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Archives 2011

Gifts that last a lifetime Dec 25, 2011
A Christmas Day column could be a writers dream, or his worst nightmare. Many among those who revel in the spirit of the season would reason that its the best platform from which to extend greetings to a large number of people, thanks to the wide readership that the Sunday Express commands.
Degeneration now Dec 18, 2011
You would think that two years after he suffered the most severe political flogging in local history, Basdeo Panday would have long ridden off into the sunset, hoisted his grandchildren on his lap and sat back in luxury, enjoying an ex-prime ministers generous pension and perks. But thats not Pandays style. Hes back into active politicsor so he says.
Blunder after Blunder Dec 11, 2011
Five weeks ago, in my column titled Diplomatic Blunders, I wrote, ...The US has the right to decide what countries it has relations with, so excluding Cuba as a trade or investment partner is not the issue. What is criminal is for the US to use its might to deny other countries, as well as all corporations, their right to have relations with Cuba...
30 Years and Counting Dec 04, 2011
It occurred to me recently that I have been writing newspaper columns for 30 years. When I started writing opinion pieces back in 1981, I did not think of it as a career. I was 35 years young, already an ex-soldier who had become notorious during the mutiny of 1970.
PMs Credibility at Stake Nov 27, 2011
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessars credibility is on the line with allegations of a plot to assassinate her and three of her ministers. This latest drama, coming at the tail end of a contentious State of Emergency, has drawn scepticism from many quarters.
Crime pays Nov 20, 2011
There has always been a "disconnect" between what Governments (note plural) say and what they do. The People's Partnership's first major policy document since coming to office 18 months ago, the Medium-Term Policy Framework (MTPF), is a comprehensive statement on where Trinidad and Tobago is today, its strengths, weaknesses and potential, and where the Partnership Government wants to take it in three years.
Inequality Breeds Unrest Nov 13, 2011
As I watch the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon spread its wings of protest across much of the developed world, I cannot help but feel nostalgic. Those of us who experienced the global rebellion of the 1960s and 1970s must also feel a sense of dij` vu, of having been there, done that. I ask myself: is this a generational upheaval that has erupted to complete unfinished business of that golden era of humanism?
Diplomatic Blunders Nov 06, 2011
Trinidad and Tobagos Ambassador to the United Nations, Rodney Charles, took two rather curious positions over the past week. On October 31, the UNESCOs General Conference voted on a motion to admit Palestine to that organisation. Mr Charles abstained.
Passing parade of the warriors of 1970 Oct 30, 2011
Last Monday, we gathered at the Ellie Mannette Park in St James to say farewell to Dedan Kimathi. His name may not mean anything to people outside of the district he helped christen "The Village". It encompasses De Freitas, Alfred Richards and nearby streets, with the small park as its focal point.
Bogus tourism award Oct 23, 2011
I was not surprised that Tourism Minister Rupert Griffith was all excited over Trinidad and Tobago winning a best destination 2012? award from a Romania-based organisation that seems to be as genuine as a three-dollar bill.
Unlimited Liability Oct 16, 2011
Not surprisingly, Jack Warner is back in the international newsfor all the wrong reasons. When he resigned as one of the most powerful men in FIFA earlier this year, Warner probably thought he had buried his past in the murky waters of Lake Zurich.
Budget must reverse economic decline Oct 09, 2011
For the first time in many years, I am worried about the state of this countrys economy. I am not among alarmists who see doomsday whenever the price of oil dips by a dollar. To the contrary, in the wake of global financial crises of 200-08, when commodity prices tumbled, I didnt even blink. Now, however, Im wincing.
Encounters with serial rapists Oct 02, 2011
I have always seen sexual assault of a woman as the most heinous crime a man could commit. There are other gruesome criminal acts, of course, such as murder by multiple chop-wounds, kidnapping and torturing victims, and brutal acts of violence against children and geriatrics who cannot defend themselves.
Remembering Eric Williams Sep 25, 2011
Thirty-Five years ago yesterday, I became an MP in the first Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. It was an historic moment in many ways. I affirmed, meaning I did not take an oath using one of the holy books, which was not a first.
Squandering Emergency Gains Sep 18, 2011
The besMany moons agoI must have been age 15, still attending collegea simple incident exposed me to the abuse of power, authority, uniform, maybe a combination of all these, by certain police officers. We Form Four or Five boys, as we awaited the bus to take us to our home districts, used to lime in a concrete drain (it was clean and offered some shade) that we had christened Canal Park.
