Tag Archives: T&T Govt

The importance of work

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 28, 2024

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeAnyone who believes the PNM Government will solve the problem of black underdevelopment, joblessness, and criminality in the depressed areas of the island had better think again. It will not happen in the near future. The elites who have taken over the party have no interest in these problems, they do not have the will to solve them, nor the intelligence to know the difference.
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God help us

By Raffique Shah
May 28, 2024

Raffique ShahThe Commissioner of Police, Mrs Erla Christopher, should be least surprised when an avalanche of criticisms rolled in her direction, threatening to bury her, when in other circumstances, she should have celebrated her re-appointment to lead the Police Service for another year beyond the mandatory retirement age.

After all, here’s a woman who has spent all of her adult life being a police officer, likely as a constable initially and working her way up the ranks over many years. In the face of insults hurled at her, members of the public need to understand how she must feel offended. Her righteous indignation, however, has in turn angered a population that is drowning in a wave of crime that has now spread to almost every part of the country, that she and her 6,000 or 8,000 or however many officers are battling—a beast that seems to have extraordinary power, money, guns, and tentacles.
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Destination, purgatory

By Raffique Shah
May 14, 2024

Raffique ShahIf the two leading parties, the PNM and the UNC, ignore my challenge for them to make corruption a focal point of the next general election, would this be to their detriment? The answer is no. They will have read my column, of course, and they would be intimately aware that I was correct in everything I wrote in matters relating to racketeering and other very high-level illegal transactions.

I will not, of course, have documents or files to support my allegations. Which means, as a citizen, I do not have the liberty to pursue such matters the way good journalists do. So, if at all any of them wishes to comment, to brand my recommendations for an issue-related elections period, they would have the whole country laughing at me, making me look like an idiot. They, too, will not only lampoon me but they will come after me for whatever pennies I have amassed.
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Living to steal another day

By Raffique Shah
May 07, 2024

Raffique ShahHowever lofty the ideals they may shout from the rooftops, when you get down to base, when you reach the gutter where most of them reside, politics is not about ideals. It is about naked power.

Jean-Paul Sartre, French philosopher, wrote in his masterful introduction to Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth: They bring nothing new, they create nothing new, they simply regurgitate what their masters fill in their heads. Centuries after the great intellects introduced them to concepts such as democracy, you can hear them in the ex-colonies, now independent states, screaming as if they invented the words, “Government of the people, for the people and by the people”; “Liberty! Equality! Fraternity!”
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Please stay home

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
April 29, 2024

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI do not know what Cabinet intended to achieve when it changed “Emancipation Day” to “African Emancipation Day”, beginning August 1, 2024. Our Prime Minister declared that too many people at the international level were attempting to “add appendages” to the reasoning behind emancipation. He felt he had to change that. He declaimed: “We in T&T, who led on this matter, will have none of it. We made it quite clear that emancipation in T&T is a result of the emancipation of slaves,” even though most enlightened scholars refer to people who were stolen from Africa and brought to work on the plantations of the New World as “enslaved” people rather than “slaves”.
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Mandate to lock up

By Raffique Shah
April 29, 2024

Raffique ShahSo that readers may get an idea of the sheer size of the monster that is corruption, of how easily the high and mighty as well as the poor and powerless are caught in its web, I cite one of the oldest jokes in parliamentary lore.

Lady Astor, the first woman to sit in the British parliament, was once jokingly propositioned by a drunk Winston Churchill when he asked her: will you go to bed with me for 50 pounds? She did not respond curtly; instead she hesitated, but before she could sidestep the trap Churchill was about to spring on her, he asked: will you go to bed with me for eight pounds? To which she angrily responded: what do you think I am? He replied: we already know the answer to that, we are just trying to fix a price.
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Corruption’s demonic face

By Raffique Shah
April 23, 2024

Raffique ShahIn the 40-odd years that I have been writing a weekly newspaper column, I admit that much of my work has been dealing with politicians and corruption. Over the years I have tried to address other issues such as the economy, our education system, crime (how can I not write about crime?), and so on. But I always seem to return to base, in a manner of speaking—meaning politics, politicians and corruption.
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When we sleep with the Devil

By Raffique Shah
April 16, 2024

Raffique ShahMore often than not, people get the government they deserve. We hear this refrain time and again in countries where elections are supposed to be free and fair, and free from fear, much like ours in Trinidad and Tobago.

This latter statement does not necessarily find favour with the majority among the voting population, commonly called the electorate. I shan’t get into it with any­one who thinks otherwise in this land of a million people, a million opinions. We’ll get nowhere if I engage in side arguments that do not help anyone.
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EBC lessons for XYZs

By Raffique Shah
April 08, 2024

Raffique ShahI felt like a fool as I walked out of the offices of the Elections and Boundaries Commission after what turned out to be a two-hour education on polling divisions.

Readers may wonder why I spent so long on such a narrow topic. Well, Mr Whatever-his-name-was had decided to teach me a huge lesson in limited time. The year was 1976. It was a general election year and I had gone to the EBC’s offices at the invitation of the gentleman who was said to be very knowledgeable on everything on elections.
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The Indian connection

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
April 02, 2024

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeWhen Eric Williams went to London in 1955 to discuss PNM’s programme with CLR James, George Padmore and Arthur Lewis, he also visited with Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, the sister of Jawaharlal Nehru, prime minister of India. He raised the possibility of republishing Nehru’s autobiography with the latter writing a new introduction to it.
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