Category Archives: Elections

PNM’s Political Strategy To Deny Tobago Self-Governance

By Stephen Kangal
July 25, 2021

Stephen KangalThe ill-advised, overtly hurried and premature introduction into Parliament of the two completely new Bills on June 28 last on the long-festering granting of autonomy/self-governance to Tobago prior to and without conducting the requisite inter-active consultations with the Tobago constituency of principal stakeholders by the PNM was a deliberate, deceptive, nefarious, dishonest and calculated politically -conceptualised strategy to shelve the Tobago issue.
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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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Looking Beneath the Surface

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
January 12, 2021

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeViewers around the world were struck by the Trump-inspired mob that stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday. The Boston Globe editorialized: “‘When did you form a monster so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust?’ That’s what the reviled monster asks Dr. Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelley’s classic novel, but it’s also what the angry mob of thousands who stormed the US Capitol in an insurrection on Wednesday could well ask soon-to-be-former Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and other congressional Republicans who fled the House chamber” (January 7).

The US has never dealt fully with the monsters of race and racism that is buried deep within its entrails. The white insurrectionists who invaded the Capitol feared that their positional superiority would be undermined and they would no longer control a republic they had dominated since the republic began.
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America’s shame

By Raffique Shah
January 11, 2020

Raffique ShahAs decent Americans try to come to terms with the shameful conduct of their president and his robotic army of white supremacists, dumb nationalists and sundry dissidents of multiple obscure persuasions, billions of people around the world who have suffered at the uneven, prejudiced hands of the world’s greatest power will be inclined to gloat, to celebrate its implosion.
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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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Focus on T&T, not Trump

By Raffique Shah
November 23, 2020

Raffique Shah“…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights…whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers…”

Like Samuel Johnson’s proverbial scoundrel who seeks refuge in patriotism, I fall back on the American declaration of independence, especially its “unalienable rights”, and in particular the right, nay, the civic duty it imposes on citizens, to rebel with force to remove a government that is trampling their rights.
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Beware Trumpism

By Raffique Shah
November 18, 2020

Raffique ShahDonald Trump seems prepared to plunge the United States of America into civil war if that becomes his only option as he clings to the office of President, refusing to acknowledge that he lost the presidential election to Joseph Biden. The world looks on with much foreboding as this real-life tragi-comedy plays before an audience of billions of people.

Trump refuses to recognise the official counting of votes that are presided over by state governors and their staff, many of whom belong to his Republican party. In so doing, he is showing contempt for the state institutions that he, as president, oversees. And he ignores the political and social mores of Washington that hinge on the loser graciously bowing out of office to allow for a smooth transition of power.
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Basta Trump; Welcome Biden

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
November 09, 2020

A presidency born in a lie about Barack Obama’s birthplace appeared on the edge of ending in a lie about his own faltering bid for re-election.

—Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIt’s 5:15 am on Friday morning. CNN has announced that Joe Biden has taken a lead in Ruby Red Georgia by 917 votes and many of us believe we can begin to exhale. We are about to get a president who will allow us to breathe again.

At 5:39 am, the NY Times headline announces: “Biden edges into a lead in Georgia as Nation awaits winner.” It was almost as though most of these outlets wanted to breathe a sigh of relief: “We have had enough of Trump.”
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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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