Category Archives: Politics

A Time for Forgiveness and Rejuvenation

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
August 10, 2020

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI have been a political activist and newspaper columnist for the past forty-five years. I have written for many newspapers including the New York Amsterdam News, the New York Tribune, the New York Times, the Boston Globe and the Baltimore Sun. I have never been subjected to as many invectives that I have received over my decision to support the UNC in this election.
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Everybody Is Somebody

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
July 28, 2020

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeThirty years ago, the Jamaat-al-Muslinmeen, under the leadership of Imam Yaskim Abu Bakr, attempted to overthrow T&T’s elected government. They failed. Yesterday, President Paula-Mae Weeks called upon the group to make an “unequivocal apology” to the people of the country for its actions” (Express).

The President noted that “the assault shook the country to its core and robbed many people of their livelihoods, dignity and peace of mind….A commission of enquiry appointed in 2010 provided some chronology of the events but, without the testimony of the principal, did not offer the full understanding that the nation and, in particular, the victims rightly deserved.”
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The Last of the Romantics

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
July 13, 2020

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI met Sophia Chote once but was enchanted her intellectual sophistication and emotional maturity of her columns. Her writing reminded me of the qualities that one found in the thinkers of the romantic movement of the nineteenth century: a belief in democracy and republicanism; an appreciation for the sublime and transcendence; and most of all, a belief in the power of imagination.
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Much ado about nothing

By Raffique Shah
July 13, 2020

Raffique ShahI don’t know why Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar thought it necessary to appeal to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to invite a team of observers from The British Commonwealth and/or CARICOM to witness the conduct of the general election that will take place on August 10. All elections in the history of independent Trinidad and Tobago have been conducted by the Elections and Boundaries Commission, a creature of the Constitution, and there was hardly an occasion on which there were allegations of irregularities. Indeed, not only is the EBC seen to be fair and fiercely independent, but it hardly ever erred in an election, and even when it did, its actions were not deemed partisan or corrupt.
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Do Black Lives Matter in Trinidad?

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
July 06, 2020

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeWhile the world has been impacted by the Black Lives Matter movement, none of the political parties of T&T has issued a statement on its relevance to black people of this country. Nor, for that matter, have they told us how they will deal with the impoverishment, unemployment, alienation and miseducation of our black youths.

Necessarily, black youths from these under resourced communities have reminded us that black lives matter and that there must be an accounting for past wrongs and present grievances. Predictably, there will be more clashes between the police and the youths of these deprived communities if things continue as they are going.
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Rowley’s date with destiny

By Raffique Shah
July 06, 2020

Raffique ShahIt is perhaps a measure of poetic justice that a People’s National Movement government is facing a rebellion by elements in the party’s core constituencies in the capital city of Port of Spain and its environs, that on the eve of an important general election when the party needs its members more than they need the party. But such are the vicissitudes of politics that test the mettle of leaders.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and National Security Minister Stuart Young have said that intelligence reports suggest that politicians outside of the PNM are fomenting the unrest. I do not doubt that. Politics is a nasty game that is governed by no rules or ethics, in which the end—power and control of the State coffers—justifies the means. Even so, the fact that competing parties can infiltrate your bastion and use your own people against you must be cause for concern.
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Brute Force, Blame and Bigotry: Police Killings in Morvant

By A. Hotep
July 05, 2020

lettersSome people in this country are intent on shifting the dialogue away from the questionable and seemingly extrajudicial killing of three men by the police in Morvant, which was captured on CCTV footage, to centering discussions on the conduct of black youths in deprived communities. The obfuscation of the issue, evident in the commentaries by leaders, and echoed by radio and online commentators, perpetuates the view that when black people in poor communities are killed and otherwise abused, it is they who are at fault. Another twist to the narrative by the police and by the government is the claim that protests against the killings are part of an organised plot to destabilise the country. This perspective serves the agenda of those who have orchestrated and/or sanctioned the use of strong-arm tactics to stifle the protests. Meanwhile, the real issues of community neglect, crime (including white colour crime) and the heavy-handed approach of the police in these mostly black communities are pushed aside.
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Protests and State Violence: Leaders Must Stop Dodging Responsibility

By Dr Tye Salandy
July 02, 2020

Dr Tye SalandyApproximately 50 years ago, mainly young people — disillusioned by the continued colonial nature of the country, the deep racism, classism and limited opportunities — made brave efforts to improve things. Instead of the then government, led by Dr Eric Williams, listening and properly engaging with these persons, the leaders of the movement were arrested and jailed, people were beaten and brutalized, and persons were hunted, shot and even killed. “Law and order” were not about the best interest of the citizens but about preserving the status quo. Fifty years later we are faced with unrests that parallel the Hosay Riots, the Camboulay Riots, the 1919 Labour riots, the 1930s Labour uprisings, and the 1970s Black Power movement. It is this eruption of discontent from those who are experiencing the depths of marginalization and brutality that has historically brought about the greatest improvements in conditions in unjust social structures. All of them were met with brutal violence by authorities, yet when history looks back, all these events were important parts of the evolution of our society. By all indications, the present government has not learned these lessons and may repeat the grave errors of the past.
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Election an illusion of power

By Raffique Shah
July 01, 2020

Raffique ShahIt’s difficult to get a good grasp of what’s happening on the ground regarding the general election, which will be held in the next three months. It seems that Covid-19, the virus that has impacted the world like nothing else in history, and fundamentally changed the way we live to the extent that we have coined virtually a new lexicon to comprehend its effects, said virus has relegated the election to a side-show, almost a non-event.
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Be Careful How You Treat Black People

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 29, 2020

“No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man, without finding the other end of it about his own neck.”

—Frederick Douglass

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeFor the past three weeks, the world’s attention has been transfixed by the racial tensions that engulfed the United States. We, in T&T may have been spared “the most vulgar displays of systemic racism” as the prime minister said but, as the old people say: “What miss yo’ ent pass yo.”

The massive resistance against the racism that engulfed the US has to do with how white people and their government treat black people on a day-to-day basis. In T&T I am not sure that our government and those in power are treating its black citizens as they should. An immediate example is how PNM’s Screening Committee treated (and is treating) Robert Le Hunte because he took “a principled stance” on an important issue.
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