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Archives 2006

No Happy New Year for the destitute December 31, 2006
Forget those never-fulfilled New Year resolutions as the not-so-magical midnight hour approaches tonight. Let's be realistic: we hardly ever adhere to our wishes because we simply do not have the will, the discipline to break bad habits or to adopt new, supposedly good ones.
Balls for 'Dooks', ham for Jack December 24, 2006
Rudy, Santa Shah gripes, I find it difficult to endure the perils of Christmas Eve night. Even from the relative safety of this Manning-donated blimp, I feel unsafe. Look at the traffic mayhem down there! Where are those fools rushing what ought to be the most peaceful night on earth?
Santa Shah is coming to town December 17, 2006
I have been thinking about my approach to Christmas which many have described as being that of a Scrooge, not a Santa. True. I dislike seeing people exhaust all their earnings and savings on this one occasion, only to have to resort to borrowing to survive the few months afterwards.
'Hobbing with the nobs' is debt-dealing December 10, 2006
I kept wondering for some time now how long it would take Starbucks, the upscale coffee chain, to start doing business here. Last week I read where some local entrepreneur indicated he'd cornered the franchise.
Let's not be used as a pawn against Chavez December 03, 2006
Today, the people of Venezuela go to the polls to elect a president. The election is of significance to Trinidad and Tobago because Venezuela happens to be the country closest to us.
Reverting to law of the jungle November 26, 2006
If, per chance-and the odds are heavily in favour of this happening-I were to be gunned down or bludgeoned to death by some free-rein criminal, I have given instructions to my family not to bother to report the matter to the police.
Death and development November 19, 2006
Besides Alcoa not even referring to its highly-touted new technologies for "safely" disposing spent pot lining (SPL), both the company and the Government have made no reference to the proposed plant being used for recycling aluminium cans and other waste.
Manning, Alcoa must come clean November 12, 2006
I think Alcoa spokesman Wade Hughes is "damn farse and outa place" (let him go learn our dialect) to suggest that Trinidad is "ideally positioned to become the aluminium hub of the Caribbean". But Hughes got his license to make such insulting pronouncements from none other than Prime Minister Patrick Manning.
Arrogance vs ignorance November 05, 2006
I have thus far stayed silent on the controversy surrounding the proposed establishment of two aluminium smelter plants in south Trinidad. But after Prime Minister Patrick Manning's vituperative assault last week on those who are protesting against the smelters, I cannot help but have my write on the matter.
Living on the edge October 29, 2006
In debunking UN-fed statistics on poverty in Trinidad and Tobago in my column of last week, I suggested that we may be victims not so much of poverty as of wanton, wasteful consumerism. I pointed out, too, that the poverty line needs to be re-defined. Whereas 30 years ago a salary of $3,000 per month meant affording a middle-class lifestyle, today that means living on the edge.
Lost in a political wilderness October 15, 2006
I was tickled pink when I heard of the fiasco that terminated the Budget debate in the House last Monday. No, I was not happy that most opposition MPs did not get the opportunity to speak, to literally dissect Finance Minister Patrick Manning's presentation, to alert the public to its deficiencies.
Stop gambling? Manning must be crazy October 08, 2006
It is instructive that in a National Budget of $38 billion during fiscal 2006-07, the two proposals that have generated the fiercest controversies are the Finance Minister's bid to clamp down on gambling and increased taxes on alcohol and tobacco.
A very dangerous man October 01, 2006
I wish members of the Catholic community, many of whom have defended Pope Benedict's recent statements that insulted Islam, could feel what it's like for a religion, its leader and its ardent members to be pilloried or mocked by writers, or worse, by leaders of another faith.
Manning 'bombed' by Bombardier September 24, 2006
Politicians, especially those who are in power, must know they are under intense public scrutiny, whatever they say or do. Once they have offered themselves for office and are elected by the people, they become public property.
Selective sympathy for victims of terrorism September 17, 2006
Whatever the facts or fantasies or conspiracy theories about the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon back in 2001, what is undeniable is that thousands of innocent people died.
Lies that Panday peddles September 10, 2006
However much one may try, it's near impossible to escape the tragi-comedy that passes for politics in the crumbling UNC. The flurry of meetings the combatants hold as they flay each other are broadcast on several radio stations simultaneously.
People must be part of the development process September 03, 2006
I was not surprised when several Cabinet ministers underscored what Prime Minister Patrick Manning has been saying for some time now: the Government's current construction frenzy will not be stopped, delayed or revisited.
A fate worse than starvation August 27, 2006
A Paradox in the growing outcry against rising food prices is even as we protest the cost of staving off starvation, there is a worrisome rise in obesity among the population as a whole, and young people in particular.
