Tag Archives: Raffique Shah

Full force for merchants of death

By Raffique Shah
May 16, 2022

Raffique ShahIt was the lure of the rifle that probably made up my mind for me. I enlisted in the Trinidad and Tobago Cadet Corps established at Presentation College, Chaguanas, in 1959. I was all of 13 years old, and I was eager to get on with “the gun”. It would take several months’ training—drills, map reading, more drills—before we eager beavers were allowed to touch the weapon.
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Enter the jesters

By Raffique Shah
May 09, 2022

Raffique ShahTry as you might have done to ignore the launch of three political parties in tiny Trini­dad and Tobago over the past few weeks, you really had to be a recluse or monk to escape the noise emanating from the war zones that politicians occupy.

While on my own business, as Trinis would say, seeking information online on some issues pertaining to trade, seemingly out of nowhere popped the Duke of Tobago (and Trinidad), Watson his given name, oozing bombast as he spoke about his party, the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP), coming to Trinidad on a rescue mission. The Duke was addressing his soon-to-be subjects, assuring them his party was the only hope to save the country from collapse.
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Bad teachers, bad parents

By Raffique Shah
May 02, 2022

Raffique ShahGood news is hard to come by nowadays. So young journalists, spawned on a diet of blood, gore, corruption, crime, suffering and worse, have become nihilists without knowing what the word means. And readers of conventional newspapers and electronic media audiences, especially the misnamed “social media”, will not recognise a decent story if it hits them between the eyes, so immersed are they in the lies, half-truths and raw sewage that pass for information on the 5G superhighway that rules our lives, imprisons our minds with such stealth, we degenerate into clones, drones and assorted mindless, brainless creatures to the extent that when we look into the mirror, we see nothing, because there is nothing to see.
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The screw and screwdriver

By Raffique Shah
April 25, 2022

Raffique ShahBy late last Tuesday eve­ning, the universe seemed to me to have remained intact as we have known it from creation, or more accurately, since we arrived on it—vast, mysterious, constantly moving—and the Earth did not stand still, as some politicians had hoped would happen, in a celestial display of anger by the gods against satanic price increases in auto fuels imposed by the heartless Government of Trinidad and Tobago on its people.
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In a ‘freeness’ state

By Raffique Shah
April 18, 2022

Raffique ShahIf we think this point in our history is the worst in our existence as a sovereign state, then it’s easy to blame the incumbent government for taking us there.

After all, the People’s National Movement (PNM) held power longest—35 of 44 years in the last century, 30 of those consecutively (1956-1986), and unless the party is removed from office by means other than elections—its current term expires in 2025, it will have ruled for 19 years in this quarter-century.
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Creating a failed state

By Raffique Shah
April 11, 2022

“Breathes there the man with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said¸
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne’er within him burn’d
As home his footsteps he hath turn’d
From wandering on a foreign strand!
If such there breathe, go, mark him well
For him no Minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;
Despite those titles, power, and pelf, all in self,
The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And doubly dying, shall go down,
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonour’d and unsung.”

—Sir Walter Scott (1771—1832)

Raffique ShahRarely do I use poetry in my prose, and rarer still my use of such an extensive quote to open my column. However, as I pondered the issue I want to address, and to bring it to life quite differently to readers and, hopefully, more readers and leaders in the society, those considerations guided me to one of Scotland’s great men of letters, Sir Walter Scott. He succinctly summed up the depths to which many leaders and their vocal supporters descend into and the ostracism they deserve for such sins.
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Stop the land banditry now

By Raffique Shah
April 04, 2022

Raffique ShahMy telephone mysteriously morphed into a Catholic church-type confessional after my column of last Sunday hit the streets, or given the dominance of the Internet in disseminating news, fake and real, likelier after Sunday Express’ online version was read by people who make it a point to stay ahead on the information highway.
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Sordid saga of State lands

By Raffique Shah
March 28, 2022

Raffique ShahI believe every word that the former minister of agriculture, land and fisheries, Clarence Rambharat, wrote and uttered with respect to the rampant stealing of State lands by persons high and low, and the refusal, maybe complicity, of others in authority who are empowered to do something about the multibillion-dollar racket to act, as well as his charge that senior public officials and professionals in private practice, from doctors to attorneys, are part of a mafia-like organisation whose members and agents have grown wealthy off this cancerous crime that has overwhelmed the body politic of this nation.
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Phase in rate hikes

By Raffique Shah
March 21, 2022

Raffique ShahI have not been invited by the Regulated Industries Commission or anyone in the Public Utilities Ministry to submit my thoughts on proposed rate increases for potable water, electricity and other vital services with which the Government is obligated to provide all citizens. I have heard and read of residents in certain communities who intend to oppose any rate hikes, even property tax. They claim they do not receive adequate water, hence they should not be made to pay for services undelivered. Others with political agendas shout out loudly that they will not pay any taxes or rates—period.
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Good people must speak out now

By Raffique Shah
March 14, 2022

Raffique ShahI do not know the former chairman of the Energy Chamber, Eugene Tiah. Never seen, met or spoken with him. I know only that he appears to be well respected in the energy industries by his peers, and presumably by the overlords of the downstream and petrochemicals industries, a vast, multi-billion-dollar contributor to the national economy in which the State has significant interest.
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