Tag Archive for 'Raffique Shah'

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We are not beggars

By Raffique Shah
September 26, 2018

Raffique ShahKamla Persad-Bissessar’s statement that a possible solution to Petrotrin’s problem might be to import crude oil from Guyana was uninformed—and here I’m being charitable to the Opposition Leader. But nothing she said warranted the barrage of insults hurled at Trinidad and Tobago in a response by one Robert Persaud, who is described as being a former Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment in Guyana.
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Enter Gary Griffith: Act One

By Raffique Shah
September 19, 2018

Raffique ShahGary Griffith couldn’t have scripted a better opening act for his entry onto the national stage as the new Commissioner of Police, even if he were the Bard of Cascade or whatever suburb he lives in or comes from.

After six years of play-acting by career police officer Stephen Williams, and amidst much intrigue, controversy and good old Trinidad bacchanal over the selection of a new CoP, which featured principal parts played by politicians of every hue and persuasion, not to add cameos by a significant number among the “extras” in the 1.4 million population, Gary landed the starring role—and what an entry he made.
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Day of work and rejection

By Raffique Shah
September 12, 2018

Raffique ShahI was not surprised when the trade unions’ call for the workers of the country to stay at home and observe a day of “rest and reflection” last Friday failed miserably. What was intended to be a general strike by whatever name labour leaders chose to label it, turned out to be a near-unanimous rejection of their insensitivity to the country’s economic crisis. Workers put their own job security and the national interest before the recklessness of a handful of unionists.
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Fly flag at half-mast

By Raffique Shah
September 5, 2018

Raffique ShahIf I’d had a national flag that I hoisted on important occasions, I would have been sorely tempted to fly it at half-mast on Independence Day last Friday.

I don’t own one, so the temptation to display my shame over our inability to attain some achievements during 56 years of nationhood did not arise. I must confess though that the major electricity outage that struck large parts of Central Trinidad just when the military parade got underway relieved me of rendering my patriotic duty that has been an annual ritual for as far back as I can recall.
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Recognising the writing, not the writer

By Raffique Shah
August 29, 2018

Raffique ShahDuring my only visit to India, which I made in 1983, I found myself subconsciously looking everywhere for human faeces. Wherever I went, from the modern quarter of New Delhi where I stayed in what was probably a four-star hotel that overlooked manicured lawns and streets swept clean every day, to the slums that sat like festering sores next to the opulence of Bollywood in what was then Bombay, I kept my eyes peeled, looking for excrement.

Now, this might sound strange to the average person, especially since I was someone of Indian descent who was visiting the land of my ancestors for the first and only time. There is so much to see in that vast sub-continent—ancient historical sites (I did tour the Ajanta caves), the Taj Mahal (which I did not see) and other relics, Mahatma Gandhi’s artifacts and much, much more.
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Hinds should have stood his ground

By Raffique Shah
August 22, 2018

Raffique ShahFitzgerald Hinds made several fundamental errors in judgment that could have turned fatal when he ventured into the flooded Beetham Gardens last week Monday.

The first was to have gone there as the Member of Parliament for the area when there was nothing he could have done for residents whose homes were flooded out, except perhaps commiserate with them. I don’t understand why politicians believe their presence in such situations is obligatory. What the victims require is relief as far as that is practical, which means attention from the relevant regional corporations and disaster-management agencies.
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Addressing income inequality

By Raffique Shah
August 14, 2018

Raffique ShahLast week, when I wrote about the plight of the “working poor” in this country and the need for all interest-groups to address what is clearly a huge socio-economic problem, I was unaware that the issue had attracted international attention and there is actually an organisation based in Paris, France, that, since 2011, has focussed on what they have designated “income inequality”.
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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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