Trinicenter Home Trini News & Views
Raffique Shah


 ¤ Archives 2013 
 ¤ Archives 2012 
 ¤ Archives 2011 
 ¤ Archives 2010 
 ¤ Archives 2009 
 ¤ Archives 2008 
 ¤ Archives 2007 
 ¤ Archives 2006 
 ¤ Archives 2005 
 ¤ Archives 2004 
 ¤ Archives 2003 
 ¤ Archives 2002 
 ¤ Archives 2001 

 ¤ Online Forums 

 ¤ Trinidad News 

Archives 2001

Office first, later for country December 30, 2001
I'M TEMPTED to echo a remark made famous by CLR James. Whenever politics in this country, and oftentimes elsewhere in the world, took a particular turn, "Nello" would turn to us lesser mortals and say: "I told you so!"
Every cook can govern December 23, 2001
IT IS almost two weeks today since the general election of December 10 ended in an unprecedented 18-18 tie between the UNC and the PNM.
Nightmare at Crowne Plaza December 16, 2001
ANYTIME the citizens of this country, or people elsewhere in the world, have difficulties in determining differences between "police and thief", we would find ourselves in deep crisis.
By Ballots, Not Bullets December 09, 2001
SO, some of my fans-cum-critics asked me, will you flee the country on Tuesday if the UNC is re-elected to government? Hell no! I responded. Why should I?
Unholy Political Mess December 02, 2001
WATCHING fellow columnist Kevin Baldeosingh having to defend his position as an atheist against "reformed" scientists and religious bigots, I'm very tempted to intervene in the debate.
Waiting for salvation November 25, 2001
PEOPLE who believe in miracles, in the hand of God if not His fist, must be the only ones who also believe that December 10 and the general election will herald Salvation Day.
Making a jail November 18, 2001
DURING my 27-month stint as a prisoner of the State, there was a universal saying among "guests" at Her Majesty's Prison (as the institution was then known): "If you must make ah jail, do it while you are young!" Of course, other hardened criminals or stupid persons who had never been inside a cell, would, in moments they would live to regret, scream, "Jail 'ent make to ripe fig, you know!"
EBC setting stage for chaos November 11, 2001
SOMETHING is very rotten deep inside the belly of the Elections and Boundaries Commission. This seems to be clear to all but the EBC commissioners and senior personnel, like Chief Elections Officer Howard Cayenne, who insist that their new lists of electors are as close to clean as we can possibly get.
That's Insulting, Mr Prime Minister November 04, 2001
THE alternative to the PNM in government, the late Dr Eric Williams boasted many years ago, is chaos. At the time, many of us laughed at the notion that the PNM was the only organised political party in the country, that there was no other group that was capable of building a political structure that could be democratic and could endure.
Eric's Curse Haunts PoliticiansOctober 28, 2001
THE alternative to the PNM in government, the late Dr Eric Williams boasted many years ago, is chaos. At the time, many of us laughed at the notion that the PNM was the only organised political party in the country, that there was no other group that was capable of building a political structure that could be democratic and could endure.
Frenzy for power October 21, 2001
SO, the 580,000 or so battle-weary but bacchanal-ready souls who waged war in the "Mother of All Elections" less than one year ago, are back in the battlefield, presumably gearing themselves for the "Grandmother of All Elections", come December 10.
Naipaul’s Mastery October 14, 2001
I EXPECT now that Vidia Naipaul has finally received formal world recognition by being awarded this year's Nobel Prize for Literature, many people, an in particular Trinidadians and Tobagonians, would seek out his books and attempt to read them.
Senior Attorney believes colleagues are wrong October 07, 2001
SENIOR attorney Clive Phelps believes that his colleagues are wrong when they say that President Arthur Robinson can act to remove Prime Minister Basdeo Panday only if a successful vote of no confidence in the Government is carried in Parliament.
President Must Act Now October 07, 2001
THE country's attorneys all seem to agree that Prime Minister Basdeo Panday cannot be removed from office unless there is a successful vote of no confidence in his government in Parliament.
The President's prerogative October 05, 2001
ON August 9, 1977, less than one year after the United Labour Front entered the first Republican Parliament of this country as the official opposition with ten elected members, the party was plunged into a crisis not unlike what the UNC is going through today.
