Joel Balcon

DEAD: Joel Balcon

It is no secret that Joel Balcon, even though he faced 70 charges, including rape and kidnapping. was free as a bird to pursue his criminal ways. The relevant question is, how come?

Who facilitated his perpetually being “out on bail”? Thanks to the brave young woman who recounted her rape ordeal at the hands of Balcon, the picture becomes a little clearer. Balcon was systematically “protected” by some person or persons higher up within “the system”.

It is also no secret that Balcon “was beaten and died while in the custody of the Special Operations Response Team (SORT)”. Is there a connection? According to an Express editorial, “his killing may have closed off a possible avenue for infiltrating any such network”. I submit that’s exactly why he was killed. Dead men don’t talk. And, apparently, there are some (many?) who would prefer that he didn’t talk. Those involved couldn’t afford the risk of Balcon “singing” and exposing these bastions of society. So, yes, Express, I agree, the SORT has some “sharp questions” to answer, like who gave the order to eliminate Balcon.


Due to a glitch, the wrong Raffique Shah column appeared in yesterday’s Sunday Express. The correct column appears below.

The error is regretted.

IF a brush with death is said to prompt man to reflect more deeply on life, then the Covid-19 pandemic that swooped down on mankind last year, cutting a path of death and destruction such as we had never seen in our lifetime, has also triggered deep thinking on the social contracts that exist among governments and the governed, on how societies are structured to sustain inequality, and on altering such arrangements, replacing them with more equitable alternatives.

EVEN as Trinidad and Tobago joins the world in observing International Women’s Day today it is evident that many women are too busy trying to survive and to stay alive to see the relevance of this day to their lives.

Women’s non-governmental organisations (NGOs) raised the consciousness of women to challenge prevailing myths that spousal abuse, rape and sexual abuse were the fault of women. Feminist NGOs forced public political discourses and attitudinal changes in society’s views on domestic violence and violence against women.

For International Women’s Day, ECLAC (Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean) Caribbean calls on individuals to #choosetochallenge gender inequality and gender-based violence

ECLAC Caribbean is championing the call to elevate the voices who #choosetochallenge gender-based violence (GBV) and gender inequality, as well as limiting beliefs and attitudes about women’s roles in the home, workplace, and society.

Nearly a year ago, on March 12, 2020, Trinidad and Tobago recorded its first Covid-19 case, marking the arrival of the pandemic to the sister-island nation. The ensuing lockdown and other restrictions protected the lives of the nation. However, while these measures safeguarded the people from the virus, it also took, and indeed, is still taking a heavy toll on the livelihoods of the people who have had to adjust to the new realities.

All over the world, women lead. They lead peace processes, run businesses, establish hospitals and schools. They are presidents of countries and corporate boards. They head international and grassroots organisations, faith-based groups and sports teams, labour and environmental movements, often while caring for their families and communities.