Tag Archives: T&T Govt

Protests and State Violence: Leaders Must Stop Dodging Responsibility

By Dr Tye Salandy
July 02, 2020

Dr Tye SalandyApproximately 50 years ago, mainly young people — disillusioned by the continued colonial nature of the country, the deep racism, classism and limited opportunities — made brave efforts to improve things. Instead of the then government, led by Dr Eric Williams, listening and properly engaging with these persons, the leaders of the movement were arrested and jailed, people were beaten and brutalized, and persons were hunted, shot and even killed. “Law and order” were not about the best interest of the citizens but about preserving the status quo. Fifty years later we are faced with unrests that parallel the Hosay Riots, the Camboulay Riots, the 1919 Labour riots, the 1930s Labour uprisings, and the 1970s Black Power movement. It is this eruption of discontent from those who are experiencing the depths of marginalization and brutality that has historically brought about the greatest improvements in conditions in unjust social structures. All of them were met with brutal violence by authorities, yet when history looks back, all these events were important parts of the evolution of our society. By all indications, the present government has not learned these lessons and may repeat the grave errors of the past.
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Election an illusion of power

By Raffique Shah
July 01, 2020

Raffique ShahIt’s difficult to get a good grasp of what’s happening on the ground regarding the general election, which will be held in the next three months. It seems that Covid-19, the virus that has impacted the world like nothing else in history, and fundamentally changed the way we live to the extent that we have coined virtually a new lexicon to comprehend its effects, said virus has relegated the election to a side-show, almost a non-event.
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Be Careful How You Treat Black People

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 29, 2020

“No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man, without finding the other end of it about his own neck.”

—Frederick Douglass

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeFor the past three weeks, the world’s attention has been transfixed by the racial tensions that engulfed the United States. We, in T&T may have been spared “the most vulgar displays of systemic racism” as the prime minister said but, as the old people say: “What miss yo’ ent pass yo.”

The massive resistance against the racism that engulfed the US has to do with how white people and their government treat black people on a day-to-day basis. In T&T I am not sure that our government and those in power are treating its black citizens as they should. An immediate example is how PNM’s Screening Committee treated (and is treating) Robert Le Hunte because he took “a principled stance” on an important issue.
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The leader must rally the masses

By Raffique Shah
June 16, 2020

Raffique ShahFinance Minister Colm Imbert, and by extension the Keith Rowley-led Government of Trinidad and Tobago, missed out on an opportunity to rise above the noise that tends to drown out sensible discussions about serious issues when Imbert presented the mid-year review of the fiscal 2020 Budget last Friday. Coming as it did during the aftershocks of the first wave of the Corvid-19 pandemic, the review necessarily highlighted the impact this global health crisis has had on the national economy, and what is required of all citizens to see us emerge stronger from it, whenever that may be.
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Think small, score big

By Raffique Shah
June 03, 2020

Raffique ShahMemo #3 to Post-COVID-19 Recovery Team: Friends, Trinis, countrymen (and women). I feel certain that by now you will have submitted preliminary recommendations to the Government. I imagine the most urgent challenge is the state of the country’s finances, how best to manage our dwindling resources and severely reduced revenues, balancing these with servicing our huge debt—well over TT $100 billion—repayments being some $4 billion per annum.
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Do not squander this opportunity

By Raffique Shah
May 26, 2020

Raffique ShahIf there is substance to the saying that in every crisis there are opportunities, then the COVID-19 pandemic has delivered spectacularly, if only we the inhabitants of the twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago would recognise them for what they are, grab them, and infuse them into the post-pandemic recovery narrative and action plans, just so we understand they may never be on offer again.
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The Lie…

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 25, 2020

PART 2

“All that is needed on the part of the Negro to attain his rightful place [in this society] is to embark on a wild binge of destruction and plunder.”

—Trevor Sudama

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeAbout five years ago several Eric Williams scholars were invited to investigate Eric Williams’s work at Oxford University before continuing on to Senate House, London. Brinsley Samaroo, one of the invited scholars, gave an illuminating lecture on Williams after which I asked him whether Williams had called Indo-Trinidadians, rather than a segment of members of the Democratic Labor Party, “a recalcitrant hostile minority.” His answer was an emphatic “No. He did not.”
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Hypocrites with selective amnesia

By Raffique Shah
May 19, 2020

Raffique ShahSo what if Trinidad and Tobago sells a shipment of gasoline to Venezuela? Why must we citizens be concerned with or ashamed of such sale, once we are paid fairly and promptly? Why do members of the government employ fusillades of terminological inexactitudes in a bid to evade telling the truth about the transaction, a truth that might free their consciences? Why are leading members of the opposition United National Congress so consumed by the lust for power, they will stoop to any level, even kneel behind the uncertified lunatic in the Oval Office, just to sip the elixir of office?
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Young’s tragic blunder

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 18, 2020

If once you forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem.

—Abraham Lincoln

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI thought the expeditious manner in which the Prime Minister and his party handled the coronavirus pandemic rescued their fortunes and gave their supporters reason to believe the PNM would focus on the needs of ordinary people, albeit by circumstances rather than by choice.

Then the unravelling came. Without even being pushed, the Minister of National Security uttered the most unbelievable statements of his career and, by extension, the Government in which he serves. Inexplicably, he continues to do so in the face of evidence to the contrary.
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Compassion and consumer power

By Raffique Shah
May 12, 2020

Raffique ShahBased on comments I’ve heard or read in the media on the likely economic realities that will confront us when Government eases the COVID-19 “lockdown”, I am worried about the future of Trinidad and Tobago. No one disputes that the country faces enormous problems, what with the near-collapse of the oil and gas sectors, the closure of several petrochemical plants in Point Lisas, and the absence of other export-driven industries that could earn substantial foreign exchange.
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