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Raffique Shah


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Archives 2002

PNMites got to crow December 29, 2002
IT was a year that yielded nothing of tremendous significance. In politics, Patrick Manning and the PNM predictably beat the UNC to regain power, so I guess PNMites have much to crow about, having languished in limbo for some 15 years.
No quick-fixes to stem crime December 22, 2002
AS the crime wave continues with little let-up in the senseless bloodletting that has engulfed the country, many people are politicising the issue. One expects politicians, especially those in opposition, to lay blame for this madness on the government.
Bring In The Ground Troops December 15, 2002
REALLY, how could the police and National Security Minister Howard Chin Lee allow Laventille to degenerate into "killing fields" reminiscent of Pol Pot's Khymer Rouge in Cambodia?
The Fire Down Below December 08, 2002
FOR the discerning eye in those among us who lived through the tense years of the Cold War, the events in Venezuela are playing themselves out in classical State Department styling.
Tribalism The Bane Of Indo-Trinis December 01, 2002
SOME day last week I heard UNC spokesperson Carol Cuffie-Dowlath on radio gloating over what she perceived to be rumblings in the ranks of the governing PNM. She was particularly buoyed over fiery protests by residents of Embacadere, an NHA block of apartments in San Fernando.
The Speaker's Wrong November 24, 2002
HOUSE Speaker Barry Sinanan was absolutely wrong to have rejected the attempt by Opposition MP Ganga Singh to raise the issue of flooding as a matter of urgent public importance to be debated in Parliament. Sinanan sheltered behind dubious rules that require such motions to be filed with the Clerk of the House at least three days before they can be entertained.
Floods: Time To Lock Up The Lawless November 17, 2002
IT is human for us to sympathise with the hundreds of our fellow citizens who suffered losses in the recent floods that have become almost a fixture on this country's November weather calendar. In fact, most of us could even empathise with the victims, more so with motorists and commuters who are trapped on roads-turned-into-rivers.
Bas In The 'Mash Up' Mode November 10, 2002
IN the final days of campaigning during the last general elections, UNC leader Basdeo Panday revelled in rhetoric pertaining to his retirement from politics. "I always said I wanted to go at 70!" he would tell party supporters. "Now, at 69, I am.....!" He wouldn't get a chance to complete the sentence.
Flush out the jails November 03, 2002
SENATOR Dana Seetahal must have alarmed many people in the society when, during the Budget debate last week, she called on government to release from prison all convicted murderers who had served more than 16 years in jail, and who are deemed to have been rehabilitated.
Will of the leader October 27, 2002
THREE weeks is more than ample time for a political party to mourn its losses, although regaining its footing on the slippery slopes of the political landscape that is Trinidad and Tobago may take forever.
Poverty is hell October 20, 2002
OVER the next two weeks or so I expect both politicians and people to focus on the Budget. This annual parliamentary exercise that has become so routine, even predictable, I often wonder why sensible citizens bother with it.
One Helluva Proud Trini October 13, 2002
THE most telling statement made by the people of Trinidad and Tobago in last Monday's general elections was not their rejection of a corruption-tainted political party, and by extension, their message to all politicians that corruption will never again be allowed to damage the moral fabric of this country.
Merciful Monday October 06, 2002
A COUNTRY hardly emerges from 10-plus years of political trauma physically and mentally unscathed. Yet, this is precisely what most sensible citizens hope for in the aftermath of tomorrow's general elections in Trinidad and Tobago.
Post-Elections Prospects September 29, 2002
IT'S not too soon to start thinking about post-elections politics, about what would happen in different scenarios. The people of this country have experienced a kind of 'roller coaster' politics for more than a decade now, the climax of which must be having to go to the polls three times in as many years.
Bakr Will Break Bas September 22, 2002
BASDEO Panday and his UNC advisors have mistakenly resurrected the ghost of Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr and made him the central issue for the upcoming elections.
