Tag Archives: Raffique Shah

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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We know why we are in this mess

By Raffique Shah
March 07, 2022

Raffique ShahThis country is losing large numbers of young people at an alarming rate. No one seems to be intrigued with, or concerned about, their disappearance from their communities and school systems. Yet we hear and see thousands of undocumented citizens make cameo appearances at venues in the forests that are never far from us, and then they simply vanish again, mostly to reappear when next some government agency is distributing food, clothing, grants, etc—and then they’re gone.

I have heard some public officers allude to this bizarre phenomenon that seems completely out of character with the simplicity of our living styles (distinct from our lifestyles), but nothing further is ever heard about them… unless or until something bizarre occurs.
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Putin—casualty of his own war

By Raffique Shah
February 28, 2022

Raffique ShahI told everybody who asked my opinion on the likelihood of war, of Vladimir Putin’s massive military force positioned close to Russia’s boundaries with Ukraine storming into the latter’s territory in a bid to re-draw the maps for that part of the world, that was unlikely.

Speaking more from my heart than my head, I suppose, I posited that “nobody wants a war”—not now, not ever. Wars are costly, bloody affairs that wipe out of existence entire generations of mostly young people.
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Corruption capital

By Raffique Shah
February 21, 2022

Raffique ShahI am convinced that Trinidad and Tobago is the most corrupt country in the world. There is hardly a person who has not witnessed “wid mih own eyes”, as Trinis would say, or otherwise gained knowledge of, at least one act of corruption in his lifetime, and likelier several such illegal transactions. He or she will have said nothing about it by way of reporting the illegal act to anyone with the authority to act on it.
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Eat smart, beat inflation

By Raffique Shah
February 14, 2022

Raffique ShahMy final focus on food production for now, on cutting back on imports which stand at approximately US$1 billion per year, adds nothing new, nothing that I, and others more qualified than I, have not said before.

In fact, there is hardly anything I can add to this component of the economy since the challenges remain the same they were decades ago, and governments’ responses, likewise, are like a stuck wax record in a digital player—jarring, unintelligible noises that are offensive to the trained ear.
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