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Archives 2018


Bring on an anti-corruption court November 7, 2018
Until scores of corrupt politicians, public officials and thieving contractors in this country are jailed for pillaging the public purse, and are seen wearing "prison blues" so that the population is convinced that justice is evenly dispensed, the lawlessness that runs rife in the society will ravage its body politic like an invasive cancer.
Flushing the prisons' excrement October 24, 2018
One newspaper report put the tally of prisons officers murdered in the past 25 years at 22. Another stated that 16 were killed in 15 years. However we look at it, one can understand the outrage of those who chose to be at the vortex of the crime whirlwind that wreaks destruction across this country at being targeted by criminals, marked for death in a manner of speaking.
Reduce road traffic, improve productivity, economy October 18, 2018
Contrary to my assertion in last week's column that most motorists and commuters do not care about the suffering they endure in daily traffic congestions, responses to the article suggest otherwise.
Ah bus ah cuss on the PNM October 10, 2018
It's a huge problem that adversely affects more than half of the population every day, costs the country billions of dollars a year in lost production, adds substantially to our mental and physical health bills-yet no government has had the testicular fortitude to confront it head-on, thus improving the quality and length of our lives.
Budget: capture every crook and dodger October 2, 2018
I am writing this column before the Minister of Finance delivers his 2018-2019 Budget, and no, Colm Imbert and I are not friends, so I can't call him on the phone and ask for a few tips on some of the measures he proposes to introduce to restrain the population from open rebellion, especially after his boss, the Prime Minister, declared last week that he will put the ruling People's National Movement on a general election footing from early next year.
We are not beggars September 26, 2018
Kamla Persad-Bissessar's statement that a possible solution to Petrotrin's problem might be to import crude oil from Guyana was uninformed-and here I'm being charitable to the Opposition Leader. But nothing she said warranted the barrage of insults hurled at Trinidad and Tobago in a response by one Robert Persaud, who is described as being a former Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment in Guyana.
Enter Gary Griffith: Act One September 19, 2018
Gary Griffith couldn't have scripted a better opening act for his entry onto the national stage as the new Commissioner of Police, even if he were the Bard of Cascade or whatever suburb he lives in or comes from.
Day of work and rejection September 12, 2018
I was not surprised when the trade unions' call for the workers of the country to stay at home and observe a day of "rest and reflection" last Friday failed miserably.
Fly flag at half-mast September 12, 2018
Raffique ShahIf I'd had a national flag that I hoisted on important occasions, I would have been sorely tempted to fly it at half-mast on Independence Day last Friday.
Recognising the writing, not the writer August 29, 2018
During my only visit to India, which I made in 1983, I found myself subconsciously looking everywhere for human faeces.
Hinds should have stood his ground August 22, 2018
Fitzgerald Hinds made several fundamental errors in judgment that could have turned fatal when he ventured into the flooded Beetham Gardens last week Monday.
Addressing income inequality August 14, 2018
Last week, when I wrote about the plight of the "working poor" in this country and the need for all interest-groups to address what is clearly a huge socio-economic problem, I was unaware that the issue had attracted international attention and there is actually an organisation based in Paris, France, that, since 2011, has focussed on what they have designated "income inequality".
Plight of the working poor August 8, 2018
Whereas the poor in the society are very visible, tens of thousands of adults who can best be described as the "working poor" remain largely invisible, barely surviving the purgatory-like existence the majority of them are condemned to live in for their life spans.
Crying over Caroni's evaporated aged rums August 2, 2018
Sometimes when you live long enough, you get around to enjoying the proverbial "last laugh", or, in this case, the "last cry", depending on your perspective.
Looking for a commissioner or a "Bobolee"? July 25, 2018
Sometimes when you live long enough, you get around to enjoying the proverbial "last laugh", or, in this case, the "last cry", depending on your perspective.
Petrotrin: all of them must go! July 18, 2018
Because of the interest generated by my column last week on State-owned Petrotrin and the fact that the country has awakened to a possible disaster at our doorstep in the fate of the struggling oil giant, I thought I should return to add a few more salient points to the national discussion that will likely determine its future.
Petrotrin: radical surgery...or die July 12, 2018
I never thought I'd one day write a column that says what I'm about to. But as someone who has always put country before personal or ideological interests regardless of the fire I faced, I feel compelled to endorse calls for a radical restructuring of State-owned oil company Petrotrin.
Frankie, don't mess with us July 7, 2018
You'd think with all the entertainment from and excitement over World Cup football in Russia, we'd be spared the drudgery of everyday crime, inexcusable lawlessness and political bacchanal at least for one month.
The housing conundrum June 28, 2018
At two ends of the nation's housing spectrum there are seemingly intractable problems that defy solutions unless the population is prepared to change the cultural mores that have contributed to us facing this conundrum.
I cry for the Fyzabad I knew June 21, 2018
It was on this historic day 45 years ago that I started a new chapter in my life-my involvement in the trade union fraternity, and more specifically, being part of the thousands who made the annual pilgrimage to Fyzabad to pay tribute to pioneers of the labour movement, more specifically Tubal Uriah Butler. From June 19, 1973 until I called halt to marching with my comrades in 2009, I never missed a Labour Day celebration in Fyzabad.
Valuation Division off on wrong foot June 15, 2018
Oftentimes, civic and professional organisations that stay aloof of the political mud-wrestling that has long been the dominant feature of our parliamentary system, provide citizens with greater clarity on legislation that impact our lives than our warring politicians do.
