Saturday, October 25, 2014


No winners in OWTU protest

THE Trinidad and Tobago public likely cannot help thinking that Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union president general Ancel Roget, in the much-quoted Shakespearean expression, “doth protest too much”. Read More »

One weekend of high drama

WHAT really happened in this nation last weekend? If the preamble leading up to last Sunday was to be believed, it was going to be “hell and powderhouse”. With everybody all CHIKV-ed to the limit, the mood wasn’t all that tolerant. If things never fell apart before, it was certain to happen, according to “the voice of the people”. Our fate seemed to be in the hands of two men from beyond our borders who seemed to have the ability to overthrow the ordinary and put in place their own extraordinary. Read More »

Pandemic pandemonium

The implications of the 2014 Ebola outbreak are catastrophic to say the least. The breath of the crisis was brought to the fore last month when 130 countries co-sponsored Resolution 2177 in the United Nations Security Council, “urging immediate action” to “end the isolation of affected states”. Read More »

Astroturf and sockpuppets

Anyone who ever played on artificial grass, known as “AstroTurf”, knows that if you fall, skate or trip on the stuff you get badly burnt and bruised, and it takes long to heal. This is not the major reason that the practice of masking the real originators or sponsors of a message to make it look like it came from grassroots or ordinary people is known as “Astroturfing” but it does add the pain factor. Read More »

Wake-up call to the war on terror

Just as the barbarians were historically able to breach the gates of civilised cities, it is a paradox of modern liberal societies that they must grant to individuals the freedom to embrace bigoted and repressive beliefs which are antithetical to that very society. Read More »

The fast and the spurious

Last week, I began a hunger strike. But, unlike Wayne Kublalsingh and Ravi Balgobin Maharaj, I am doing so for a cause far more important than any highway and, consequently, my action has been far more drastic. So today I publicly announce that, for the past seven days, I have not eaten doubles, beef pies, or KFC. Read More »

Illness of the bended walker

Used to contracting some version of influenza, especially post-Carnival, the population here seems to take viruses in its stride; you get sick with fever, coughing, congestion and ride it out with pharmaceuticals and/or bush medicines then recover to tell the tale of how awful you felt. Read More »

The price of progress

AFTER four weeks of dodging chikungunya, battling mosquitoes from Chaguaramas to Carapo, I’m still standing…and so is Wayne Kublalsingh! But, Lord, I hope he doesn’t die before this gets into print, because I’ve been dreading that tragic end more than CHIKV. Read More »

A Divali wish

Another Divali has arrived, bringing with it the eternal hope that light will spread over the land and dispel every area of darkness. Brought to the Caribbean by indentured Hindus from India, Divali’s popularity has spread exponentially since being declared a public holiday in 1966. Today, it enjoys broad national acceptance with communities all over the country coming together in celebration, both religious and secular. Divali’s theme of light triumphant over darkness resonates with everyone with a universality and inclusivity that make it accessible to all. Read More »

The Chinese-Trinidadian narrative

In my last column, about Fr de Verteuil’s new book on the Jews in Trinidad, I mentioned that the smaller ethnic minorities in T&T were beginning to develop their own narratives of their past. This includes the Chinese-descended community. This process really began with the celebration of the bicentenary of Chinese arrival in 2006. (Just under 200 Chinese men were brought here in 1806, part of efforts to find new sources of plantation labour with the impending British abolition of their transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans.) Read More »

Making sense of the news

One of the things I make my business is to read “the news’’. I read mostly the local news and what is called “world news’’. For some time now, I find I don’t particularly like to read it in hard copy; I prefer to read it online—on a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone. I find it very convenient. Scrolling and swiping are faster and easier than page-turning; visibility is sharper; I have ready access to complementary audio and video clips; I can find articles far more easily; I can copy and paste; Read More »

Cudjoe’s cokey eye

When you “cokey eye’’ you don’t see clearly. Prof Selwyn Cudjoe, like many Caribbean intellectuals, refuses to see Cuba in totality. I have acknowledged that Cuba has an impressive health and education system but I maintain it constitutes suppression of the human spirit if you are qualified in medicine and other fields but are not allowed to express yourself freely, especially if your views run contrary to Castro’s dictatorship; it is terrible oppression if you don’t enjoy democratic rights like ownership of property, freedom of political association and artistic and journalistic liberty. Read More »

Hunger strike stirs query: Is it for real?

More than five weeks since his pledge of abstaining from food and water for a cause, Wayne Kublalsingh’s death-defying mission appears to be heading for some kind of climax. The cause of calling attention to the Mon Desir/Debe highway segment, and the Government’s intractability, if not bad faith, has certainly been advanced so far, however, to no concrete result. Read More »

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