Category Archives: Politics

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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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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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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‘PH’ drivers a necessary nuisance

By Raffique Shah
December 28, 2020

Raffique ShahFor the umpteenth time in past three or more decades, many people in this country that is never short of controversies, engage in sterile debate over an issue that might send people in other countries where there are real problems, into stitches of laughter. What is the hot topic today? “PH drivers”! Pulling bulls. P-H-who? Pulling what?
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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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It’s a topsy-turvy world

By Raffique Shah
December 06, 2020
Posted: December 08, 2020

Raffique ShahThe ethnic mix of the Venezuelan population—51 percent are categorised as Mestizo (blend of White/indigenous/Afro), 41 percent European/Middle East /Whites)—ensures that those who are flocking Trinidad more than Tobago are almost exclusively from the first mix. They are the equivalents of the “Reds” in our population, hence they are widely acceptable, and accepted, to Trinis on both sides of our ethnic divide, as well as the “Douglars” in-between.
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The racial ghosts of the past

By Dr Selwyn Cudjoe
November 02, 2020

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI place myself in the category “too scared to believe it even though I wish for a positive outcome”.

I refer to Tuesday’s US presidential election and what the polls wish us to believe. In spite of what the polls say about Joe Biden’s lead, I can’t get over the 2016 presidential election where Hillary Clinton was supposed to make mincemeat out of Donald Trump.
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Cocoa, Cassava to the rescue

By Raffique Shah
October 13, 2020

Raffique ShahFor the first time in many years, food security and food production got some attention by a government in a budget presentation. This happened only because the Covid-19 crisis exposed the country’s vulnerability, its dependence on imports for almost everything we consume, especially food for basic sustenance. For decades, voices in the wilderness have cried out for the powers-that-be and consumers to understand the plight of a nation that was not producing much of its food, how it could be driven to its knees in the face of some global crisis. We didn’t think of a pandemic or plague then. We thought of war. But Covid-19 altered everything so fundamentally, we must be thankful to it as much as we are fearful of its deadly consequences.
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An accidental MP

By Raffique Shah
September 29, 2020

Raffique ShahWhen I look back at it, my life that is, the many sharp, unpredictable turns I made that often intersected with the history of my country, I cannot help but feel fated to its destiny, inextricably linked to its history.

I ruminated on these occurrences over the past few days as the nation marked Republic Day, the 44th edition of what was a giant constitutional leap back in 1976. Interestingly, then, as this year, it was marked without the pomp and ceremony usually associated with such events. As I recall it, there was the swearing in of newly-elected members of the House of Representatives as well as senators, and maybe an address by Sir Ellis Clarke (I cannot remember), the first President of the Republic.
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Thinking Race/Understanding Color

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 21, 2020

“Nobody can be properly termed educated who knows little or nothing of the history of his own race and of his country.”

—Frederick Alexander Durham, The Lone-Star of Liberia.

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIn his epoch-breaking work Capitalism and Slavery, Eric Williams noted that racism is a product of slavery. “The reason,” he says “was economic, not racial; it had to do not with the color of the labor, but the cheapness of the labor.” On the other hand, in White Over Black, Winthrop Jordan argued that racism predated slavery, citing three distinct prejudices that conditioned the English responses to Africans: our blackness, which signified filth, sin and evil; being uncivilized; and our not being Christian.
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