Ghosts Haunt Panday In Political Cemetery September 30, 2001
IT'S the question most people are asking in the face of the imminent collapse of the UNC Government. How did the wily Basdeo Panday find himself positioned like a "hog" in a game of draughts, cornered by Ramesh Maharaj, incapable of making any move other than one that would almost certainly spell his political death?
Terrorism: Doing It By The Book September 23, 2001
NOT being a fan of American fiction writer Tom Clancy, I have read few of his books-notably, The Hunt For Red October, probably one of his most popular novels that was made into a blockbuster movie.
A House For Mr 'Bas-Was' September 23, 2001
SOMETIME after he had served a jail sentence for corruptly receiving a huge bribe in a matter that came before him, disgraced ex-magistrate Patrick Jaggasar said, "I was a fool to have taken a bribe-and with cheque at that!" (or something to that effect).
Reap the whirlwind September 16, 2001
“My own feeling was that, in being the first to use it (the atomic bomb), we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Age. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.”
Maximum time for maximum leader September 09, 2001
THE cult of the Maximum Leader—the politician who uses charisma, and very little else, to win and maintain popular support among the masses—is something we have lived with for many years. It is not a phenomenon that is unique to this country.
The Myth Of 'Saint Tull' September 02, 2001
PRIME Minister Basdeo Panday must not be allowed to escape unscathed with the lies and half-truths he peddles to his supporters and the nation as he struggles for political survival within his own party. The innuendoes I shall allow him: he is a master of thinly veiled attacks against unnamed enemies, although few are fooled by his oblique references. But it's when he stretches the truth and distorts history that I have a real problem with him.
In Hazel’s defence August 26, 2001
PRINCIPLE counts for nothing in this country. Look at around you, examine the positions taken on matters of national importance by people who are considered men and women of substance, and you'll see what I mean. It is nauseating in the extreme to see sycophancy and expediency, not to add froth and flatulence, triumph over the kind of values we ought to promote.
Feels like DÉJÀ VU-With A Difference August 23, 2001
PRIME Minister Basdeo Panday has decided to rid himself and the UNC of the party's newly elected deputy political leader, Ramesh Maharaj. Marked for political death, too, are Panday's friend from as far back as 1966, Trevor Sudama, as well as the man who was often credited with devising strategies that moved the party from opposition to the corridors of power, Sadiq Baksh.
When Things Fall Apart August 19, 2001
FINANCE Minister Gerald Yet Ming, who is no doubt a good Christian, clearly believes in the biblical injunction, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall inherit the Kingdom of Heaven."
Of names and race August 12, 2001
SO, what's in a name? That's a rhetorical question in most parts of the world. But in countries that are dogged by racial or religious conflicts, whatever their intensity, it could mean the difference between life and death.
Betraying a People's trust August 05, 2001
IF anyone had said to me 15 years ago, or as recently as 1995 when he assumed office as Prime Minister, that Basdeo Panday would head the most corrupt government ever in this country, I would have responded with an emphatic, "No way!"
The trickle down effects of corruption July 29, 2001
ECONOMISTS and politicians who swear by the creed of unbridled capitalism often refer to the “trickle down” effect of capitalist economies. What no one has addressed, though, is the “trickle down” effect of corruption. Ordinary citizens learn that in a society that is riddled with corruption, their survival is dependent on collaborating with the corrupt.
A Culture Of Corruption July 22, 2001
I often wonder why so many people seem to be surprised at the widespread allegations of corruption that have dogged the UNC Government, almost from the moment it first took office in 1995. It's as though it's our first encounter with graft, kickbacks, with demands being made of big foreign corporations seeking to do business here.
Speaking with Forked Tongues July 15, 2001
FOR generations that grew up on an entertainment diet of old 'Western' movies, the 'Indian' saying, 'White man speaks with forked tongue' had a special meaning. It denoted the deceit of White settlers who often lied to the indigenous people as they tricked them out of their valuable lands and ultimately decimated them as a people.
PNM, UNC, Self-Destructing? July 08, 2001
IT'S the acme of irony, this predicament of the UNC finding itself incapable of functioning in government except by replicating the PNM at its worst, and the PNM, unaccustomed to being in opposition, doing more harm to itself than to the ruling party. Many analysts see this as the beginning of the end of both parties.
Consumed with Hatred July 01, 2001
"AYE, yuh hear de man attack yuh again? Ha! Ha!" That was how I was greeted by gas station attendants, casual acquaintances at 'de junction', and even by persons unknown to me, a few days after I had participated in the Labour Day march and rally at Fyzabad.