Emergency notes Sep 11, 2011
The best crime-fighting measures emerging from the Emergency thus far are the medium-term initiatives Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced when she wound up the motion that saw Parliament extend the State of Emergency for three months.
Fallouts from the Emergency Sep 04, 2011
Not surprisingly, the Government has extended the State of Emergency (SoE), citing its successes thus far, and all but promising citizens a crime-free country by the time it is lifted. Although no one in Government made this commitment literally, daily, ministers and top officers of the national security agencies dazzle us with statistics that look impressive.
State of Confusion Aug 28, 2011
Guilty as charged, sah! I declare before the court of public opinion. I hasten to add, as most felons do, But I need to explain, boss. Yes, I was foremost among persons who felt that serious crimes had long passed the point of tolerance, that law-abiding citizens were living in a state of siege, and if a state of emergency was required to restore some semblance of order in the society, then bring it on.
Confusing Dookonomics' Aug 21, 2011
Minister Winston Dookeran confuses me. He insists that the Budget deficit for fiscal 2010-2011 remains at around $8 billion, as he projected last year. Yet, he admits that Government collected $2 billion in unanticipated revenue from delinquent taxpayers who responded to the tax amnesty.
Slash subsidies, prioritise spending Aug 14, 2011
A week sometimes feels like eternity in today's fast-paced world. When I wrote last week's column-"Jam Them!"-for which I received lots of jamming, Standard and Poor's downgrading of America's credit rating, and the almost instant global fallout, had not yet happened.
Jam them! Aug 07, 2011
The trade unions and government have both contributed to messy state of industrial relations that hovers over us all at a time when we should be focussed on climbing out of the economic mess we remain mired in. Gun talk, rather than constructive dialogue, drives the tension to unbearable levels.
Nurturing an 'Oslo moment' July 24, 2011
My instinctive reaction when I first learned of the carnage that Anders Breivik unleashed in Norway was, He is a very mad mansick! I imagine most persons reacted similarly to the terror, the deaths of innocent Norwegians this lone lunatic inflicted within a few hours.
Is nationhood an illusion? July 24, 2011
As the nation prepares for a year of activities to mark our 50th anniversary of independence from Britain in August 2012, people of my generation must be wrestling with a mixture of emotions.
Wage war to win peace July 17, 2011
In Frederick Forsyth's 2010 novel, Cobra, the central character, Paul Devereaux, a former CIA agent, is tasked by his President (mucho resemblance to Barack Obama) to put an end to the cocaine menace that is strangling America.
Toxic mix of 'bull' and 'dotishness' July 10, 2011
The disaster that engulfed the Chaguaramas Peninsula last Sunday was a classic but toxic mix of skilfully marketed foreign "bull" and unmitigated local "dotishness".
Exercise in democracy July 03, 2011
As members of the COP vote today on who will lead the second biggest party in the People's Partnership Government, I commend officials who organised the internal elections, as well as the candidates and members of the party, on a reasonably well executed electoral exercise. I shall not attempt to influence voters by stating my views on the contenders.
Think the unthinkable June 26, 2011
Last December, after the FIFA voted on hosts for the 2018 and 2022 football World Cup, I wrote a column in which I suggested that Jack Warner might have exposed Trinidad and Tobago to negative fallouts in international relations because of the perception that he had reneged on promises made to the US and Great Britain.
Accident paralyses country June 19, 2011
I was seething with anger last week Tuesday-and I was not even among the tens of thousands of commuters trapped in horrendous traffic jams that paralysed around 25 per cent of Trinidad.
Delayed justice is a national joke June 12, 2011
Civil lawsuits filed by the Central Bank last week against two of the most senior CL Financial directors, elicited scepticism across the country. Lawrence Duprey and Andre Monteil may now face the courts and answer wide-ranging allegations, from fiduciary irresponsibility to misappropriation of funds.
Stealing the soul of the nation June 05, 2011
Bribery and corruption are a global phenomena that permeate almost every country in the world. The only variant is the level or intensity of such malpractices, and the amounts of money involved, as they vary from country to country.
I arrived in 1946 May 29, 2011
When discussions on Indian Arrival Day first surfaced sometime in the 1970s, United Labour Front (ULF) founding ideologue Lennox Pierre insisted that I should intervene in the debate over a public holiday to mark the Indian presence in Trinidad.
Patrick in trouble...again May 22, 2011
The suspension of ex-prime minister Patrick Manning from the House last week triggered a national debate that is curious, to say the least. I think the penalty imposed on the nation's longest serving MP was somewhat harsh.
