UPDATE: Jun 18, 2010
KAMLA: JACK STAYS PUT
FOUR eminent legal counsels hired by the Government have advised Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and her Cabinet that Jack Warner is not breaking any law by simultaneously holding the posts of Works and Transport Minister and vice president of the world football body, FIFA.
PM: If his workload is too much, I’ll act
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner will remain as Minister of Works and Transport, although he holds the post of vice president of the international football body, FIFA.
Jack can hold Cabinet, FIFA posts
Four legal experts, former President Sir Ellis Clarke, Sir Fenton Ramsahoye SC, Sir Michael Beloff QC and Russell Martineau SC all unanimously agree that there are no laws which prohibit Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner from serving as Works and Transport Minister and as a FIFA vice-president. The issue was raised by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley. The opinions of the four legal luminaries are published below and on Pages 18A, 20A.
Experts: No law against Warner serving two posts
There are no legal obstacles to Jack Warner’s carrying out the functions of Works and Transport Minister while serving as an executive at world governing body, Fifa.
AG’s legal experts say Works Minister has broken no law with two jobs
Jack Warner can keep his two posts. His is free to pursue both his position as Works and Transport Minister in the People’s Partnership administration and Vice-President of Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA).
Kamla keeps Jack in Cabinet
The Government’s boss has spoken—and she’s keeping Jack Warner as Works Minister, Fifa post and all.
Conflict of interest unlikely
Following is Sir Ellis Clarke’s opinion on the issue of Jack Warner being Minister of Works and Transport while simultaneously serving as vice-president of FIFA. Sir Ellis had been engaged by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan to give his opinion on the matter.
Jack Warner’s dual roles
The legitimacy of Jack Warner’s appointment as Minister of Works and Transport while simultaneously holding the position of vice president of FIFA and directorship of Concacaf has raised political and constitutional issues of some magnitude.
Rowley dismisses legal opinions
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley is dismissing the opinions of four independent attorneys on the Jack Warner controversy as irrelevant.
Jack Warner Keeps His Two Posts
UPDATE: Jun 17, 2010
Prime Minister Mrs. Persad-Bissessar has determined that Jack Warner is free to hold his two positions as Works and Transport Minister and Vice-President of FIFA.
Legal minds concur that no laws have been broken with regards to the dual roles of Jack Warner as Works and Transport Minister and as FIFA Vice-President. Attorney General Anand Ramlogan revealed the findings at today’s Post-Cabinet Media Briefing.
In addition to the services of Russell Martineau SC, Sir Fenton Ramsahoye QC, and Michael Beloff QC, the Attorney General also turned to former President Sir Ellis Clarke who is regarded as the grandfather of the Trinidad and Tobago constitution. Sir Ellis Clarke said that it is difficult to see how a conflict of interest is likely to arise as a result of a Cabinet Minister being a Vice President of FIFA. But Sir Ellis noted another issue. He says the practical question, on the other hand, is can a person give adequate attention to the duties of Cabinet Minister if he is also Vice President of FIFA?
In his correspondence Sir Ellis notes that it is not a matter for the Integrity Commission to decide but rather a matter for the Prime Minister.
Noted Privy Council jurist Michael Beloff QC, has concluded that there is nothing in the law of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago or the Ethics Code to require Mr. Warner to resign from his unpaid part time role with FIFA. He holds the opinion that Mr. Warner’s position at FIFA is beneficial to Trinidad and Tobago. He stated that Mr. Warner’s high office in the international body is calculated to bring prestige to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago rather than to damage its interest.
Speaking at a press conference, Prime Minister Mrs. Persad-Bissessar said that after careful consideration of the advice of the attorneys Mr. Warner has broken no law and it is a matter of work ethics as such. She said there is no reason why Mr. Warner can’t keep both positions. The Prime Minister said that she has weighed all the views and she was of the view that there is no reason for Mr. Warner to step down or for his appointment to be revoked.
The Prime Minister said she isn’t worried by those who would disagree with her position. She said that we cannot continue to live B.C.; the world has changed and there is so much more to gain from the kind of contacts that Mr. Warner has and what he can bring to Trinidad and Tobago.
Must Jack Choose Between FIFA and Cabinet?
