Tag Archives: Raffique Shah

EBC lessons for XYZs

By Raffique Shah
April 08, 2024

Raffique ShahI felt like a fool as I walked out of the offices of the Elections and Boundaries Commission after what turned out to be a two-hour education on polling divisions.

Readers may wonder why I spent so long on such a narrow topic. Well, Mr Whatever-his-name-was had decided to teach me a huge lesson in limited time. The year was 1976. It was a general election year and I had gone to the EBC’s offices at the invitation of the gentleman who was said to be very knowledgeable on everything on elections.
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Maccoes, not spies

By Raffique Shah
April 02, 2024

Raffique ShahEvery time I watch or listen to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley deliver an address or a contribution to some pre-election forum, I sigh, shake my head, and think: what wasted words.

I have watched Dr Rowley develop over the past 25 years or so, from a bar-room brawler poli­tician to a formidable spokesperson who has earned his place as the leader of his party. He struck me as being bright when after joining Patrick Manning in opposition in the ’90s he went on to become a frontline speaker who helped resurrect the party.
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Rein in the tax-dodgers

By Raffique Shah
March 18, 2024

Raffique ShahNot long ago, after a few years of trying to recover a relatively small sum of pension that government owed me, I concluded that the public service will never change in its attitude towards work and servicing the population that pays them.

Worse, I think I realised then there are people in the public service who use their positions against citizens who are entitled to hold political allegiance, but mostly citizens could not be bothered with such trivial distractions.
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Election bell ringing

By Raffique Shah
March 12, 2024

Raffique ShahOnly a fool, a fanatical partisan politician, or an academic seeking to enter the profession of predicting election results would venture to predict the results of the next Trinidad and Tobago general election, due sometime over the next year or so. I have watched with interest how incumbent prime minister Dr Keith Rowley gave his first signal, when at one of his party’s meetings last week he spent some minutes on the topic and declared the election will be “the most serious you have ever taken part in”. I found that statement intriguing: every election is important.
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D’Prive who was a King

By Raffique Shah
March 05, 2024

Raffique ShahWhen I was informed last week of the passing of the man known universally as D’Prive—ex-Private Winston Nurse—I went into an introspective mode for just about a minute, and then my mind drifted to The King. Not Charlo or any other monarch. This king is the lead character in the author James Clavell’s novel, King Rat.

D’Prive and I had shared a private joke over my observation that he shared similarities with Corporal King, the main character in this epic novel set in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in Singapore. King Rat was one of Clavell’s most colourful creations. He—not the generals and other high-ranked personnel, some of whom were of royal stock, and all of whom were of the officer caste—called the shots in almost every way, the exception being that he could not leave.
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They stole the soul of the nation

By Raffique Shah
February 26, 2024

Raffique ShahMany of my readers who know of my health challenges, who have noted my not-infrequent absence from this space, added the proverbial two-and-two together and came up with 22. Wrong answer. Watching each other with a strong element of conspiracy my readers worked feverishly (they thought they were on a timeline!).

They engaged in conversations aplenty. My spies reported that further discussions held in camera resulted in innovative journalism, but like all who have followed my chequered careers in my near-80 years on earth, they quickly resolved their differences, demanded communication time with me, and… well, here is the fruit of the first such exploration.
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Machel resurrects the old

By Raffique Shah
February 19, 2024

Raffique ShahIt took Machel Montano 40 of his 49 years to creatively and graphically make an emphatic statement on this senseless commess that surrounds calypso and soca. I am still not sure however that his contention—that soca is the soul of calypso—is correct, but he laid down the gauntlet for anyone who wishes to argue otherwise. I have never entered the debate before. Not when it raged in the 1970s with flamboyant stage performances by artistes like SuperBlue, Maestro, Ras Shorty I and the like.
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When music ignites passion

By Raffique Shah
February 13, 2024

Raffique ShahI can see it clearly today as I did back then 70-odd years ago. My brain at eight years young focused on the sweet melody that came from the one steelband that passed through Freeport Junction. By 6 a.m. when the junction came alive with about 800 people of varying races, colours and cultures, swaying, jumping and shouting loudly to the sounds of Lord Blakie’s “Steelband Clash”, I stood there in awe of what I was witnessing.
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Parkinson’s patients mission

By Raffique Shah
January 23, 2024

Raffique ShahEleven years ago, when I first reported that I was diagnosed by several doctors with Parkinson’s disease, I thought I knew then much about this neurodegenerative condition for which there was no cure. Back then, the only persons I knew who had PD were actor Michael J Fox, my boxing idol Muhammad Ali, and my political guru of sorts, CLR James.
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