Budget by everyone, for everyone

By Raffique Shah
September 15, 2020

Raffique ShahI imagine that every citizen who is conscious of the state of the country’s economy must wonder what magic Finance Minister Colm Imbert will weave when he presents his sixth consecutive Budget in a few weeks. The economy was already battered and bruised by plummeting oil and gas prices and struggling production levels when Covid-19 entered the picture and added to its grimness. The deadly virus savaged economies around the world, bringing many countries to their knees, leaving behind scenes that seemed to be apparitions of Armageddon.
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Opportunities lost

By Raffique Shah
September 07, 2020

Raffique ShahEarly morning Independence Day. I switch on the television, remembering that there would be no military parade this year, thanks to Covid-19, the Great Destroyer. So what is there to watch? On CNC3, I catch the last few words of the Prime Minister—rerun of an interview he’d done with Natalee Ligoure a few days ago. Then the host excitedly introduces 2020 Panorama champions, Desperadoes—their winning performance on Carnival Saturday night.
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The black superhero

By Dr Selwyn Cudjoe
September 07, 2020

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeChadwick Boseman, star of Black Panther, died last week Friday. The next day, former student Olivia Funderburg wrote me the following note: “Boseman’s death feels similarly shocking to Kobe Bryant’s death, in its suddenness. I was recalling how excited I was when you took us to see Black Panther. It meant so much to everyone that they got to see the movie with their friends, and with you. The way that Boseman embodied the Black Panther character and historical figures like Jackie Robinson, makes his death feel that we have lost a real-life superhero.”
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A new beginning

By Raffique Shah
September 01, 2020

Raffique ShahIt came to pass in this not-so-blessed year 2020, that persons of far greater faith than I can imagine, convinced that God, in whatever manifestation they believed Him to be, was signalling the end of an era, epoch, curse, call it what you will, signing off on the old with pandemic flourish, and simultaneously setting the stage for the launch of a new beginning, an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start afresh.

You of little faith may ask, with justification, how can we start afresh, encumbered as we are with an abundance of old geezers in pivotal positions? Voices will sing out from the heavens above: let them be! They have seen hell on Earth. Give them an opportunity to redeem themselves, to distinguish right from wrong, and offer solutions to the many troubled problems they and their kind have left us to resolve.
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Embracing all our history

By Dr Selwyn Cudjoe
August 31, 2020

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIt is gratifying that we are looking anew at many of the institutional arrangements and practices that we have accepted blithely over the years.

Recent articles by Reginald Dumas and Marina Salandy-Brown, the SEA discussion by The UWI scholars, and Theodore Lewis’s brilliant article on the subject have been instructive. Today’s discussion, “A Time for Healing”, sponsored by The UWI Faculty of Law in collaboration with the Catholic Commission on Social Justice, promises to be an exciting affair.
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Fitzgerald Hinds: Not even aware…

Minister of Youth Development and National Services Fitzgerald Hinds receives backlash after posting this comment on facebook.

Fitzgerald Hinds“Not even aware that I was in his focus, on exiting the Massy Foodstore, I entered my vehicle. I settled in and observed a body up to my window. Closer observation revealed a perhaps 30-year old, healthy-looking, muscular man. I looked for the piper in him and could not find it. He beckoned me to talk to him. I rolled down my glass window and he delivered! “ Ah just asking for a lil $20 to buy something to eat!” I immediately reflected on a previous occasion when another young man asked me for “ah lil $100”. I have given financial and other assistance many times in greater quantity, but I refused them both! Ah doh like the idea of young, apparently fit men begging! And ah doh like it more, when they tell me hummuch dey want!”
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Race is not my compass

By Raffique Shah
August 24, 2020

Raffique ShahIt pains me to return to the issue of race and politics in Trinidad and Tobago, but since it seems impossible to dismiss its impact on not just elections, but on the body politic of the nation, I feel obliged to address it. Note well how racism reared its ugly head as we got closer to the recent general election, and it peaked in the few weeks before and after polling day.

Much like the Covid-19 super-virus, race and racism disturb the equilibrium of the country in waves, peaks and troughs, some more damaging than others. Worse, it seems there is no cure for racism, no vaccine to halt its contagious nature. And, as if these virulent strains weren’t scary enough, there is an abundance of evidence to suggest that racism is contagious, even hereditary, possibly part of the DNA of some people.
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Counting our blessings

By Dr Selwyn Cudjoe
August 24, 2020

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOn August 2, about eight days before the last election, I took part in a programme that was hosted by the Indo-Caribbean Cultural Centre on the absence of election observers in T&T’s election, hosted by Dr Kumar Mahabir.

The question posed was whether the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) could conduct a fair election in the absence of foreign electoral observers. I answered: “It’s unfortunate that there will be no foreign observers at the August 10 elections, but I do not share the view that their absence would prevent the election from being conducted in a fair manner.”
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T&T’s new 21-member Cabinet

By Sampson Nanton
August 19, 2020 – guardian.co.tt

PM Keith RowleyTwenty-one ministers have been sworn in to for the new Cabinet of Trinidad and Tobago, with most returning to their regular portfolios.

The Prime Minister has also opted to create new Ministries, including the Ministry of Youth Development and National Services, to be headed by the Fitzgerald Hinds.

In addition to the 21 Ministers, there are nine Junior Ministers.
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