Gone to the dogs May 15, 2011
There was a time when every dog owner in Trinidad needed a "dog licence" to own or keep a dog. Back then, everyone I knew who kept dogs owned "pot hounds", also known as "common dogs" or "mongrels".
Osama's death gives Obama life May 08, 2011
It was inevitable, of course, that Osama bin Laden would have met his death at the hands of the "Great Satan".
Agrarian atrocity May 01, 2011
When one sees the insensitivity-one might even say insanity-of persons who authorised and executed the destruction of food and root crops on three parcels of state land, one wonders what the hell is going on in this country.
A full circle April 24, 2011
Forty-One years ago, almost to the week, tens of thousands of mainly idealistic young people thought we had killed and buried the "race bogey" in this cussed country.
War on wastage April 17, 2011
Recently, I posted on a popular local blog an article that purported to show Germans' intolerance for wastage. Although the report was dated, as a few respondents pointed out to me, its contents are as applicable today, maybe more so, than they were in post-World War II GerMany.
National Service to Redress Imbalances April 10, 2011
The race-ratios in the Protective Services I mentioned last week would have changed significantly since my generation broke barriers back in the 1960s.
Accounting for imbalances April 03, 2011
"Pa, ah joining the Regiment," I announced, rather casually. "Whaaaaat?" my father Haniff screamed, Anil-like. "The Regiment? You mad! What you joinin' as?" he probed.
Hospitals of horror March 27, 2011
If doctors in the public health care system feel that they are being unfairly targeted by Government and the public, they need to pause, collectively inhale, and look into the mirror.
Awesome power of nature March 20, 2011
I was watching a World Cup cricket match on television when I decided to see what was happening in the world. For me, that means switching to BBC, sometimes CNN, but never Fox News.
Spectre of people's power March 13, 2011
There's a spectre stalking the world. It is yet another resurgence of people's power. Every so often in history, the oppressed, those who face discrimination and subjugation, people whose rights are trampled upon, rise up in a tsunami of discontent.
Collier recolonising Dimanche Gras? March 06, 2011
The new Dimanche Gras Overlord, one Dr Cyril Collier, believes that the show's calypso content is "too long, too boring", according to a Guardian newspaper report. He is quoted as saying he is "very passionate about bringing the Dimanche Gras back to the days of the plantation owners".
Thanks for the Panorama music February 27, 2011
Amits the continuous cacophony in the political gayelle, blood-curdling cries from the killing fields of Trinbago, and two million tonnes of "tatah" spewed in the Chutney Monarch wasteland, last Sunday's Panorama semi-finals came like a refreshing, calming breeze that soothed a badly wounded nation.
The law-abiding will strike back some day February 20, 2011
I am so blasted vex as I write this column (Friday morning), I am seething with anger. The newspapers featured a story complete with photographs showing a group of thugs attacking some farmers and other residents of a farming community in Lopinot.
Conversation with Keith February 13, 2011
He sits on what appears to be a rock hewn from the long-abandoned Laventille quarry (so it seems, anyway, memories of that piece of the Hill's history now distant), floating somewhere in the sky, shock on his face as he recognises my features.
Comedy and shame at the commission February 06, 2011
As proceedings of the Commission of Enquiry into the 1990 attempted coup wax warmer from day to day, I cannot help but feel a sense of shame. I am shamed by the political manure that is unearthed, by the stench that emanates from the mouths of politicians past and present.
A case of poetic injustice January 23, 2011
When Attorney General Anand Ramlogan made a fool of himself in Parliament by insinuating that ex-prime minister Patrick Manning may have stolen or otherwise disposed of "one grand piano" (as auctioneers would say), Many may have missed the irony of Ramlogan's boorish behaviour.
Curbing Cyber Terrorism January 16, 2011
Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman (Economics, 2008) referred to it as the "Climate of Hate". In his New York Times column last week, he pointed to "incitement" coming from politicians and media commentators on the far right in America that factored in the murderous carnage in Arizona.
A long, hot dry season? January 09, 2011
The industrial relations climate in the country seems poised to take us into a long, hot dry season. Last week's "double whammy", protest action by a number of trade unions and a strike by maxi-taxi operators, signalled the start of what may well be a year of turmoil.
A year pregnant with possibilities January 02, 2011
Barring being victims of unpredictable natural disasters or another global economic "meltdown", Trinidad and Tobago seems set to enjoy an encouraging 2011. There will be no boom similar to what we wallowed in from 2005 to 2007.