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Archives 2005

Trini Christmas is cultural, not religious December 25, 2005
IT'S Christmas Day and most Trinis will have hardly read-or if they did, heeded my calls-my previous columns in which I called for restraint in spending. I know my people only too well: Christmas comes but once a year and every man must have his share.
Guzzling our gas and oil, leaving nothing for tomorrow December 18, 2005
There are times when I question the sanity of our politicians. I look at the Opposition UNC and see more acrobatics than ideas, more seedless raisins than Dole and Del Monte can put together in a year's production, and theatrics that would be the envy of any circus operator. It is a party that seems destined for the dust.
Boom to bust...and we learned little December 11, 2005
FEW among us today, mostly those 40 years and older, will recall how the first oil boom impacted on the society. Before 1973 and the advent of Libya's Muammar Gadaffi as the strongest spokesman for oil-exporting countries, the great guzzlers of energy to the North paid us a paltry US$2 a barrel.
Wild consumerism will lead us into the valley of debt December 04, 2005
COME January 2006, when the new income tax structure kicks in, those among us who earn $60,000 or less per annum, will find ourselves with more disposable income-which means, literally, more money to spend. In fact, the across-the-board 25 per cent tax-regime will add spending-dollar-fuel to the consumer-driven fire that has always been with us, but never more than it is today.
Local food shortage no fluke November 27, 2005
ONCE more, possibly for the umpteenth year, higher-than-average rainfall in November has resulted in extensive flooding, and what now seems to be its corollary, a shortage of local agricultural produce, hence higher food prices. Ironically, as the food-bearing Caroni Basin was inundated and crops destroyed, thousands of acres of former sugar cane lands lay dry and idle.
Giving Jack his jacket November 20, 2005
I must confess that I was pleasantly, no, ecstatically, surprised when the Stern John/Dennis Lawrence combination put Trinidad and Tobago into the 2006 World Cup finals. In fact, as soon as that goal was headed beautifully into the net, I switched off mentally, moved away from the television set, saying: "We win!"
The opiate of mankind November 13, 2005
IN my 23 years as a newspaper columnist, I have had fun at the expense of politicians, attacked governments and state institutions that are supposed to be accountable to the public, tried to bring new perspectives on issues that have bedevilled the country-hell.
Rotten apples tainting judiciary November 06, 2005
THERE was a time many years ago when I had implicit faith in the judiciary of this country. Looking back at it now, I realise that such confidence might have been misplaced, in the sense that while, generally, those who sat on the Bench dispensed justice impartially, there were also many rogue magistrates and other judicial officers of questionable integrity.
Rogues, rogues everywhere October 30, 2005
LAST week, The Times newspaper in England ran a story titled "The Best and Worst Police Forces in the country". I thought the findings were very instructive, given our own situation, what with the nation's police officers being categorised alongside politicians as being incompetent in their performance and insensitive to the plight of law-abiding citizens.
Edifying evening with an icon in journalism October 23, 2005
AFTER focussing for three Sundays on how important it is for us, more so those in power and those who wield influence, to understand the imperatives of looking at renewable and alternative sources of energy, I have all but run out of energy to continue on this subject.
Renewable energy the wave of the future October 16, 2005
AS we wallow in oil-and-gas dollars, and with our coffers overflowing to the point where Prime Minister Patrick Manning could present a $30-billion Budget with many more billions left in "reserve", readers may wonder why I chose to address the seemingly irrelevant issue of alternative energy.
Now even coconut oil is used as renewable energy October 09, 2005
A MAJOR dilemma developing countries like ours face is that we do not see ourselves as trail-blazers, as pioneers in any field of endeavour. Maybe it's a legacy of the hundreds of years we endured as victims of colonial domination. I have long maintained that after religion, colonialism had the greatest impact on its victims, to the extent that even among those who fought against the system, I personally found many who were steeped in its trappings without even knowing they were.
A 'seismic shift' in the energy world October 02, 2005
IN discussion with one of our energy experts recently, when I asked him about current thinking that this country's oil and gas reserves may run out within 50 years, his response was, "I don't agree with that. As it stands, we have reserves that could last us that long."
Our politicians have lost their souls September 25, 2005
LAST weekend, speaking with the media after the PNM general council meeting, its Chairman John Donaldson said during the meeting the party's leader, Prime Minister Patrick Manning, boasted that if general elections were called soon, the PNM would win a landslide victory.
Authorities must move to avert anarchy September 18, 2005
CONTINUING on crime from where I left off last week, I was surprised at the number of people who reacted to my suggestion that law abiding citizens were getting close to the breaking point because of the free run that criminals seem to enjoy.
Resign - if you can't control crime September 11, 2005
TWO weeks ago I drew to the attention of those in authority-Prime Minister Patrick Manning, National Security Minister Martin Joseph and Police Commissioner Trevor Paul-incidents of crime that I knew about personally, in which the police acted more brutally towards the victims than the bandits.
