Picton’s cruelty: Luisa Calderon’s resilience

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
August 08, 2022

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeThere can be no doubt about the cruelty of —Thomas Picton, the first British governor of Trinidad and Tobago (1797-1803), and the resilience of Luisa Calderon, one of the persons he tortured during his governorship.

It is important that we applaud Shabaka Kambon and other patriots who have called for the renaming of streets and monuments that carry his (and other tyrants’) names.
Continue reading Picton’s cruelty: Luisa Calderon’s resilience

An unforgiving electorate

By Raffique Shah
August 08, 2022

Raffique ShahContinuing where I ended last Sunday, by the turn of the millennium and the century, the Opposition United National Congress had positioned itself to capitalise on the vulnerabilities of the People’s National Movement, which had been weakened by the mass movement of 1970 (Black Power) that was driven largely by the children and grandchildren of the PNM.
Continue reading An unforgiving electorate

Keith Rowley’s failed leadership

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
August 01, 2022

PART III

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOn Friday, July 21, 2021, around 1.30 p.m., PM Keith Rowley was preparing for his golf game when a senior golf services coordinator sustained an ankle injury from a golf cart he was driving. Nothing untoward seems to have happened to the woman. An hour later, Rowley confirmed, “While I was playing golf I heard from my lawyer that the woman was taken to the hospital, was checked out and cleared to go… Nobody was ‘run over’.” (Express, October 27, 2021).
Continue reading Keith Rowley’s failed leadership

Let’s try ah madman instead

By Raffique Shah
August 01, 2022

Raffique ShahI do not believe the people of Trinidad and Tobago, least of all those whose votes matter in a near-evenly-divided electorate, are ready for a leader who has the fortitude to take the resource-rich though now declining economy out of the cycles of poverty, stagnation and prosperity, to put it firmly on track such that it steers as close as is possible to an equitable distribution of its wealth—or suffering—and in the painful process deliver us from the evils of free-wheeling capitalism and neo-liberalism that coagulates into one of the filthy-rich, dirt-poor extremities that are imploding across the world, their populations equally stripped of all hope as ours is, the only difference being this time we go down with the ship since there are no alternative options.
Continue reading Let’s try ah madman instead

Keith Rowley’s Failed Leadership

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
July 25, 2022

PART IPART II

The Hatter asks Alice: “Why is a bird like a desk?”

Alice was pleased. She enjoyed playing word games, so she said, “That’s an easy question.”

“Do you mean you know the answer?” said the March Hare.

“Yes,” said Alice.

“Then you must say what you mean,” the March Hare said.

“I do,” Alice said quickly. “Well, I mean what I say. And that’s the same thing, you know.”

“No, it isn’t!” said the Hatter.

—Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOn April 21, 2022, the prime minister commented on the close to 20 murders that took place while he was in Barbados. Asked if T&T was losing its fight against crime, the PM responded: “I don’t notice anybody running away from the fact that we are a violent society and in recent years a number of persons have gotten their hands on firearms, handguns in particular.” (Express, April 22.)
Continue reading Keith Rowley’s Failed Leadership

Circling like corbeaux

By Raffique Shah
July 25, 2022

Raffique ShahNothing defined the great dividing line in this country the way the Law Association lawyers’ motion to have Attorney General Reginald Armour resign from office did when it came before the legal fraternity two weeks ago.

As people with an iota of common sense will have noted, while there was an element of race in the proceedings, it was not the only, or even the main factor that drove the campaign to oust the AG. It was all political—a straight case of who in the profession supported the incumbent PNM Government, or who supported the Opposition UNC. The stench of politics in what can be said to have been a minor confrontation was overpowering.
Continue reading Circling like corbeaux

Keith Rowley’s Failed Leadership

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
July 18, 2022

PART I

Why boaseth thyself, oh evil man
Playing smart and not being clever.

—“Small Axe” by Bob Marley

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeAs I listened to a recent message that Mother Bernie sent to Keith Rowley, I appreciated anew why Eric Williams paid so much attention to the wisdom of the leaders of the Spiritual Baptist faith. In her tour de force, she informed Rowley of some truths about leadership that laid bare his shortcomings as our political leader.
Continue reading Keith Rowley’s Failed Leadership

Fight…or die like cowards

Raffique Shah
July 18, 2022

Raffique ShahFor many readers, my recollections of “Shanty Town” and the “La Basse” in the 1950s-’60s stirred memories of another day, an era from which the society ought to have long evolved.

Others thought I exaggerated wildly in my description of corbeaux and half-naked boys wrestling over discarded meat. I wonder if I had added to creatures I saw foraging for food the biggest hogs I had lain eyes on among the “gladiators” in that putrid “gayelle” that was the “La Basse”, what they might have thought of me: a writer whose imagination had gone wild?
Continue reading Fight…or die like cowards

The politics of redemption

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
July 11, 2022

PART III

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIt was a hot July day in the late 1990s when I received a call from a young man, full of enthusiasm, who wanted to make a difference in the lives of young people. He wanted me to address the members of an organisation he led. His name was Foster Cummings. I have never forgotten the devotion he applied to what he was doing.
Continue reading The politics of redemption

Beetham: man vs corbeaux

By Raffique Shah
July 11, 2022

Raffique ShahMany moons ago, when I was young, idealistic and very much a utopian dreamer, I had a vision for a new Beetham community. It will have formed in the early 1960s when I first travelled to Port of Spain frequently.

The route the taxis used from Chaguanas was the relatively new Princess Margaret Highway (commissioned in 1954, I think), turning west onto the Churchill-Roosevelt (built by the US armed forces in 1941 to service the largest air force base in this part of the world, Fort Read in Wallerfield, and used exclusively by military vehicles until it was handed over to the local authorities in 1949). The CRH ended at Barataria. From that point, before the Beetham Highway was opened in ’56, all traffic to PoS had to return to the Eastern Main Road to access PoS.
Continue reading Beetham: man vs corbeaux