Tag Archives: Raffique Shah

Benefits, not increases

By Raffique Shah
June 20, 2022

Raffique ShahIt’s not so much that in a complex new world forged and driven by technology that comprises lightening-speed communications and incredible capacities for generating, processing, storing and distributing information that trade unions have been blindsided by microchips that could signal their demise.

Indeed, as my comrades make their way to Fyzabad today for the march and rally, they should feel proud to be part of an organisation that, during its 85-year history in Trinidad and Tobago, has, pound-for-pound, contributed more than any other toward the upliftment of the society. For people who have never participated in or attended the annual event, shame on you. I mean no insult when I say that you will brave storms and travel to Wah-he-oh-ho where alcohol and “wining” to sweet soca music are the only items that are on the agenda.
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Blame the ‘haters’

By Raffique Shah
June 13, 2022

Raffique ShahBeing both a product and an architect of the age of love, peace and happiness, and belonging to a generation that opposed war and promoted peace, that even as I became a soldier, a highly-trained killer—we actively and successfully hounded America out of Vietnam and Cambodia, transformed colonised Africa into a battleground for liberation, and we set the world in motion such that generations marched together in countries across the world chanting, “All we are saying, is give peace a chance…’
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Wheat, soy and disease

By Raffique Shah
May 30, 2022

Raffique ShahIn my relatively short lifetime on Earth, and the even shorter time I actively focused on food production, campaigned for food security, and was a member of committees, boards, etc, that, at least on paper or intent, held out hope that here, at last, was a government or a group of influential people who recognised that we faced a critical problem, and they were prepared to take action to halt the slide into starvation, reverse the tide of widespread hunger, only to find that no action followed the lofty pronouncements.
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Whiter shade of pale

By Raffique Shah
May 23, 2022

Raffique ShahI have grown accustomed to watching a scene in front of me—teenage boys kicking what life there was in a long-expired football, others of similar age and background carrying on an animated discussion on a subject I could not determine from where I stood, and yet others glued to their communication devices, maybe “chatting” with friends, maybe conducting extensive research into issue—I don’t know.
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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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