Go after State lands thieves June 7, 2018
I was about to write a column on my concerns with the Valuation Division of the Ministry of Finance, which plays a critical role in the implementation of the new Property Tax, when I read the lead story in the Sunday Express that pertained to a number of "hanky-panky" deals involving the distribution of State lands by officials of the Division of State Lands, which falls under the Ministry of Agriculture.
Sat still stirring religious intolerance May 31, 2018
Sat Maharaj can manufacture a controversy in the calmest situation. He knows that the fundamental rule for staying alive in public life, and more importantly looking lively even though you may be half-dead is to get embroiled in "kuchoor", as Indians would say, and do the most outrageous things to command media attention.
Campaign financing: laws will hardly help May 24, 2018
It was perhaps an indicator of just how inured this society is to corruption that, except for an Express editorial, no one has commented on Justice Frank Seepersad's scathing but incisive remarks in his ruling against Jack Warner in a $1.5 million lawsuit that reeked of political machinations.
Harness the best cocoa in the world May 16, 2018
Sometimes it pays to stay aloof of the noise that tends to pollute discussions on issues as important as the state of the national economy and efforts to resuscitate it.
Police Service a disaster zone May 8, 2018
The Sunday Express described it as a "disaster week" for the Police Service. If I were the editor, I would have headlined the editorial "Police Service a disaster zone".
We must manage migration May 1, 2018
Sometime in or around 1990, a large number of mostly Indo-Trinidadians, variously estimated at between 10,000 and 15,000, fled this country for Canada, and successfully exploited that country's liberal immigration laws pertaining to refugee status and asylum, claiming political or racial persecution in Trinidad and Tobago.
Give Tobago full independence April 25, 2018
I've had it up to here (Shah motions his right palm one inch above his five-foot, six-and-a-half-inches-frame) with the cantankerous complainers from the island of Tobago who, seemingly every day, appear on multiple media forums to cuss Trinidadians in general, and the Government in particular, for failing to provide them with heavily subsidised services, be it ferry or air transport, medical or education facilities.
Gold...at what price? April 18, 2018
Understandably, the nation celebrated the two gold and one silver medals Trinidad & Tobago won at the Commonwealth Games staged in The Gold Coast, Australia, over the past two weeks.
Slaves to technology April 11, 2018
At the recent launch of its newest smart-phone, Samsung's sales manager for Latin America and the Caribbean, Terry Weech, was asked what was the best feature of the Galaxy S9.
Remembering Cheddi Jagan April 4, 2018
He was the most sincere, humble, decent political leader I've known, Of course, mere mention of sincerity, humility and decency as being the foremost character traits of any politician, especially when he was the leader of a main party in any country, axiomatically infer that he was also a failure if success is measured by winning elections and holding on to power.
Reformation before revolution March 29, 2018
I was writing last week's column when Madam Justice Paula-Mae Weekes's inauguration as President of the Republic was underway at the Queen's Park Savannah, so I missed out on most of the pomp and pageantry.
Too little, too late? March 23, 2018
It may well be a case of too little, too late. It might even be a classic case of trying to set right an historical economic wrong when the oil barrel is about to run dry.
Sewage more than water March 14, 2018
The last time the Regulated Industries Commission (RIC) awarded increases in water rates to the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) was in 1993. The RIC used data from the year 1989 to determine the increases.
Realistic rates hikes for T&TEC March 7, 2018
As the nation grapples with two seemingly intractable problems, crime and the economy, we pay little or no attention to two critical issues that are bound to generate a furore sometime soonincreases in water and electricity rates.
No guns in our schools February 27, 2018
While I empathise with the trainee teacher who was robbed at gunpoint on her school's compound last Wednesday morningI suffered a similar fate at my home back in 2002I do not understand why people are shocked by the brazen, early morning robbery.
Toco port: let PM put his money where his mouth is February 21, 2018
As Government wrestles with seemingly intractable problems that bedevil the Trinidad-Tobago sea-bridge, and with the public's focus riveted on which ferry might be operational on any given day and how many passengers or vehicles are left stranded at either port, the population could be easily blindsided to a looming disaster-in-the-making, the Prime Minister's pet project-a port/ferry terminal in Toco, and a new main road from Valencia to Toco.
Chalkdust, calypso must change or die February 16, 2018
Dear Chalkie,
I rarely respond to critics of views I express in my column, unless, like you, I hold them in high regard. Just as I enjoy the freedom to criticise public figures within the bounds of decency, I respect others' right to respond to my opinions when we disagree, or even when they distort facts and resort to abuse.
Mad, mad Trinidad February 13, 2018
When opposition and government parliamentarians jointly pursue any issue that seems to be of national importance, I become very suspicious. Recently, when they did in the instances of the passing of former President Max Richards and election of Justice Paula Mae Weekes to the presidency, I expressed my fears in this space.
Death of calypso tents January 30, 2018
They looked pathetic, three of the leading calypsonians in the country-Chalkdust, Sugar Aloes and Pink Panther-as they begged the Government for a "mere half-a-million-dollars" to operate the Calypso Revue tent over the three-week Carnival season.
Bad omen for new President January 24, 2018
The passing of former President Max Richards, coinciding as it did with the unanimous vote by parliamentarians to elect retired Justice Paula Mae Weekes as the first female and new President of the Republic, seems to have triggered a measure of hope among some citizens that the nation can be rescued from its downhill slide by the eminence of the Head of State.
Note to economic planners: put needs before greed Jan 17, 2018
The debate on how the country extricates itself from its energy dependency, commodities that, up to a few years ago, contributed the bulk of a healthy gross domestic product (GDP) that stood at approximately TT $150 billion, and 80 percent of foreign exchange earnings, has been as old as when the first oil boom of 1973 turned into a bust less than a decade later.