Patrick In Trouble September 15, 2002
WINSTON Dookeran, a man I hold in high regard, needs Basdeo Panday and the UNC as much as he needs a hole in his head. In fact, when I heard that he was being wooed by Panday to help the latter mend his Swiss-cheese image and caulk his sinking political ship, I thought that the old "Dooks" would have been sensible enough to steer clear of a man who has used him, abused him and spat him out like the proverbial "dry plum seed".
Sue....Or Shut Up! September 08, 2002
AS someone who has been on both sides of the "libel fence", I find it strange that ex-Prime Minister Basdeo Panday, his wife Oma, and a number of his front-rank ex-ministers, have not sued all the media houses in this country for tens, possibly hundreds, of millions of dollars.
Another 18-18 Will Trigger Racial War September 01, 2002
THE surprise at last Wednesday's abortive sitting of the House of Representatives was that so many people expressed surprise when Prime Minister Patrick Manning announced the dissolution of Parliament and a date for fresh elections.
No Sense Of National Pride August 25, 2002
ON the fortieth anniversary of our nation's independence, there are citizens of this country who have a major problem with government spending $3.8 million on a series of activities that span a forty-day period to mark the milestone.
Cry wolf, get out-foxed August 18, 2002
WHAT madman, even in a country like ours that is slowly being overwhelmed by political insanity, would want to terrorise, or worse, kill someone as harmless as Carlos John?
A Cross To Heavy To Bear August 11, 2002
EVER since Maha Sabha secretary Sat Maharaj first objected to the Trinity Cross on grounds that it was a Christian symbol that did not reflect the multi-religious nature of our society, the clash between those who insist on retaining it and others who want it removed has intensified every year.
Señor Willie, When You Come To Shoot.... August 04, 2002
IF ever Police Commissioner Hilton Guy needed a reason for not granting firearm users' licenses to businessmen carte blanche, Wilbur "Willie" Balgobin provided him with it in a most graphic manner when the ice cream magnate paraded for the media following an alleged attempted kidnapping last week.
Yes, Bas, the bull full July 28, 2002
Boy, my late father used to say, teaching me how to cope with the realities of colonialism (although, being semi-literate, he probably never saw his advice in that context), you must know how to deal with the White man.
Bim's Basement Party July 21, 2002
I COULDN'T help but hum this gem-of-a-song by Andre Tanker (for those who know this great artiste only from this year's mega-hit 'Bin Lion', or 'Sayamanda', you 'ent really know this genius) as I looked on as startling events unfolded at Sadiq Baksh's residence last Wednesday. First reports spoke of five kilogrammes of cocaine being discovered in Sadiq's water tank.
Brown Set To Rewrite Records Book July 19, 2002
DARREL Brown's 10.09 golden run in the 100 metres at the World Junior Championships in Jamaica last Wednesday night has put him atop the IAAF Juniors rankings (under-20 years) in the world for this year.
Guyana Moves To Corner Caricom Sugar Markets July 19, 2002
AS Trinidad and Tobago's sugar industry faces an uncertain future and government moves to restructure Caroni Limited, Guyana is positioning itself to become the major, if not sole, supplier of the commodity to the Eastern Caribbean.
Another School Of Thought July 07, 2002
TWO weeks ago I had cause to take the Patrick Manning Cabinet to task for its UNC-style gimmick in education-the awarding of a $1,000 annual book grant to every secondary school student in the country.
Part Time Patriots July 07, 2002
TO state that I firmly believe that Trinidad Cement Limited should remain in the hands of nationals of this country is to harp on the obvious. Every national who knows the history of the first cement plant in the Eastern Caribbean, from the days when it was owned by Britain's Portland Cement
Education a waste June 30, 2002
IF THE decision by the Basdeo Panday government to offer secondary school places to every child who sat the SEA examination was patently political and grossly stupid, Patrick Manning's decision to dole out $94 million to all those who attend secondary schools is imbecilic at best.
Labour's Elusive Dream June 23, 2002
MANY years ago, when I accepted an invitation from a group of cane farmers and political activists to lead an almost stillborn trade union, I had little idea what I was getting into.
