Tag Archives: Raffique Shah

Too little poetic justice

By Raffique Shah
May 10, 2021

Raffique ShahThere are times when I feel ashamed of being Trinidadian. On such occasions, I feel almost like a traitor, having to admit that some of my countrymen are bringing shame and disgrace to our otherwise proud nation.

As the Covid-19 numbers exploded last week from single-digit in­creases to 300-plus daily confirmed cases, hospital beds were occupied at dizzying rates while deaths rose from modest to uncomfortable levels, I felt personally defeated.
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Vortex of violence

By Raffique Shah
May 03, 2021

Raffique ShahBy a curious twist of fate, I was browsing through some books on Amazon when I saw a digital copy of one of the finest historical novels I’ve read, Freedom at Midnight, co-authored by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins. I couldn’t resist buying it. I would find the time to reread their excellent record of India’s (and Pakistan’s) independence in 1947.
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Of dollars and sense

By Raffique Shah
April 26, 2021

Raffique ShahI round off my intervention on the many possibilities we might find in a new post-­Covid economy by reminding readers the pandemic has hammered economies across the world, irrespective of their sizes, in ways never before seen.

Oil was rocked to unimaginably low prices. Stock markets swayed as if in stupor, major commodity prices collapsed to uneconomic levels, and the virus disrupted world production of essential industries, goods and services, leaving governments confused, powerless, defeated.
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Out with the old, in with the new

By Raffique Shah
April 19, 2021

Raffique ShahThere comes a time in the affairs of a nation—and such occurrences are rare, maybe once in a century—when events shaped by the actions of citizens or unleashed by the forces of nature create the conditions for change, sometimes radical change that otherwise would hardly be considered, far less adopted, but which, when measured by the degree of dislocation the nation faces if its leaders fail to act, may offer opportunities that guide us along a path we didn’t think existed.
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Pass the teacup

By Raffique Shah
April 12, 2021

Raffique ShahThere must be an ultra-secret super-Lotto somewhere in the universe, where only the super-wealthy and governments-by-vaps play for super-stakes—you know, jackpots paid in gazillions, in currencies-of-choice, and in cash, s’il vous plait. Really, there must be. Why else would Finance Minister Colm Imbert and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley strut around a country that looks like an abandoned steam locomotive whose era has gone, they looking cooler than the proverbial cucumber, seemingly without care or worry, while lesser mortals like your humble scribe worry to no end over the near-evaporation of foreign exchange, the unavailability of any good or service that we can sell in large enough volumes that will yield the billions of US dollars we require for our sustenance?
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Now’s not the time to misbehave

By Raffique Shah
April 05, 2021

Raffique ShahI suppose it had to come to this—an explosion of Covid-19 cases just when we thought we could see a ray of sunshine at the end of a year-long dark tunnel we’ve cautiously navigated, when the first tranche of vaccines had arrived, launching Trinidad and Tobago into the immunisation phase of the war against this deadly virus.

It’s not as if the surge in confirmed cases ambushed us. We were warned by the medical team that has thus far efficiently conducted the war against Covid-19, that should we continue to breach the simple safety practices that have worked for us, hence expose ourselves to regression, we would encounter a nasty backlash. But there are some among us who are plain “harden”, who must misbehave to look macho.
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Right, wrong, but spot on

By Raffique Shah
March 29, 2021

Raffique ShahLast week, dealing with the new vaccines that are unfolded almost daily to fight the Covid19 pandemic, I unfairly targeted the World Health Organisation and the Pan American Health Organisation as having betrayed countries like Trinidad and Tobago that have adhered to the rules of engagement, quietly awaiting their turns to the first allocations of whatever brand of the vaccine the global and regional health organisations have secured.
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Betrayed by PAHO, WHO?

By Raffique Shah
March 22, 2021

Raffique ShahIt took a global pandemic that has, in one short year, claimed 2.7 million lives, infected 123 million people in 221 countries, to expose man for what he really is—a beast in human form.

For all his posturing on being civilised, on cooperation in the battle against the Covid-19 virus through agencies such as the World Health Organisation and the United Nations, when several vaccines were finally developed, tried and approved, the wealthiest, most powerful nations simply trampled on the poor, grabbed all they could without shame, pity or any kind of emotion that is supposed to distinguish man from beast.
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A Search for Qadir

By Raffique Shah
March 15, 2021

Raffique ShahLast Sunday, I marked my 75th year on this earth. It was a milestone of sorts, but no great achievement at a time when many people go way past that number, and remain very healthy and fit into their 80s, all praise to them.

My birthday was marred by the mal-effects of crippling, Parkinson’s Disease that I’ve had to cope with since I was 66. Worse than that, the day before, my extended family was struck numb by news that one of my nephews, Qadir, had drowned off Paria bay, and his body had not been recovered. Sadness overwhelmed us, as it always does when someone as young as he was, thirty, and full of life, had met such an abrupt end to what was a promising life.
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Remove these shackles

By Raffique Shah
March 08, 2021

Raffique ShahIf a brush with death is said to prompt man to reflect more deeply on life, then the Covid-19 pandemic that swooped down on mankind last year, cutting a path of death and destruction such as we had never seen in our lifetime, has also triggered deep thinking on the social contracts that exist among governments and the governed, on how societies are structured to sustain inequality, and on altering such arrangements, replacing them with more equitable alternatives.
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