The party's over, Bas August 20, 2006
LAST Wednesday I found myself following Ramesh Maharaj's march. Ramesh will not have seen me, so he may well say, "Shah is a liar!" Before I am so branded, let me explain. I happened to be travelling in a maxi-taxi going south when I saw traffic and some commotion in the area of Petrotrin's refinery.
Blame Bush, not Bin Laden August 13, 2006
IF there was any surprise over last Thursday's transatlantic airline crisis it was that British security forces, working in collaboration with Pakistan's, managed to pre-empt what could have been a disaster of immense proportions.
Tale of two rail systems August 06, 2006
Two news articles from the international press agencies caught my eye last Friday. The first was a report that China was building a US$27-billion train line that will connect Beijing with the southern economic hub of Shenzen.
Ground war grinds to unexpected halt July 30, 2006
War is hell, says an adage that rings truer today than when it was first coined, maybe centuries ago. And in war, truth is the first casualty-another adage that has remained unchanged from the primitive period, when giant catapults were the weapons of choice, to today's not-so-smart bombs that seem to have an uncanny honing ability in favour of unarmed civilians over combatants.
Courting another revolution July 23, 2006
Looking around at the many idiot concerts being staged at the highest levels in this society, with some of the most senior office holders as principal actors, one wonders if these people have nothing better to do, if they fail to see the trees from the wood.
When retribution comes, don't cry for Israel July 16, 2006
Hardly a voice is raised in protest. Not a tear is shed by those who would otherwise howl 'bloody murder' when one Israeli is killed by a Palestinian.
State of emergency the only solution July 09, 2006
While many of us are still basking in the glory that the Soca Warriors brought to Trinidad and Tobago, and even as Prime Minister Patrick Manning committed the lion's share of the cost of security of another World Cup-cricket in 2007 -the majority of citizens in the country are in a daze, hit from all sides by crime.
Modern-day givers with new philosophy on wealth July 02, 2006
There was a time, not long ago, when I used to wonder: if someone has a million dollars, what more does he or she want in life?
Warriors do not need fair weather fans June 25, 2006
To say that the performance of our national football team exceeded the realistic expectations of sober sports fans is to understate what its members achieved. In the three games our boys played, they acquitted themselves well.
Cherish the few honest directors, Senator King June 18, 2006
I would normally dismiss comments like those made by Senator Mary King, in her response to my column on the Public Accounts (Enterprises Committee, the way the late Dr. Eric Williams did, which I shan't elaborate on (ask Chalkdust!).
Sports benefits more than just World Cup June 11, 2006
With the country gripped by World Cup fever, it's a good time to raise some issues that, while they have no direct bearing on our team or on football, are of importance if we are to continue to take the world stage in major sporting events.
Strip cowardly MPs of immunity June 04, 2006
Recently, two statements emanating from the Public Accounts (Enterprises) Committee (PAEC) exposed how parliamentarians, using the privilege of immunity from legal action extended to them, can abuse the same.
Dookeran can break two-party syndrome May 28, 2006
Winston Dookeran's new-found spunk seems set to change the political landscape in this country. Ever since he first entered the arena back in 1981, Dookeran came across as more of an academic than the typical Trini politician.
Society in decay May 21, 2006
It never ceases to amaze me the way the nation is galvanised by incidents like the cruel life and death of baby Amy Emily Annamunthodo. True, her short life of torture, and her gruesome murder, must move to tears anyone who has a conscience, anyone who is human.
A crisis of confidence May 14, 2006
ONE week in this carnival country of ours must be the equivalent of a year in most other countries, and decades in some boring, politically stable states.
A fool and his money May 07, 2006
FOR a simpleton like me, the warped world global economies, of how seemingly rich countries end up steeped in debt, of persistent poverty in countries that are resource-rich, remain a mystery.
Consumerism gone mad April 30, 2005
Within recent weeks Prime Minister Patrick Manning has displayed a certain kind of intolerance towards those who dare to disagree with his Government's policies. That is unbecoming of someone holding the office he does.
An enemy in every protester's face April 23, 2005
Within recent weeks Prime Minister Patrick Manning has displayed a certain kind of intolerance towards those who dare to disagree with his Government's policies. That is unbecoming of someone holding the office he does.
Oh, how the Mighty have fallen April 16, 2005
Dora Bridgemohansingh from Orange Valley was the sugar worker selected as a senator by Basdeo Panday, at our insistence, thus making history. I need point out that although we founders of the ULF were idealists, we unanimously nominated Panday as Opposition Leader after the party won that right.
