Category Archives: Elections

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.
Continue reading Looking Beneath the Surface

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.
Continue reading America’s shame

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.
Continue reading A More Reflective Society

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.
Continue reading Focus on T&T, not Trump

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.
Continue reading Beware Trumpism

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.”
Continue reading Basta Trump; Welcome Biden

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.
Continue reading Race is not my compass

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.”
Continue reading Counting our blessings

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.
Continue reading T&T’s new 21-member Cabinet

Destroying democracy

By Raffique Shah
August 17, 2020

Raffique ShahOne of these not-so-good days, some fool will vent his or her racial spleen on the anti-social media or in some public place once too often in a rant that has gone too far; another fool will feel sufficiently aggrieved to react with more than mere racial epithets, possibly summoning idle but willing hands to take up cutlasses and defend the domain of the tribe; and the tribal leaders, coming from a manure-fed lineage that nurtured the fires of hatred for generations, would, by word or deed, ignite an eruption that will wreck what passes for civilisation in Trinidad, not necessarily Tobago, sending this island back into a future filled with hatred, bile, sewage and all things negative. A potential paradise will never be allowed to bloom. It will instead be strangled by the patricidal savages who inhabit the wasteland.
Continue reading Destroying democracy