Tag Archive for 'Raffique Shah'

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Plight of the working poor

By Raffique Shah
August 08, 2018

Raffique ShahWhereas the poor in the society are very visible, tens of thousands of adults who can best be described as the “working poor” remain largely invisible, barely surviving the purgatory-like existence the majority of them are condemned to live in for their life spans.

While there are entire ministries and government agencies established to address poverty through multi-pronged programmes, hardly anyone spares a thought for the plight of the working poor, who would probably be best categorised as the wretched of the earth, to borrow a term coined by Martinique-born intellectual Frantz Fanon.
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Crying over Caroni’s evaporated aged rums

By Raffique Shah
August 02, 2018

Raffique ShahSometimes when you live long enough, you get around to enjoying the proverbial “last laugh”, or, in this case, the “last cry”, depending on your perspective.

On Republic Day 2000, I wrote a story in the now-defunct Independent newspaper telling of a report compiled by a professional “alcohol valuator”, American Robert Fuchs, that assessed the value of the aged rum stocks that Caroni Ltd held at its bonds on the compound of the distillery at Caroni Village.

Fuchs told Caroni that its 18,000-plus casks of rum of varying vintages, if converted into premium aged rums on a phased basis, could gross between TT $1 billion and $6 billion, depending on “intent of product”.
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Looking for a commissioner or a “Bobolee”?

By Raffique Shah
July 25, 2018

Raffique ShahI pity the poor bugger who finds favour with both government and opposition parties to be appointed the new Commissioner of Police. If that wretched soul happens to be Captain Gary Grffith as reported in the Sunday Express, then I’ll do something I’ve not done in 50-odd years: I’ll fall on my knees and pray that Jah makes the purgatory of that post easy for him for the few months that he would become the “Chief Bobolee” to blame for the crime epidemic that no mortal can mitigate, far less eradicate.
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Petrotrin: all of them must go!

By Raffique Shah
July 18, 2018

Raffique ShahBecause of the interest generated by my column last week on State-owned Petrotrin and the fact that the country has awakened to a possible disaster at our doorstep in the fate of the struggling oil giant, I thought I should return to add a few more salient points to the national discussion that will likely determine its future.

I claim no expertise in the oil industry, and certainly not on Petrotrin. However, I have, over the years, tried to educate myself on the hydrocarbons and petrochemicals industries in order to better understand these engines of our economy. Besides accessing information that is available in print and online, I have interfaced with many workers, technocrats and experts to whom I am grateful for sharing their vast knowledge with me.
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Petrotrin: radical surgery…or die

Br Raffique Shah
July 12, 2018

Raffique ShahI never thought I’d one day write a column that says what I’m about to. But as someone who has always put country before personal or ideological interests regardless of the fire I faced, I feel compelled to endorse calls for a radical restructuring of State-owned oil company Petrotrin.

If there is resistance to life-saving changes, declare the damn company bankrupt and shut it down.
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Frankie, don’t mess with us

By Raffique Shah
July 07, 2018

Raffique ShahYou’d think with all the entertainment from and excitement over World Cup football in Russia, we’d be spared the drudgery of everyday crime, inexcusable lawlessness and political bacchanal at least for one month. After all, it seems that everyone is riveted to a television set somewhere on “match-days”, which have been every day, almost all day, over the past two weeks. In fact, football fever has intensified during the knockout matches that will climax when new champions are crowned on Sunday, July 15.
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The housing conundrum

By Raffique Shah
June 28, 2018

Raffique ShahAt two ends of the nation’s housing spectrum there are seemingly intractable problems that defy solutions unless the population is prepared to change the cultural mores that have contributed to us facing this conundrum.

At the base, we see tens of thousands of citizens ranging from low-income workers to no-income “lochos” clamouring for Government to provide housing for them. Many among these can afford to pay the subsidised rental or mortgage rates that the Housing Development Corporation, either directly or through certain mortgage facilities, charges for its low-end units.
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I cry for the Fyzabad I knew

By Raffique Shah
June 21, 2018

Raffique ShahIt was on this historic day 45 years ago that I started a new chapter in my life-my involvement in the trade union fraternity, and more specifically, being part of the thousands who made the annual pilgrimage to Fyzabad to pay tribute to pioneers of the labour movement, more specifically Tubal Uriah Butler. From June 19, 1973 until I called halt to marching with my comrades in 2009, I never missed a Labour Day celebration in Fyzabad.
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Valuation Division off on wrong foot

By Raffique Shah
June 15, 2018

Raffique ShahOftentimes, civic and professional organisations that stay aloof of the political mud-wrestling that has long been the dominant feature of our parliamentary system, provide citizens with greater clarity on legislation that impact our lives than our warring politicians do.

Such is the case with the controversial Property Tax Act and its many amendments. On every occasion that the legislation has come before Parliament, it has generated a fish-market-like cacophony and wild fear-mongering to the extent that an entire general election campaign (2010) was conducted on the theme “axe the tax”, and the Manning government fell, albeit on issues wider and larger than the tax.
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Go after State lands thieves

By Raffique Shah
June 07, 2018

Raffique ShahI was about to write a column on my concerns with the Valuation Division of the Ministry of Finance, which plays a critical role in the implementation of the new Property Tax, when I read the lead story in the Sunday Express that pertained to a number of “hanky-panky” deals involving the distribution of State lands by officials of the Division of State Lands, which falls under the Ministry of Agriculture.
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