Category Archives: PNM

Opening the borders

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
April 13, 2021

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI left Trinidad and Tobago on March 16, 2020, a few days before the borders were closed to citizens and visitors alike. I was on the verge of departing for a ten-day visit to India, at the invitation of the Indian government as a part of its Academic Visitors Programme for distinguished scholars.
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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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Bernard Yawching defends book accusing UNC, Hindus of racist agenda

By Julien Neaves
March 17, 2021 – newsday.co.tt

Bernard YawchingPOLITICAL and social activist Bernard Yawching said he expects backlash over his book The Hidden Agenda of Race Relations in Trinidad and Tobago.

The new book accuses the United National Congress (UNC), the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS), and some members of the Hindu community and the East Indian community of promoting a racist agenda. It tracks events from a 1913 speech by former Arima Mayor FEM Hosein about Africans not being as productive as Indians to more modern-day controversies such as Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar describing the Prime Minister as an “oreo.”
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Black People & the Social Contract

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
March 01, 2021

“No society can smash the social contract and be exempt from the consequences, and the consequences are chaos for everybody in the society.”

—James Baldwin, Conversations

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeThere are two troubling aspects of slavery and colonialism that remain within our consciousness even though we claim that slavery and colonialism are conditions of the past. The first is the self-hate that these socio-economic formations have created in Black people and a resulting tendency to do everything to prevent fellow Blacks from moving forward. Frantz Fanon discussed this condition in Black Skin, White Masks.
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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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Backward Ever

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
February 09, 2021

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI am still trying to understand why Blue Waters needed to import 39 non-nationals to work on its bottling plant when there is such high unemployment among our youths and specialized workers from Petrotrin and other related enterprises.

When Kamla Persad-Bissessar questioned Stuart Young about this matter, the latter mansplained: “This was a request by a manufacturer to bring in specialized workers to upgrade their plant. This is not unusual or unique. The persons entering would have presented their negative PCR test, they will be paying for their quarantine at a State-supervised quarantine facility” (Express, January 30, 2021).
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A More Reflective Society

By Dr Selwyn Cudjoe
January 05, 2021

“So Trinidad was and remains a materialist immigrant society, continually growing and changing, never settling into any pattern, always retaining the atmosphere of the camp… [This explains] its special character, its ebullience and irresponsibility… an indifference to virtue as well as to vice.”

—VS Naipaul, The Middle Passage

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIn 1960 Eric Williams, premier of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T), suggested to VS Naipaul, one of our premier writers, that he write a non-fiction book about the West Indies that the T&T government would support financially. Williams assured Naipaul he “could write about any aspect of the region and visit whatever territories [he] wished” to accomplish his objectives.
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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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King Imbert’s Court

By Dr Selwyn Cudjoe
December 28, 2020

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeTrinidad and Tobago became an independent country in 1962 and a republic in 1976, in which the people, through their representatives, were supposed to control their affairs.

Such a political arrangement sounded enticing since it promised to place the country’s destiny in the hands of people they knew, rather than foreigners (white) whom they did not know.
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A matter of trust

By Raffique Shah
December 14, 2020

Raffique ShahI must admit that as I monitored what was happening in the USA, the shenanigans of outgoing President Donald Trump as he sought first to defy, then later to subvert the electoral process, I all but ignored developments here at home. It was when I saw Afra Raymond, the fiercely independent activist who is also outspoken on issues of national importance, disassemble the controversial Public Procurement Amendment Bill and call on citizens to let their voices be heard, that I switched focus.
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