Wednesday 12th December, 2007

Law made simple
Sports Arena
Business Guardian
Online Community
Death Notices
Classified Ads
Jobs in T&T
Contact Us
Privacy Policy


Cudjoe challenges the ‘Berlin Wall’

Where 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 professor’s intervention. Is he saying that the whole nationalist movement vehicle has “gone sour” (as in the political leader’s 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?”

“The Cudjoe declaration” needs discussion, examination, criticism, debate, the taking of sides. Space limitation allows me only limited further comment, based on his article.

1. “…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 PNM’s “greatest weakness” as “the absence of a sustained intellectual engagement with its publics.” As an operating model, are there any intellectual currents within today’s 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 meetings—complete (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

Via e-mail

Perfect country with perfect PM

We live in the perfect country! We have the perfect Prime Minister, President and ministers of government.

Our country is the utopia of perfection—there 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 Police Service.

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.

Wendell Ramoutar

[email protected]

Detect learning disabilities early

THIS 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 disorder.

Learning disability is a lifelong problem with no cure. However, with early detection one’s chances of managing the problem and living a fulfilling life is greatly enhanced.

Zeeska Lee

Via e-mail

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 population’s 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 layman’s 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 spoiler.

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 COP’s time will come.

Nigel Darwent


Muslim women inferior to men

President 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 Qu’ran 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” (Sura 4:33).

It is therefore not surprising that the only four countries in the world where women are banned by law from standing for Parliament—Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates—are all Muslim.

Elton Singh



How to ease East traffic

I 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.

David Johnson



We can stop kidnappings

I have always maintained that kidnapping for ransom can be stopped in Trinidad.

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 God’s 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 doesn’t affect me,” lawlessness will continue.

Sharon Davis

San Fernando

Talk your mind

Letters via post should be sent to the


22-24 St Vincent Street,


Faxes: 625-7211.

E-mail:[email protected]

©2005-2006 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

Designed by: Randall Rajkumar-Maharaj · Updated daily by: Nicholas Attai