into the bank accounts of assorted thieves and accomplices.
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Up today, down tomorrow

By Raffique Shah
October 12, 2015

Raffique ShahI switched on my television last Friday just in time to see and hear a stern-looking House Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George say to former minister and current MP for Caroni Central Bhoe Tewarie, “You have three seconds to wrap up…starting now!”

I did a double-take, wondering if I hadn’t mistakenly tuned in to the Western channel rather than Parliament, some wild-west movie in which the “fastest” gunman in town gives an impossible ultimatum to his adversary.
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Weathering the storm

By Raffique Shah
October 04, 2015

Raffique ShahTomorrow’s Budget presentation by Finance Minister Colm Imbert is the most eagerly anticipated Appropriation Bill in many years.

The main reason for heightened interest is the depressed state of the economy. With low oil, gas and commodities prices, hence lower-than-normal revenues accruing to government, citizens are waiting to see just how the new administration proposes to navigate the ship of State.
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Ruminations on religion

By Raffique Shah
September 28, 2015

Raffique ShahNot being a religious person, I must confess that religion (used here collectively) confuses me, and quite often frightens me.

Mark you, I am not disrespectful towards religion or religious persons. If I were, I’d be alienated from most of my family, relatives, friends and fellow-citizens, almost all of whom are praying people who belong to one faith or other among the scores that form the tapestry of this cosmopolitan country.
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Lowest common denominator

By Raffique Shah
September 21, 2015

Raffique ShahLast week, at the opening of the new law term, two main speeches were delivered.

The first was a feature address by former President of the Republic and principal of the UWI St Augustine campus, Professor Max Richards. The second was the customary speech by the Chief Justice, a kind of state-of-the-Judiciary report which, I submit, is a veritable regurgitation of judicial woes that can be re-read year after year with only minor changes to the text.
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