Katrina bared Bush's 'bamsee' September 04, 2005
THE contrasts could not be starker, the contradictions more revealing, than when Hurricane Katrina struck a mighty blow at the crucial southern states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Georgia in the USA.
Police and t'ief August 28, 2005
I DON'T know if they realise it, but among three of the more prominent power-groups in the society-the Police Service, "Community Leaders" and the Government-they are making life easy for newspaper columnists like me, but hell for the vast majority of the population.
Rewards of crime and irresponsibility August 21, 2005
PRIME Minister Patrick Manning should reconsider making spontaneous statements, especially when he is before his party faithful. The man simply cannot be trusted to blurt out everything he has stirring in his mind. That statement last week in which he advised poor people to "watch television instead of having sex" was a gem.
Looking To The North, Looking To The South August 17, 2005
TRINIDAD and Tobago is caught in a maelstrom of trade and economic re-alignments that is sweeping through the Western Hemisphere. The upheavals, triggered by growing anti-American trade sentiments mainly in South America, come at a time when the region "exceeded even the most optimistic forecasts", according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), posting a 5.5 per cent growth in most economies in 2004.
Daaga's take on violence in the society August 14, 2005
DURING recent Emancipation Day celebrations, I happened to be at a function hosted by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in which the church honoured three of us from the 1970 Black Power revolution-Makandal Daaga, Clive Nunez and me. We all spoke, but none more eloquently than Daaga.
Greasing the wheels of justice August 07, 2005
IT took the Attorney General almost two years to have Lance Small extradited to the USA to face gun-running charges in that country. Once the many legal hurdles were finally overcome, the extradition was swift. In a flash, Small was escorted to Florida, and less than three months later he has been tried by jury, found guilty, and jailed for 12 years.
Mental slavery alive and festering July 31, 2005
WHEN Bob Marley pleaded in song with his African brethren to "emancipate yourself from mental slavery", I think he was either misunderstood by many in the diaspora, or they have chosen to ignore the message of this relentless fighter-in-verse for African freedom.
Intelligence the key to fighting crime, terrorism July 24, 2005
WITHOUT doubt national security as it relates to terrorism, sabotage and crime demands the attention of a government that is groping for answers. National Security Minister Martin Joseph needs to understand this is why people were perplexed that he would just "ups and disappear" during what seemed to be a crisis period, however insignificant it may have been, and however short the duration of his absence.
Hit by 'Bin Garbage' and Emily July 17, 2005
TWO "wake-up calls" in as many days, one from Mother Nature, the other from some demented person or maybe a self-proclaimed-Jihadist, and how do Trinis respond? In our usually warped way of thinking, we blame the police for lack of vigilance in the case of the crude explosive device that exploded at one of the busiest corners in the capital city.
Return to savagery July 10, 2005
LIVING in a cell that's adjacent to "void" below the gallows, where the body of the executed prisoner plunges after the executioner pulls the lever, where life is snuffed out at the State's will, was quite an experience.
Singing at one's own wake July 03, 2005
OVER the past few weeks I have noticed an increase in the number of persons who openly voice their opinions against capital punishment.
Hang them high? More come, more come June 26, 2005
MAYBE I should begin this column by expressing my deep admiration for Independent Senator Angela Cropper, who, having more reasons than most in the society to call for mass executions of Death Row prisoners, has held firm her lofty principles against capital punishment.
Fix existing sports facilities for much less than $850m June 19, 2005
TODAY being Labour Day, many readers will expect me to focus on what's happening in Fyzabad, on the division in the labour movement that seems to render it impotent.
Panday's circus serves UNC well...for the hour June 12, 2005
IT'S not unusual, I suppose, here in Trinidad and Tobago, for the entire population is distracted by a mini-circus-the self-incarceration of Basdeo Panday. Panday was forced to play a "bush card" in the hope that it would propel him into the limelight, which paid off when he found the PNM Government had no "trumps" in their hands.
Claiming my space June 05, 2005
PEOPLE like me who insist on being "Trini first", and anything else afterwards, find ourselves in the unenviable position of being almost outcasts in our native land. Which is a hell of a thing, since I think we should have first lien not just on the country, but maybe on its resources and all the goodies those who see themselves otherwise have "huffed".
For those of us who never 'arrived' May 29, 2005
I often wonder about my status in this immigrant society, being one of the tens of thousands who insist on being "Trini" first and anything else after that. If among us there are those who cling fiercely to their Indian or African or Chinese ancestry, I have more reason than most to proclaim my "Indianness".
Let the jackasses bray May 22, 2005
I have not seen the draft Broadcast Code that the Telecommunications Authority wants to impose on radio stations, nor do I believe my studying it will help me form an opinion other than what I have long held on the media in general.