Address at formal opening of the new TICFA Head Office June 29, 2001
Today, we take one small step forward, although, unlike the astronauts who first landed on the moon many years ago, and regrettably so, it is no great leap for cane farmers.
Blame Human 'BLIGHTS' for Football Fiasco June 24, 2001
FOR people in this country who believe in superstition, especially sports fanatics and others who have an interest in cricket and football, there must be a feeling that a bad "blight" has settled over Trinidad and Tobago.
Delinquent Parents Spawn Teenage Criminals June 17, 2001
THE scene was as graphic as it was poignant: A relatively young mother of a 16 year-old youth who was shot dead by the police following a robbery, screaming, "I want justice for my son!"
Panday reaps the whirlwind June 10, 2001
THE dust has not settled, the acrid stench of human-generated cordite sits like heavy fog over the battlefield, and corpses waiting to be cremated, but whose owners are quite unwilling to quietly lie down and face their fates.
Mass retrenchment no solution to Government's money woes June 03, 2001
FINANCE Minister Gerald Yet Ming sparked fear among public sector workers when he announced last week that given the state of the country's finances, the Government may have to resort to "trim the fat" in the public service in order to meet an increased wages and salaries bill.
Sparrow through the eyes of Indo-Trinidadians June 01, 2001
ONE had to be there, meaning anywhere in Trinidad and Tobago, to understand the impact the Mighty Sparrow's "Jean and Dinah" had on calypso as an art form when The Birdie sang that song in 1956.
Ruined In The House Of The Rising Sun May 27, 2001
IN response to many queries from readers as to why I have steered clear of commenting on the campaign for the UNC's executive elections, let me say that I can smell "gobar" from a mile! Sure, I often inject humour into my writings.
The price of Police Brutality May 20, 2001
POLICE brutality is nothing new to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. It has always existed, although mercifully for us, the officers who engage in such gross misconduct are few in numbers.
Architect of Football failure May 13, 2001
THE one benefit that the nation will enjoy as a consequence of Jack Warner's decision to stage the FIFA World Under-17 Championships in this country is the four new stadiums that are being constructed, and the enhancement of the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Kamla's synthetic world May 06, 2001
I EXPECT that UNDP resident representative in this country, Mr Hans Geiser, and those professionals he hired to compile the contentious National Human Development Report on Trinidad and Tobago.
Brown ranked above Boldon May 04, 2001
TRINIDAD and Tobago's teenage sprint sensation Darrel Brown has made history by being the youngest sprinter to be listed among the top performers in the 100-metre event for the 2001 outdoor track and field season.
Responses to Non-Indian will never lead UNC May 02, 2001
I just finished reading your article about the state of leadership within the UNC and I must admit for the sake of our beloved country I hope you will be wrong.
Non-Indian will never lead UNC April 29, 2001
I FIND it amusing, bordering on hilarious, this sudden surge of interest in a successor to Basdeo Panday as leader of the UNC.
Strip! You’re a common prisoner, Mr Minister April 16, 2001
RAFFIQUE SHAH, spent some 27 months in prison. During that period, Shah studied the manner in which prisoners were treated. Here he looks at the plight of ex-local government minister Dhanraj Singh and attorney Jagdeo Singh.
China bloodies Bush's nose April 15, 2001
NEW United States President-by-a-whisker, George Bush Jnr., was really taken for an April's fool when, on April 1, one of his intelligence services' high-tech spy planes was brought down.
Highways to hell April 08, 2001
I HAPPENED to be on the Solomon Hochoy highway last week Monday at around 6 a.m. For many years now I have not been a “morning” person.
A 'SEA' of confusion in education April 04, 2001
THE fallacy of universal secondary education that is being foisted upon hapless (I shall refrain from using the term "stupid") parents and helpless children has reached sickening proportions.
Religious colonials April 01, 2001
IN his book Among The Believers...An Islamic Journey, Trinidad-born writer Vidia Naipaul concluded that Islam was a “colonised religion”.
Shouldn't Panday be hauled before Privileges Committee? March 28, 2001
THE way politicians and political allegiances make fools of people can be aggravating in the extreme to people who have the capacity to think logically.
Memories of Regiment's first Indian officer March 28, 2001
OF the ten-to-fifteen young men who had been summoned to appear before the Defence Force Commissions Board at Camp Ogden that day in 1963, there was one Indo-Trinidadian other than me.
