Tag Archive for 'Raffique Shah'

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Mad, mad Trinidad

By Raffique Shah
February 13, 2018

Raffique ShahWhen opposition and government parliamentarians jointly pursue any issue that seems to be of national importance, I become very suspicious. Recently, when they did in the instances of the passing of former President Max Richards and election of Justice Paula Mae Weekes to the presidency, I expressed my fears in this space. Now that they have unanimously appointed a special select committee of six MPs them to probe the fiasco that the appointment of a Commissioner of Police is turning out to be, I smell a rotting rat whose putrid stench permeates both political parties, some commissions and commissioners, and possibly holders of high office who are aiming to go higher and higher.
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Death of calypso tents

By Raffique Shah
January 30, 2018

Raffique ShahThey looked pathetic, three of the leading calypsonians in the country—Chalkdust, Sugar Aloes and Pink Panther—as they begged the Government for a “mere half-a-million-dollars” to operate the Calypso Revue tent over the three-week Carnival season. Admitting that they had already received $100,000 funding that was woefully inadequate, the top bards invoked the name, memory and legacy of the great Lord Kitchener, who founded the Revue 55 years ago. For Kitchener’s sake, they pleaded, grant us the half-a-mil.
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Bad omen for new President

By Raffique Shah
January 24, 2018

Raffique ShahThe passing of former President Max Richards, coinciding as it did with the unanimous vote by parliamentarians to elect retired Justice Paula Mae Weekes as the first female and new President of the Republic, seems to have triggered a measure of hope among some citizens that the nation can be rescued from its downhill slide by the eminence of the Head of State.
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Note to economic planners: put needs before greed

By Raffique Shah
January 17, 2018

Raffique ShahDr Terrence Farrell’s resignation last week as chairman of the Government-appointed Economic Development Advisory Board brought into focus a long-simmering conflict between economists and business interests in one camp, more or less; the Government, which sees the economy primarily through the prism of political power, on the other; and trade unions and a disparate population that sense the near-violent instability of the ship of state and recognise the need for adjustments by all passengers on board, from captain to cook, but each one expecting the other, not him, to move.
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Funding culture vultures

By Raffique Shah
January 11, 2018

Raffique ShahThe Government missed a good opportunity to impress upon the population the gravity of the country’s economic circumstances, and consequently the dire need for all segments of society to make sacrifices on the expenditure side of the equation, when it capitulated by doling out millions of taxpayers’ dollars to fund private promoters whose sole interest in Carnival is to profit off it.
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Interlude with Rudder and Tanker

By Raffique Shah
January 02, 2018

Raffique ShahSerendipity often steals upon you in strange ways. I was about to shut down my computer last Wednesday night when, in my e-mail inbox, I saw a post by Lasana Liburd alerting me to a video interview he had conducted with David Rudder. I respect Liburd for maintaining high standards on his Wired868 blog, and for me, Rudder is a peerless trailblazer who attempted to usher in a new era in calypso music in 1986.
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Reading for pleasure and knowledge

By Raffique Shah
December 31, 2017

Raffique ShahA few weeks ago, my granddaughter, who is all of seven years old, said to me with a look of triumph on her face, “Granddad, I finished reading my new book,” adding with emphasis, “…eleven chapters in four days!” “Very good,” I commended her as she proffered a copy of the children’s version of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice through the Looking Glass”.
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Peace unto all—at least for the Christmas

By Raffique Shah
December 20, 2017

Raffique ShahIt must have been at the funeral for a military colleague that Brigadier Joseph Theodore, then a minister in the Basdeo Panday administration, pulled me aside for private conversation, which he initiated by brusquely whispering in my ear: “Raf, you couldn’t £$&*g warn me about getting involved in politics?” I laughed, but Joe continued his mini-tirade about the underworld of politics in which one “had to tolerate so much s%$t” in contrast to the military, where order, discipline, rules and regulations reigned supreme, and where, generally, soldiers lived by codes of honour that implied implicit trust in one’s comrades.
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Sunset or sunrise, no support from Kamla

By Raffique Shah
December 13, 2017

Raffique ShahIf there was anything shocking about the opposition United National Congress members voting to scuttle the so-called anti-gang legislation in Parliament last week, it was the seemingly shocked expressions on the faces of the Prime Minister, the Attorney General and other members of government.

I was shocked that they were shocked by the opposition vote. Did Dr Rowley and his ministers really expect Kamla Persad-Bissessar and her colleagues to support the Government in any bid to fight crime? Any street-smart Trini could have told the PM long before the Bill came up for debate that the UNC would not allow it to be passed in the House.
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Riding a wave of discontent

By Raffique Shah
December 06, 2017

Raffique ShahMany people, among them the anointed political pundits, seem to think that the widespread discontent among large sections of the population over what they see as lame governance by the Keith Rowley-led administration, and a depressed economy that shows no sign of recovery, could erupt into a violent political upheaval such as this country has experienced on several occasions in its pre- and post-colonial history.

In fact, I sense that many politicians are hoping for an eruption that would force the Government out of office by one means or other, thus creating a vacuum that would be filled by those who appear to be best organised at the critical point in time.
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