Tag Archives: T&T Govt

Focus on T&T, not Trump

By Raffique Shah
November 23, 2020

Raffique Shah“…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights…whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers…”

Like Samuel Johnson’s proverbial scoundrel who seeks refuge in patriotism, I fall back on the American declaration of independence, especially its “unalienable rights”, and in particular the right, nay, the civic duty it imposes on citizens, to rebel with force to remove a government that is trampling their rights.
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Cocoa, Cassava to the rescue

By Raffique Shah
October 13, 2020

Raffique ShahFor the first time in many years, food security and food production got some attention by a government in a budget presentation. This happened only because the Covid-19 crisis exposed the country’s vulnerability, its dependence on imports for almost everything we consume, especially food for basic sustenance. For decades, voices in the wilderness have cried out for the powers-that-be and consumers to understand the plight of a nation that was not producing much of its food, how it could be driven to its knees in the face of some global crisis. We didn’t think of a pandemic or plague then. We thought of war. But Covid-19 altered everything so fundamentally, we must be thankful to it as much as we are fearful of its deadly consequences.
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An accidental MP

By Raffique Shah
September 29, 2020

Raffique ShahWhen I look back at it, my life that is, the many sharp, unpredictable turns I made that often intersected with the history of my country, I cannot help but feel fated to its destiny, inextricably linked to its history.

I ruminated on these occurrences over the past few days as the nation marked Republic Day, the 44th edition of what was a giant constitutional leap back in 1976. Interestingly, then, as this year, it was marked without the pomp and ceremony usually associated with such events. As I recall it, there was the swearing in of newly-elected members of the House of Representatives as well as senators, and maybe an address by Sir Ellis Clarke (I cannot remember), the first President of the Republic.
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A Plea for Humility & Equanimity

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 28, 2020

“The work of the desireless doer can rightly be expected to be better than that of one driven by desire for the fruit.”

—The Gita According to Gandhi

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeAt the beginning of last week, a disturbing video began to circulate on social media. It shows about a dozen school children dancing while music played in the background. These children seem to be “holding and drinking what appeared to be alcoholic beverages.” In the video, a woman is heard to be saying to another adult, “Is that what you have the children doing?” (Guardian, September 25).
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Total disrespect

By Raffique Shah
September 22, 2020

Raffique ShahI do not believe that the Commissioner of Police, Captain Gary Griffith, is a foolish man. He may be egotistic, over-sensitive, loquacious, combative. But foolish? No. I make this assessment of him purely by watching him from a distance, listening to his pronouncements on people from every strata of the society whom he perceives as being his critics.

Indeed, I write this column knowing that he will brand me a notorious mutineer, a disgrace to the uniform I once wore and blah, blah, blah. I am not as sensitive as he is, so I simply shrug off such epithets as par for this columnist’s course, a reality I have lived with for many years.
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Thinking Race/Understanding Color

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 21, 2020

“Nobody can be properly termed educated who knows little or nothing of the history of his own race and of his country.”

—Frederick Alexander Durham, The Lone-Star of Liberia.

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIn his epoch-breaking work Capitalism and Slavery, Eric Williams noted that racism is a product of slavery. “The reason,” he says “was economic, not racial; it had to do not with the color of the labor, but the cheapness of the labor.” On the other hand, in White Over Black, Winthrop Jordan argued that racism predated slavery, citing three distinct prejudices that conditioned the English responses to Africans: our blackness, which signified filth, sin and evil; being uncivilized; and our not being Christian.
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Budget by everyone, for everyone

By Raffique Shah
September 15, 2020

Raffique ShahI imagine that every citizen who is conscious of the state of the country’s economy must wonder what magic Finance Minister Colm Imbert will weave when he presents his sixth consecutive Budget in a few weeks. The economy was already battered and bruised by plummeting oil and gas prices and struggling production levels when Covid-19 entered the picture and added to its grimness. The deadly virus savaged economies around the world, bringing many countries to their knees, leaving behind scenes that seemed to be apparitions of Armageddon.
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Embracing all our history

By Dr Selwyn Cudjoe
August 31, 2020

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIt is gratifying that we are looking anew at many of the institutional arrangements and practices that we have accepted blithely over the years.

Recent articles by Reginald Dumas and Marina Salandy-Brown, the SEA discussion by The UWI scholars, and Theodore Lewis’s brilliant article on the subject have been instructive. Today’s discussion, “A Time for Healing”, sponsored by The UWI Faculty of Law in collaboration with the Catholic Commission on Social Justice, promises to be an exciting affair.
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Fitzgerald Hinds: Not even aware…

Minister of Youth Development and National Services Fitzgerald Hinds receives backlash after posting this comment on facebook.

Fitzgerald Hinds“Not even aware that I was in his focus, on exiting the Massy Foodstore, I entered my vehicle. I settled in and observed a body up to my window. Closer observation revealed a perhaps 30-year old, healthy-looking, muscular man. I looked for the piper in him and could not find it. He beckoned me to talk to him. I rolled down my glass window and he delivered! “ Ah just asking for a lil $20 to buy something to eat!” I immediately reflected on a previous occasion when another young man asked me for “ah lil $100”. I have given financial and other assistance many times in greater quantity, but I refused them both! Ah doh like the idea of young, apparently fit men begging! And ah doh like it more, when they tell me hummuch dey want!”
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Race is not my compass

By Raffique Shah
August 24, 2020

Raffique ShahIt pains me to return to the issue of race and politics in Trinidad and Tobago, but since it seems impossible to dismiss its impact on not just elections, but on the body politic of the nation, I feel obliged to address it. Note well how racism reared its ugly head as we got closer to the recent general election, and it peaked in the few weeks before and after polling day.

Much like the Covid-19 super-virus, race and racism disturb the equilibrium of the country in waves, peaks and troughs, some more damaging than others. Worse, it seems there is no cure for racism, no vaccine to halt its contagious nature. And, as if these virulent strains weren’t scary enough, there is an abundance of evidence to suggest that racism is contagious, even hereditary, possibly part of the DNA of some people.
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