A tall order for young Jagdeo March 25, 2001
WHILE congratulations are in order for young Bharat Jagdeo, leader of the PPP/Civic coalition party that won last week's general election in Guyana...
Kudos for Carlos March 21, 2001
I commend Works Minister Carlos John, or whoever in the ministry came up with the master plan, for the Solomon Hochoy Highway.
Dumping death in Central Trinidad March 18, 2001
IF Prime Minister Basdeo Panday wants to see me dead-and judging from his all-too-frequent harsh remarks about me.
Priceless historical artifacts March 14, 2001
Last week, news broke that the Taliban regime in Afghanistan was blasting ancient statues of Buddha to smithereens.
Time running out for Panday March 11, 2001
MANY sober citizens of the country are wondering why, after President Arthur Robinson backed down on the post-election impasse
Caroni's Distillery sold to Angostura March 09, 2001
GOVERNMENT is proceeding with the sale of 49 per cent of Rum Distillers Limited (formerly Caroni's Rum Division) to Angostura for $35 million in spite of protests by several unions.
Corrupt officials have flown the coop March 7, 2001
WHILE I'm in no position to question Senator Danny Montano's claim, I do have a problem with the veracity of the claim.
Promoting political Viagra March 4, 2001
POWER, some wise person once noted, is the ultimate aphrodisiac. It also gives those who wield it a "high" that can be so intoxicating, its effects either disgust or amuse the observer.
Beware of the Caribbean Court of Appeal February 28, 2001
When the idea of a Caribbean Court of Appeal as the final appellate court in the region was first mooted,
Carnival without Kitchener February 25, 2001
THIS year's Carnival has been dedicated to the Mighty Sparrow (Slinger Fransisco), who, as a colossus of calypso.
Carnival controversy February 21, 2001
CARNIVAL without bacchanal is like pelau without peas.
Panday's pyrrhic victory February 18, 2001
Prime Minister Basdeo Panday and Attorney General Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj will now strut around the country as if they finally conquered Napoleon.
Good show, TJ February 14, 2001
MY fellow-columnist in the Express, Terry "TJ" Joseph, must be commended for the initiative he took in staging what was in effect a "pan jamboree" two Thursdays ago.
Keep politicians out of schools February 11, 2001
IN ordinary circumstances, most people would welcome politicians visiting schools and interfacing with students.
Lessons for London February 7, 2001
I FELT a tinge of sorrow when the THA election results were announced two Monday nights ago.
A hospital case February 4, 2001
MANY readers of my column may be aware by now that earlier this month I suffered injuries as a result of a bicycle accident.
Panday gambled and lost January 31, 2001
SO what was "Uncle" Basdeo Panday's real game-plan in last Monday's Tobago House of Assembly elections?
Breaking down the walls of Westminster January 31, 2001
DAYS before he was appointed Minister of Finance in the new UNC Government, Gerald Yetming, a key back-room player in the party's election campaign, surfaced as an identifiable member of Prime Minister Basdeo Panday's "inner Cabinet"
PM Basdeo Panday's amnesia January 28, 2001
NO sooner had Prime Minister Basdeo Panday used the cloak of parliamentary immunity to slander me, branding me a Libyan-trained "hit-man", a veritable Carlos the Jackal, than my telephone started ringing off the hook.
Education Minister paves new road to hell January 24, 2001
I should be fully supportive of the order by Education Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar that effectively prohibits teachers from administering "licks" to deviant students.
Sacrificing Dhanraj January 21, 2001
FORMER Local Government Minister Dhanraj Singh, when he first learned that he was to be charged with corruption-related offences, must have realised that he was the proverbial sacrificial goat (well, he's no lamb) for a party that was steeped in corruption during its first term in office.
EBC must come clean or face wrath of masses January 17, 2001
I have heard some stories about collusion between EBC officers and officials of the UNC that are frightening, even if the allegations are “padded” to justify the PNM claims of irregularities in last December's general election.
Look where we reach January 14, 2001
MAYBE President Robinson's contemptuous treatment of the official opening of Parliament on Friday was precisely what its members and many of its specially invited guests deserved.
Mysterious maths January 3, 2001
A FRIEND of mine who worked temporarily with the Elections and Boundaries Commission back in the 1970s as a field officer, summed up the state of this all-important but extremely incompetent State institution based on his personal experience.


Copyright © Raffique Shah
Site Designed and maintained By: