challenges the Berlin Wall
has the nation reached? Prof Selwyn Cudjoe in The pursuit
of happiness (Guardian, November 30) says in his opening sentence,
The people of T&T are witnessing a decline of our civilisation
which no amount of money can reverse
This assertion and his arguments are worthy of study inside and
outside of the PNM. Indeed, what I wish to call the Cudjoe
declaration ought hopefully to be printed as an internal document
for wide PNM debate.
At the same time, we of the general public cannot remain aloof to
the significance of the professors intervention. Is he saying
that the whole nationalist movement vehicle has gone sour
(as in the political leaders phrase on the Mariano Browne
affair)? Is he distancing himself from the palace guard of, I quote,
an outmoded system that emphasises the divine rights of kings?
Cudjoe declaration needs discussion, examination, criticism,
debate, the taking of sides. Space limitation allows me only limited
further comment, based on his article.
To leave a legacy. The PNM is 50 years old.
What transmission of an institutional memory is there? No party
schools, as in the past? To Ferdie Ferreira, a very sound and careful
analyst, would Dr Cudjoe open an avenue of debate?
Indeed, Cudjoe describes PNMs greatest weakness
as the absence of a sustained intellectual engagement with
its publics. As an operating model, are there any intellectual
currents within todays PNM? If yes, are they closer to Dr
Eric Williams or to Benny Hinn/Reaganite Republicanism?
Borrowing from Selwyn Ryan, who wrote in another context: Much
would however depend on Panday and Manning and how the succession
issue is resolved in both parties. Do members still rise through
party ranks? Conscientious hard work and representation, does it
help? Consider Penelope Beckles.
2. Freedom to express oneself within the party remains the
prerequisite for the integrity of the party. Let think tanks
and party schools emerge; step away from voting by acclamation and
return to a secret ballot.
Prepare for the succession issue but ask whether the
party is now only a mega-corporation complete with venture capital
support and in-built succession channels (eg Salybia
Spa graduates). Ask whether the shareholders (foot-soldiers, Youth
League etc) only exist now for annual general meetingscomplete
(before and after) with ragga-soca rallies, welfare transfers
and a jersey.
With the publication of the Cudjoe declaration, the
professor may have vigorously challenged the Berlin Wall,
and the perceived East German leadership behind it.
Arthur L McShine
Perfect country with perfect PM
live in the perfect country! We have the perfect Prime Minister,
President and ministers of government.
Our country is the utopia of perfectionthere is no crime,
no poverty, no traffic and the healthcare and education systems
are first class.
Everyone is safe and feels protected by the most efficient and caring
The Government has overwhelming popular support. There is no section
of our society which is marginalised.
God bless Prime Minister Manning and President George Maxwell Richards.
Detect learning disabilities early
month we commemorated the International Day of Disabled Persons
(December 3) with a week of activities hosted by the Ministry of
Social Development. Notably absent was any acknowledgment of the
special needs of people with learning disorders.
In light of global research and development trends, Government needs
to put mechanisms in place for the early detection and screening
of children with learning disabilities in schools and implement
intervention programmes to support students within the education
system to ensure the equal opportunity rights to free education
of such people are not infringed.
Research developed in the US and UK emphasises the importance of
implementing early detection and intervention programmes in schools
for students with learning disabilities.
Statistical indicators suggest most children with learning disorders
do not in fact have low IQs. Moreover, with early detection and
intervention programmes these children can achieve academic success
even at tertiary level.
In the US, children with specific learning disorders are protected
by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. From birth to
two years old, special services are provided for infants through
an early intervention system.
Additionally, from three to 21 years old, special education and
related services are provided through the school system.
Likewise in the UK, recommendations have been made for major changes
within the education system.
Available evidence also suggests a correlation between people with
learning disorders and involvement in criminal activity, which is
an additional cause for concern.
There are many types of leaning disorders and they affect different
aspects of the learning process. Some learning disorders cause serious
delays in learning to read. Others may harm spelling, mathematical
or writing abilities.
Some of the more common learning disorders include dyslexia, a reading
disability; dyscalculia, a learning disability in mathematics; dysgraphia,
a learning disability in writing, and attention deficit hyperactivity
Learning disability is a lifelong problem with no cure. However,
with early detection ones chances of managing the problem
and living a fulfilling life is greatly enhanced.
UNC will be the spoiler in 2012
If the comments attributed to Bishnu Ragoonath are taken at their
most literal, we can assume that his political model for T&T
is power at any cost and to hell with governance.
Maybe the unique role of the political analyst at UWI is only to
dissect and advise on election platform issues and not the political
consequences of the populations decisions.
If true, it is a sad reflection on the local members of this learned
profession and deprives us of the studied inputs that are sorely
needed as we seek to throw off the shackles of tribal voting, corruption,
and poor management.
A laymans uneducated view of the situation finds strength
in the fact that where the COP started with a base of zero, it now
has a following of 148,00 while at the same time the UNC lost nearly
90,000 of its base. This was an election where 50,000 more people
voted than in the previous poll.
The myth of the COP as the spoiler has already been scotched by
the EBC numbers and if trends are of any value, the COP is in ascent
and the UNC in decline.
Take Panday out of the formula in 2012 and roll into this numerical
trend the reality that by next elections a large number of new,
young, non-tribal voters will come on to the roll and an equal number
of the old tribal heads will come off, then it is certain that the
COP will be the party to challenge the PNM and the UNC the true
It would be most illuminating if the goodly professor would reveal
the source of the research that led to his comment that some COP
supporters in St Augustine were encouraging people to vote for the
UNC while presumably themselves voting for the COP. Equally interesting
is why only St Augustine.
Ragoonath would be wise to remember that even before we had political
analysts the old people knew that twine is longer than time.
The COPs time will come.
Muslim women inferior to men
general of the Trinidad Muslim League, Azid Ali, in a letter to
the Guardian (Dec 9) tries to suggest that Islam keeps women separate
from men for their own protection.
In Islamic nations, this same argument leads to women not being
able to vote or even drive cars. Women are simply considered inferior
in Islam, despite the contrary claims of both male and female spokesmen.
The Quran states that a male shall inherit twice as
much as a female (Sura 4:11,12), and advises husbands in respect
of their wives that as for those from whom you fear disobedience,
scold them and banish them to a separate bed and whip them
It is therefore not surprising that the only four countries in the
world where women are banned by law from standing for ParliamentKuwait,
Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emiratesare all Muslim.
How to ease East traffic
compliment the Minister of Works on the start of the bridges
at the Grand Bazaar intersection. This should bring some relief
to us motorists, especially those going East and South on afternoons.
However, the traffic coming from the East after Trincity is getting
worse daily. Having analysed this traffic for the last year, I would
like to suggest a low-cost solution to at least ease this traffic.
Most of the traffic is caused by the overflow of the turning lanes
at the intersections at Pasea, UWI, Aranguez and El Socorro.
If those turning lanes were made longer (cutting into the median),
then the traffic travelling from East to West would have a much
smoother flow, since the lanes that are lost to the overflow at
the intersections would be used by this said traffic.
We can stop kidnappings
have always maintained that kidnapping for ransom can be stopped
If a relative was kidnapped, the first thing I would do is take
off all cell phones and shut off all land lines in the house. What
will the kidnappers do? Who will they contact?
Secondly, no money will be paid to them. I cannot trust any kidnapper
to release my relative. There were many kidnappings where ransoms
were paid and people killed.
Finally, have faith. Nothing happens without Gods permission.
In Guyana there were problems where bandits were terrorising citizens.
The people stood up and now there are no more bandits again.
If we decide to live in our shell and say that doesnt
affect me, lawlessness will continue.
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Rajkumar-Maharaj · Updated daily by: Nicholas