Hindu Credit Union Wins Round One....Of Ten June 16, 2002
FOR the sake of the country and more so for members of the Hindu Credit Union, I trust that Prime Minister Patrick Manning and his bungling Junior Finance Minister and Labour Minister were not politiking when they made an about-turn and gave the HCU a clean bill of financial health.
The last chapter June 09, 2002
NOW that Steve, Brian and Ish of "I want to thank three men" fame-quote, Basdeo Panday, elections night, 1995-have been arrested and charged with corruption related offences, is anyone surprised that Panday has chosen to take a long trip abroad, ostensibly to raise funds?
When corporate raiders strike June 02, 2002
I KNOW little about Krishna Persad, the founder of Mora Ven Holdings Limited, except that for many years he has been considered one of the local experts on oil. In fact, his name first came to my attention through a newsletter-type publication he wrote.
Ethnic Cleansing At Petrotrin May 26, 2002
KELVIN Ramnath, the UNC "returnee" who claims to have been politically victimised by the new PNM-appointed Board at Petrotrin, received a 77 per cent increase in salary between 1998 and 2001.
Political Cleansing May 26, 2002
IT started back in 1986 when, after 30 years of continuous PNM rule, the NAR swept the polls and riding a tide of discontent against the only party-in-power that generations had known, the new government moved to dislodge PNMites from high positions they'd held for much too long.
Batting for vendors May 19, 2002
A FRIEND of mine who is a respected economist in the Caribbean was riding with me in my car one day, and as we proceeded up the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway, I had no idea he was noting the number of hustlers we encountered at most intersections.
Who ate the pork? May 12, 2002
THE "food-fight" between ex-Prime Minister Basdeo Panday and current PM Patrick Manning is most unbecoming of men holding such high office, and it raises questions about their suitability for the highest political appointment in the country.
Reciprocity Before 'Hassle-Free' Travel May 05, 2002
ON what basis, I asked my critic, do you want me to "condemn and attack" Prime Minister Patrick Manning "the way I used to slam (Basdeo) Panday"? It's a refrain I've grown accustomed to since last December when President Arthur Robinson named Manning Prime Minister over Panday, both men having agreed to allow the President to "select" one of them for the office.
Darkness Descends On India, Pakistan April 28, 2002
"WHEREVER there are Muslims, they do not want to live with others. Instead of living peacefully, they want to propagate their religion by creating terror in the minds of others."
From Holocaust To Genocide April 21, 2002
ONE week in today's high-tech global village that is called the modern world could prove to be a long, long time. Its equivalent 30 years ago might have been a month.
The Fire Next Door April 14, 2002
THEY must have popped vintage champagne as they toasted each other at the Langley, Virginia headquarters of the CIA last Friday morning.
Inside The Outhouse April 07, 2002
THE tragedy of our times is that the politicians, and I mean close to 90 per cent of them, treat the populace with scant regard if not outright contempt, if we must judge them by their deeds, not their words.
Same sit, different day April 05, 2002
THE tragedy of our times is that the politicians, and I mean close to 90 per cent of them, treat the populace with scant regard if not outright contempt, if we must judge them by their deeds, not their words.
What's good for the Goose March 31, 2002
DURING the short period he has been the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mark Mohammed earned the respect of many people who had entertained doubts about his suitability for the office at the time he was appointed.
How to make a jail March 30, 2002
THE telephone call came through early last Sunday morning, which was bad enough, given that most normal human beings reserve Sundays for sleeping late, which is what I was enjoying until I was shaken from my slumber.
Humphrey's Arch No Solution To Traffic Woes March 24, 2002
I UNDERSTAND the plight of motorists who must drive to the city of Port of Spain on a daily basis, either to conduct business or to work. On occasion, I, too, have had to endure the horror of crawling into the city from South early on mornings.
Dollar flow March 22, 2002
AT last! Im bowled over by a Pentecostal preacher who is honest to the extent that I, an avowed agnostic, am prepared to sing hosannas to him. Really, how could anyone accuse an American televangelist named Creflo A Dollar of being your run-of-the-mill, double-dealing, dishonest preacher?