Surprise me, Prime Minister May 15, 2005
AFTER much speculation last week that Prime Minister Patrick Manning would assume the portfolio of National Security in a Cabinet reshuffle, the PM dismissed the idea outright when he spoke at a conference.
Manning must lead fight against crime May 08, 2005
PRIME MINISTER Patrick Manning needs to understand that the butt-as in gun-butt-stops with him. For every life that is snuffed out by a bullet, be it an 18-year-old who is killed while horsing around with a gun-toting 16-year-old, or a teenaged "gangster" from behind-the-bridge brought down in a hail of gunfire, ultimately, blame lies with the country's leader, the Prime Minister.
Stench of death hovers over UNC May 01, 2005
THE nation and the UNC faithful in particular are looking closely to see just how this latest division in the ranks of the opposition party will play out. Will it destroy the UNC the way the DLP imploded back in the 1970s?
Dusk falls on 'maximum leaders' April 24, 2005
THE late Dr Eric Williams entered the politics of this country in 1956, a time when colonialism had all but set the stage for the emergence of the 'maximum leaders' in all its colonies that were about to win or be granted independence.
Gillian's luck runs out April 17, 2005
THE surprise over Gillian Lucky and Fuad Khan's resignations from the UNC "whip" is that they were surprised at Basdeo Panday's edict issued to Lucky, and also that many more party supporters and others were surprised that Panday would have his own definition of morality in politics.
Be a patriot, kill a priest April 10, 2005
NEVER before in modern times has the death of a pope generated the kind of international coverage, the outpouring of love and grief, as did that of Pope John Paul II.
England a not-so-pleasant place April 03, 2005
WHEN I was a boy in primary school, I read a poem that went something like this: "Oh England is a pleasant place, for him that's rich and high; but England is a cruel place for such poor folks as I."
Blind to imperatives for developed country status March 27, 2005
SOMETIME last year Works Minister Franklin Khan announced that his ministry had served notices on persons who illegally encroached on the nation's highways.
Vision 2005: eyesores aplenty March 20, 2005
Two years into the consultation and planning stages of Prime Minister Patrick Manning's "Vision 2020", I am convinced that instead of this country moving forward to "developed nation" status, we are mired in a kind of stagnation that is unbelievable.
A house for Mrs Morean March 13, 2005
IF ever I were this country's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, given who I am and most of all my modest lifestyle, I'd probably ask the government to provide me with a decent 3-bedroom flat with all amenities.
Judicial process proves racists wrong March 06, 2005
CAN any of those who were demanding the immediate release of Dr Vijay Naraynsingh tell me now what is so wrong about the judicial process, where is its political or racially-motivated bias?
Reject abominable anti-terrorist law February 27, 2005
IT is an abominable, insidious, and wholly unnecessary piece of legislation that ought never to have been conceived, far less passed by both Houses of Parliament and put into the statute books of this country.
Dragging every issue into the 'race pit' February 20, 2005
QMY attorney friend, who could pass for Indian in this callaloo society of ours, said to me in a very serious manner: We are fast approaching the point where, once you are an Indian, you can get away with anything, crime included.
Signs of welcome Carnival turnaround February 13, 2005
HAVING lashed out last Sunday at those who were taking our Carnival downhill, I think it's only fair that I acknowledge some positive developments I noted over the season and on Carnival days.
Madness, not mas' February 06, 2005
Are there parallel policing and judicial 'institutions' set up in this country? And if so, who are these 'judges' or 'magistrates' who sit on these courts, who pass death sentences on ordinary citizens?
In war we need to get into trenches January 30, 2005
Are there parallel policing and judicial 'institutions' set up in this country? And if so, who are these 'judges' or 'magistrates' who sit on these courts, who pass death sentences on ordinary citizens? Well, let me re-phrase that: not-so-ordinary citizens.
Don't shoot the messenger January 23, 2005
WHAT a difference one week can make. Last Sunday, when I wrote about the unacceptable state of crime in the country, trying to bring home some harsh realities to National Security Minister Martin Joseph, he had just demanded apologies from the Los Angeles Times and the Miami Herald over a story both newspapers featured about the high crime rate in this country.
Society under siege January 16, 2005
SOMETHING has clearly gone awry with government's much vaunted fight against crime, but no one in authority wants to take responsibility for their apparent impotence in dealing with the madness that has all but overtaken the country.
WASA wastage January 09, 2005
WHEN, last Thursday, Prime Minister Patrick Manning announced that government had approved a $27 billion plan to completely overhaul WASA, many people will have simply "steupsed" and turned off their television sets.
Nature sends violent warning January 02, 2005
IF ever a year started with a bang and ended with a deafening, deadly roar, 2004 was it. The "bang" was, of course, the firepower of one man and his military prowess, used to reduce a once thriving nation to rubble.