Bas booted sugar workers, favoured political eunuchs April 09, 2005
Firstly, I need to apologise to a mass of people for claiming last week that the ULF was formed in 1975 by George Weekes, Basdeo Panday and me. The labour alliance that would evolve into a political party one year later was really given life by 25,000-odd people - cane farmers, sugar, oil, electricity and sundry other workers - who had gathered at Skinner Park in San Fernando on February 18, 1975.
Bas finally outsmarts himself April 02, 2005
"As it was in the beginning, So shall it be in the end." Don't ask me what book, chapter or verse in the Bible the above quote comes from. If I am a dunce when it comes to science, I am an even bigger dunce in matters relating to religion.
The house that Eric built March 26, 2005
Twenty-Five years ago, this country's first Prime Minister, Dr Eric Williams, gave up the ghost-voluntarily, in my view-and went to the Great Beyond, wherever that might be, if it does indeed exist.
White House a den of 'fowl t'iefs' March 19, 2005
Last week, on several occasions, in typical Trini-style, "ah laugh till mih belly nearly buss". That was welcome relief from the serious topics I sought to address recently, from the Government's over-use of our oil and gas reserves to our myopia in planning for the future of the country.
Sustainable growth, not egotistical misadventures March 12, 2005
There is no magic to a country like Trinidad and Tobago attaining developed country status, depending on the Government's definition of "developed". If it means consumerism, our people having access to the latest designer clothing, electronic gizmos and two-cars-per-garage, we are almost there.
Define 'developed country' status March 05, 2005
There is no magic to a country like Trinidad and Tobago attaining developed country status, depending on the Government's definition of "developed". If it means consumerism, our people having access to the latest designer clothing, electronic gizmos and two-cars-per-garage, we are almost there.
Killing Carnival not so softly February 26, 2005
When I note the many fiascoes that bedevil our Carnival celebrations every year, and this for at least two decades now, I often wonder what obtained during the days when there was little organisation (and fewer organisations) and more freedom for those whose talents were critical to making ours the best Carnival in the world.
Wining president chooses mob over masses February 19, 2005
Minutes before I decided to attend last Sunday's Panorama, and that was around 4 p.m., as I watched television and listened to the medium bands make sweet music, I witnessed yet another amazing political scene. The cameras shifted focus from the bands and the wildness among patrons to the arrival of the President and his entourage.
It's time to abolish Parliamentary privilege February 12, 2005
Besides the various statutory commissions that are deemed sacrosanct in our Constitution, the other institution that remains above the law, and which ever so often degenerates into boorishness if not outright lawlessness, is Parliament. According to the Constitution, the combination of the House of Representatives and the Senate forms the highest court in the country.
Our constitution is obsolete February 05, 2005
Just about every sensible person in the country recognises that our 30-year-old Constitution needs not just to be reformed but a complete overhaul. I happened to be an elected Member of Parliament when the Republican Constitution became effective in 1976. And even then I saw many flaws in it.
Put Jack in the box January 29, 2005
I agree with fellow columnist George John that journalists ought to have rallied behind Lasana Liburd, the Express sports writer who suffered unwarranted attacks by Jack Warner, and was further denied the privilege of covering the FIFA World Cup by the ruling body's local arm, the TTFF.
Bring Bush to trial as a war criminal January 22, 2005
So, M'lud, I have presented a case for the impeachment of one George Dubya Bush, maybe even for having him charged as a war criminal and brought before the International Criminal Court. The latter would tickle me, because I believe that's where Karl Hudson-Phillips sits as a judge, and I bet he'd love presiding over Dubya's trial rather than be stuck defending the indefensible. May I therefore summarise my arguments?
Iraq before the Philistines attacked January 15, 2005
I came as close to a suicide grenade attack as one could, back in 1980 in Baghdad. A colleague and I were invited to a conference hosted by the PLO to mark its traditional "land day". Hundreds of delegates from around the world were present, including two from Guyana. It was staged at a university in the city, and ran for five to six days.
The Don Quixote of modern warfare January 08, 2005
This year 2006 must be the year in which the American people save themselves and the world from a war criminal and despotic leader, George Bush. If they don't, he'll mislead them far beyond temptation, into the valley of death and destruction; it matters not that in so doing he puts an end to civilisation itself.
We have the capacity to carve a model nation January 01, 2005
It's yet another year that we'd rather forget about. The unsolicited windfall from oil and gas that brought us unprecedented wealth failed to deliver even a modicum of social justice that we have sought since independence. The rich, as they have always done, grew richer, while the poor remained mired in hopelessness, scrambling for the crumbs, for a ten-days here, a meagre increase in salaries there, and facing inflationary pressures that made the few extra dollars they may have earned meaningless.