Tag Archive for 'T&T Govt'

Society steeped in corruption

By Raffique Shah
January 16, 2019

Raffique ShahSometime in 2017, I wrote a column in which I counselled Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to refrain from hurling allegations of corruption against ministers and senior officials of the People’s Partnership Government unless or until such time as some them have been charged with serious corruption-related criminal offences.

By then, I had reasoned, most citizens had grown fed up with such allegations being made by parties in power and those in opposition, with no proof produced as they exchanged places every five years from 1986 when the People’s National Movement was first voted out of office after a 30-year grip on power. The average person knew or believed there was rampant corruption involving PNM ministers, and the overwhelming vote they gave the National Alliance for Reconstruction was fuelled by expectations that they would finally see “big sawatees” hauled before the courts in handcuffs, with many of the crooks ending up behind bars like the common criminals they were.
Continue reading ‘Society steeped in corruption’

The Carnival is over

By Raffique Shah
January 09, 2019

Raffique ShahI was pleasantly surprised when the announcement by the National Carnival Commission that it was scrapping the North Stand for this year’s Carnival did not elicit an uproar of objections from stakeholders in the national festival and hordes of party animals whose love for steelband music lasts one day—the National Panorama Semi-Finals.

For all its symbolic representation of the spirit of Carnival, crammed as it was (note tense) with more than its 8,000 maximum capacity, the North Stand was a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money. For close to 50 years, ritually, every January, contractors and hundreds of workers would engage in a frenetic exercise of erecting the facility, only to dismantle it two weeks after Carnival. The cost? Four million dollars.
Continue reading ‘The Carnival is over’

Think small, earn big

By Raffique Shah
January 03, 2019

Raffique ShahI could have begun the New Year by griping about all the negatives of the old, cussing from politicians to crooks for the many woes we citizens face daily, ranging from a record high number of homicides to a seemingly stagnated economy, arguing that the current government is the worst we have had since the indigenous peoples ran things however many centuries ago, blah, blah, blah.
Continue reading ‘Think small, earn big’

Day of moaning for Petrotrin

By Raffique Shah
December 05, 2018

Raffique ShahDuring last Friday’s unofficial “Day of Moaning” for the official demise of State-owned oil giant Petrotrin, I detected more than a hint of hypocrisy among the moaners. I must confess that your not-so-humble scribe was prominently positioned amidst the thousands of Trini-Pharisees who had saved their saddest faces and rehearsed their most somber vocal tones for the tragic occasion.

I admit that mine was an ego issue, one in which my wounded pride provoked extreme prejudice against my fellow-Trinis for having shamed me, for having shattered my dreams of seeing us as a people take control of the commanding heights of the economy, and successfully steer them to take their place alongside the best such enterprises in the world.
Continue reading ‘Day of moaning for Petrotrin’

Refugees aggravate T&T woes

By Raffique Shah
November 21, 2018

Raffique ShahTrinidad and Tobago has found itself in an unenviable, as well as untenable, position of having to deal with hundreds of mostly Venezuelan and Cuban nationals who have entered this country, legally and illegally, then announcing themselves as refugees or seeking political asylum.

This situation is unenviable because we are the only English-speaking Caribbean island-state that faces an influx of Spanish-speaking refugees, in addition to Jamaicans and Nigerians who have overstayed their Immigration-approved time, and some Chinese, Syrians and Lebanese. Except for the fairly-prosperous Dominican Republic that shares the large island of Hispaniola with poverty-stricken Haiti, where nationals of the latter invade the former on foot, whence they face rigid deportation procedures, T&T is a unique magnet for illegal immigrants.
Continue reading ‘Refugees aggravate T&T woes’

Bring on an anti-corruption court

By Raffique Shah
November 07, 2018

Raffique ShahUntil scores of corrupt politicians, public officials and thieving contractors in this country are jailed for pillaging the public purse, and are seen wearing “prison blues” so that the population is convinced that justice is evenly dispensed, the lawlessness that runs rife in the society will ravage its body politic like an invasive cancer.

It will inevitably permeate the few decent souls remaining, like the persons whose compassion for their less fortunate brethren during the recent floods kindled hope in our hearts that there is still some humanity left in this jungle of feral greed.
Continue reading ‘Bring on an anti-corruption court’

HDC projects hit by approval woes, defects Mistakes cost $2.4 billion

By Renuka Singh
November 05, 2018 – guardian.co.tt

Greenvale ParkConstruction variations or changes to the agreed scope of works at Housing Development Corporation (HDC) projects cost taxpayers some $2.4 billion between 2005 and 2017. These include two projects that had to be abandoned because of structural and engineering obstacles that were not determined before construction began.

The news comes even as the ruling People’s National Movement and Opposition United National Congress continue to spar over which party made the errors while in government which led to the recent flooding disaster at the Greenvale Park, La Horquetta development.
Continue reading ‘HDC projects hit by approval woes, defects Mistakes cost $2.4 billion’

Water of National Cleansing

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
October 29, 2018

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeNow that the waters have subsided after the worst flooding in fifty years, we should engage in a new national discourse about who we are and whether we can keep on doing the same ole same ole and expect different results. We should decide whether we continue along our national highway using the same tired rhetoric of a happy, go-lucky people who never think or plan for tomorrow.

President Paula-Mae Weeks opened up the national conversation best when she said: “Whether causes by an Act of God, omissions or commissions of institutions or individuals or any combination thereof, this is not the time to ascribe blame. Now is the time for all to come together as a nation to render whatever assistance we can to those in such desperate need” (Express, October 22).
Continue reading ‘Water of National Cleansing’

Reduce road traffic, improve productivity, economy

By Raffique Shah
October 18, 2018

Raffique ShahContrary to my assertion in last week’s column that most motorists and commuters do not care about the suffering they endure in daily traffic congestions, responses to the article suggest otherwise. As such, I shall share some more thoughts on the issue which is of immense importance to the economy, which it impacts negatively, and the physical and mental health of citizens, which also suffer serious consequences.
Continue reading ‘Reduce road traffic, improve productivity, economy’

“The gentleman doth protest too much, methinks.”

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
October 15, 2018

“Gold? Yellow, glittering, precious gold? No, gods, I am no idle votarist!…Thus much of this will make black white, foul fair, wrong right, base noble, old young, coward valiant.”

—William Shakespeare,”Timon of Athens”

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeTwo weeks ago, I made a case for “reparative justice.” Drawing on “Slavery, Abolition and the University of Glasgow,” a report that was coauthored by Dr. Stephen Mullen, a well-respected scholar, I challenged the national community to think about this concept. I did not chastise anyone. I simply stated facts as I saw them.

Mullen’s report was important because it drew on my work, The Slave Master of Trinidad, to demonstrate how Burnley’s profits and the capital he bequeathed to his son, William Frederick, subsidized the development of the University of Glasgow (UG). UG launched a program for reparative justice because of Mullen’s report. (See “Glasgow University to make amends over slavery profits,” London Guardian, September 11, 2018).
Continue reading ‘“The gentleman doth protest too much, methinks.”’