Category Archives: Finance

Digging Out We Eye in Broad Daylight

By Dr Selwyn R, Cudjoe
June 15, 2021

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeA few days ago the Attorney General asked the Parliament to approve a supplementary vote of $118.9 million for his ministry. Barataria/San Juan MP Saddam Hosein asked (perhaps pleaded is a better word) how much money the lawyers (120 local and nine foreign) were being paid and the matters for which they were retained.

From the AG’s angle of vision, such a question was preposterous. He responded: “I would like to place on record that the request for the supplementation is driven by the fact that we are still in the course of settling $141.3 million in arrears from the period 2010 to 2015, during which $444.4 million was expended and arrears of $141.3 million left.”
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Small exports add up

By Raffique Shah
June 14, 2021

Raffique ShahI shall not dwell on the many options we have to produce some of the foods we consume and to reduce our heavy dependence on foreign foods for our survival. Far too many reports have been compiled by committees on this issue.

The fact that we have done very little to alter the food production equation in favour of local content or substitutes is a damning indictment against us all—from consumers who insist on foreign brands to farmers who cultivate or do not cultivate, depending on subsidies from government; from cooks who will not soil their hands preparing ground provisions for meals for adults who will die if they cannot get hold of foreign “fast foods” that are devoid of nutrition but laden with unhealthy ingredients and harmful additives that are addictive.
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Foods for your table

By Raffique Shah
June 07, 2021

Raffique ShahWarnings of food crises post-Covid-19 are dire. According to one study on global food security by the Centre for Strategic International Studies (CSIS), dated March 15, 2021, one year into the pandemic, ‘…at least four countries are facing…famine, …with 13 close behind…’ The study noted that one year ago, the UN World Food Programme executive director David Beasely, warned the UN Security Council of ‘famines of biblical proportions’ and of possibly 270 million ‘people experiencing crisis levels of hunger’.
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Searching for Our Truths

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 31, 2021

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeThere is much that is silly about the back and forth between the prime minister and the leader of the opposition about who is to be blamed for the rising death rate the savage pandemic has inflicted upon the people of our country. Rowley says that the candlelight vigils “organized and paid for by the UNC is a major contributory factor in the spike of Covid infections,” whereas Persad-Bissessar claims that the 50,000 people who visited Tobago during Easter “on the Prime Minister’s invitation resulted in the outbreak” (Express, May 25).
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Of dollars and sense

By Raffique Shah
April 26, 2021

Raffique ShahI round off my intervention on the many possibilities we might find in a new post-­Covid economy by reminding readers the pandemic has hammered economies across the world, irrespective of their sizes, in ways never before seen.

Oil was rocked to unimaginably low prices. Stock markets swayed as if in stupor, major commodity prices collapsed to uneconomic levels, and the virus disrupted world production of essential industries, goods and services, leaving governments confused, powerless, defeated.
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Out with the old, in with the new

By Raffique Shah
April 19, 2021

Raffique ShahThere comes a time in the affairs of a nation—and such occurrences are rare, maybe once in a century—when events shaped by the actions of citizens or unleashed by the forces of nature create the conditions for change, sometimes radical change that otherwise would hardly be considered, far less adopted, but which, when measured by the degree of dislocation the nation faces if its leaders fail to act, may offer opportunities that guide us along a path we didn’t think existed.
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Pass the teacup

By Raffique Shah
April 12, 2021

Raffique ShahThere must be an ultra-secret super-Lotto somewhere in the universe, where only the super-wealthy and governments-by-vaps play for super-stakes—you know, jackpots paid in gazillions, in currencies-of-choice, and in cash, s’il vous plait. Really, there must be. Why else would Finance Minister Colm Imbert and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley strut around a country that looks like an abandoned steam locomotive whose era has gone, they looking cooler than the proverbial cucumber, seemingly without care or worry, while lesser mortals like your humble scribe worry to no end over the near-evaporation of foreign exchange, the unavailability of any good or service that we can sell in large enough volumes that will yield the billions of US dollars we require for our sustenance?
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We will survive

By Raffique Shah
March 01, 2021

Raffique ShahI cannot claim to have conducted any scientific survey by interviewing samples of the population the way political pollsters do, but I feel certain if I did, I would find that as many as seven out of every ten adults believe that ‘Trinidad and Tobago gone through’, in the broadest sense of that colloquial term.

Put in standard English, that implies that the economy has collapsed, institutions have imploded, law and order do not exist, poverty is of near-epidemic proportions, and every metric one can imagine shows a failed state on the brink of implosion.
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Mr. Politician, Sah

By Raffique Shah
January 18, 2021

Raffique ShahThe urgency with which this nation must address the issues that threaten to throw us back into the Stone Age cannot be over-emphasised. We were already in deep trouble when Covid-19 struck with pandemic force in early 2020, sending us reeling from blows to the body, the mind, even the spirit. The energy and petrochemicals sectors faced grim circumstances, the availability of natural gas, the key feedstock of the latter’s operations, being of grave concern, and the markets for their products saturated and dampened.
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Time is unforgiving

By Raffique Shah
January 05, 2021

Raffique ShahFriends, Trinbagonians, countrymen, lend me your attention. I have decided to say here what I believe needs to be said at this perilous time in our nation’s history.

I have no desire to bury my country amidst the ruins of the Covid-19 pandemic and the punishing economic fallouts the virus has dealt us, which added misery to the politically-inflicted wounds. To the contrary, my hope is that many among you will heed my plea from the heart and rally to help save T&T. Let it not be said that in its hour of need, when this country stood at critical crossroads, crying out for help, for direction, that noble and patriotic citizens deserted the sinking ship of state like rats, seeking only to save their wretched lives and the loot they have stolen.
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