Category Archives: General T&T

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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Normalising failure and callousness

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 21, 2024

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeQuestion: Would you select someone to lead a company or an organisation where, previously, that person had failed in that position and shows no sign of improving his/her leadership skills or comprehending the job-challenges that lie ahead?

This question arose last week when National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds explained why his Government retained Erla Christopher to lead the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service for another year even as crime and disorder worsen and every sign suggests they will get “worserer.”
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Africa’s holocaust

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 14, 2024

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIn 1985 I interviewed the president of the South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) Sam Nujoma when he visited the United Nations Decolonisation Committee to plead for his country’s independence (West Africa, present-day Namibia). Namibia was a German colony from the 1880s to the First World War when South African troops occupied its territory.

From 1904 to 1908, the Germans waged a war that exterminated over 100,000 Africans from the Herero and Nama ethnic groups. It was deemed the first holocaust of the 20th century. In 1920, the League of Nations allowed South Africa to administer the territory.
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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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Student outrage over US behaviour

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 07, 2024

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeFrom New York to Los Angeles, from New Hampshire to Texas, thousands of students have risen up against how the Palestinian people in Gaza are being treated. US police have arrested over 2,300 student protesters, and many more will be arrested in the coming weeks. We should congratulate the moral courage of these students.

Edward Luce reminds Americans about their foolhardiness. He wrote: “America is in knots over the foolishness—or worse—of its campus protesters. But it is the adults who are making the biggest dunces of themselves. The role of the grown-ups facing student unrest is to keep the peace without sacrificing rights. These include free speech and physical safety. The task requires principled consistency.” (Financial Times, May 2.)
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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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Age of retirement

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
April 23, 2024

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOn June 30, 2024, I will say farewell to Wellesley College, a place at which I have taught for 38 years. I have taught at several elite institutions in the United States such as Harvard, Cornell, Ohio and Fordham universities, but Wellesley holds a special place in my heart. I have grown fond of it over the years.

The college yesterday held a symposium and dinner to honour my services to the institution and my academic contributions internationally. Paula Johnson, president of the college who was a student at Harvard University when I taught there in the 1970s, and Prof Kellie Carter Jackson, chairman of the Africana Studies Department, opened the function.
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