A Few Not-So-Good Men March 17, 2002
ALL it takes for evil to triumph over good in any country is for decent people to remain silent as wicked men (or women) are allowed free rein. The danger is compounded when a few seemingly good men join forces with the evil, wittingly or unwittingly, to enable latter to enhance their stature, to give legitimacy to dubious causes.
Lifes a Biche March 15, 2002
PITY the poor people from the village of Biche. These people have had a rough time for more than half-a-century, having faced beasts in human form, the stigma of the 'Ganja City', and the concomitant police harassment that goes with that title.
Mission for Manning March 10, 2002
FEW people rank Patrick Manning as their favourite politician. In all the polls conducted over the past 15 years or so, when respondents were asked who they favoured to be Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Manning's ranking was second at best, and sometimes lower than that
Beep! beep! Where are the jeeps? March 03, 2002
NEW Works and Transport Minister Arnold Piggott is being asked to probe the assignment of four Mitsubishi Pajero vehicles purchased by his ministry last September at a cost of $865,000.
'Padders' Deadlier Than Robbers March 03, 2002
SO Sadiq Baksh believes that the police were being too harsh when they handcuffed his niece and three other women charged with elections-related offences! Well, welcome to the real world of crime, Trinidad-style policing, and the proverbial wages of sin, Mr Baksh.
What To Do With $20 Billion? February 27, 2002
IMAGINE if you would, government revenues leaping from the $13.8 billion realised in the year 2000, to somewhere in the vicinity of $20 billion a year in the next three-to-five years. That is not wishful thinking on the part of greedy politicians.
Make parents pay too February 24, 2002
PRIME Minister Patrick Manning must know by now that his meetings with UNC leader Basdeo Panday in a bid to resolve the electoral crisis are an exercise in futility. Panday will never agree to any reasonable solution to the impasse.
Crime And Punishment February 17, 2002
FOR the umpteenth time in as many years, the seemingly intractable problem of runaway crime has bludgeoned its way to the top of the national agenda. A spate of murders-almost one a day-as well as increasing incidents of serious crimes and a virtual orgy of violence over the Carnival.
Anatomy Of Crisis In The Sugar Industry February 16, 2002
THE genesis of the current crisis in the sugar industry lies in the inability-or better still, lack of resolve-of successive governments to take decisive action to turn Caroni Limited's fortunes around, or shut down the industry.
The bottom line in Carnival February 10, 2002
IF anything, it should have happened last year when, in the run-up to Carnival, I was struck down by a pack of "pot hounds" (who let the dogs out?), suffered five fractured ribs, and was forced to miss out on most pre-Carnival activities.
Half truth and lies February 03, 2002
Some 40 years ago, the then prime minister, Dr Eric Williams, introduced it as a means of stemming the tide of violence among the urban unemployed. Since then, no government has had the guts, far less the vision, to either eliminate it, or to transform it.
Wastage, Politiking, put Caroni In $$ Dilemma January 27, 2002
FORGIVE me if I take this as a personal insult to both my intelligence and integrity, but I refuse to allow the Board of Directors of Caroni Limited and the ex-UNC government to sully the characters of 15,000 sugar workers and cane farmers.
John must be joking January 20, 2002
WHEN, last week, EBC commissioner and Chamber of Commerce president Raoul John, summoned a media conference to speak about the alleged negative impact the current political impasse is having on our business and investment climate, I muttered to myself: 'Lord, like dey send him for we!"
Its our fault January 13, 2002
THE political dilemma that we find ourselves in today has nothing to do with newly appointed Prime Minister Patrick Manning. In fact, even ex-Prime Minister Basdeo Panday, for all his faults, is not to blame.
Perks Keep The Pandays In Denial January 06, 2002
Imagine if you would, the following. President Arthur Robinson, faced with the 18-18 results in the last elections, and without consulting anyone, exercises his judgement in accordance with the Constitution and names the incumbent Basdeo Panday as the new Prime Minister.


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