June 05, 2010
Rowley Cries Foul on Warner
MOMENTS after receiving his instrument of appointment at the country’s new Opposition Leader, from President George Maxwell Richards at Knowsley in Port-of-Spain, People’s National Movement (PNM) Diego Martin West MP Dr Keith Rowley jokingly remarked that he would have preferred to have been reporting to the President as the country’s Prime Minister instead.
Rowley later went straight for the political jugular of the Government, disclosing he will write to the Integrity Commission to say whether it was proper for Jack Warner to serve as Works Minister while remaining as FIFA’s vice-president.
Fifa or T&T Cabinet!
Minutes after receiving his instrument of appointment yesterday, new Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley demanded that Works and Transport Minister Jack Warner, who is also a vice-president of Fifa, give up one of the jobs.
Jack must choose
Opposition Leader Rowley to write Integrity Commission: Works Minister cannot also be FIFA vice president
Jack: I am not as easy a bait as Manning was
‘I am not an easy target,’ Jack Warner, Minister of Works and Transport, said last night in response to statements by new Opposition Leader, Dr Keith Rowley, that he would be brought before the Integrity Commission.
55 thoughts on “Jack can hold Cabinet and FIFA posts”
THE EDITOR: The issue of whether Jack Warner should be a Minister of Government and retain his FIFA posts is a ticklish one. If it is illegal to do so then there is no issue — he must give up one or the other. If it is not illegal, some say he must choose; many more say he should not have to. Clearly, whatever decision he makes will not please everybody.
I’m sure we can all rattle off the names of (former) ministers who held no other posts (the cynics would argue that no one else would offer them a job) but yet accomplished little or nothing during their tenure. Would you rather a minister who is available 24/7 (none was), gives 100 percent (none did) but does nothing of benefit to the people, or one who gives 50 percent of his time but achieves much more? Also remember that, for most, 100 percent is an eight-hour day; for Warner, 50 percent is a 10-hour day.
I am certain that the people who voted for Warner don’t care what posts he holds in addition to being a Minister. Those posts did not stop him from becoming the best-performing, most-loved MP we have had in decades. The proof is in the results — he garnered the most votes in the entire election without campaigning in his constituency.
Mr Warner’s duties in FIFA are transparent for all to see. But we can imagine (former) ministers who have interests in properties/companies and we have no idea how much time they spent on their private rather than the people’s business. At least, in Warner’s case, he does not pretend that he had no other interests.
The region stands to benefit from Warner’s role in FIFA. The country stands to benefit from Warner being Minister of Works. Why should we deny either of these groups the benefit of his expertise and drive? He should not be forced to choose. Once in a long while an individual like Jack Warner comes along and we would be foolish not to utilise his talents to the fullest.
While others will intellectualise about a problem and do nothing, Warner will test it out with a plausible solution. If it doesn’t work, fine — he goes back to the status quo and tries again. By the same token, I suggest we cut Jack some slack. Allow him to mix and match his ministerial and FIFA duties as he and the Prime Minister see fit. If it works, we would all benefit. If it doesn’t I am confident he will make the appropriate choices and adjustments.
The suggestions as laid out in this letter makes a lot of sense to me.In addition,many of the premature tough anti government,might do well to step back ,and give them a bit of breathing room to prove themselves moving forward.Most more advanced countries refer to it as a grace period.
This seemingly contentious FIFA/Ministry of Works ,double dipping ssue,might well turn out to be a win/win situaton for the government ,Uncle Jack,and the country,if more of us to bury the emotionalism,,and put a bit of reason into the debate.
The government still have to be wary of opening a ‘pandoras box’ here however,but if anyone can pull off a maricle ,uncle Jack can,and as for Madam Kamla? I won’t want to bet against that woman. She is living proof that alll things are possible.
I hope for his sake cousin Barrack Obama, and hislegal beagle , yuppie wife, patant that expression”yes we can,”for Madam K,her PPP,and followers ,took it to a whole new level.
It’s a new day,and I am getting quite excited.Perhaps it’s the sight of our Minister of Works at the SA world cup arm in arm with global leaders such as UN’s Ban kin Moon, US VP Joe BIden,and a grateful Desmond TuTu,all the while giving props to his country,and touting our fine democracy,while expounding it’s possible economic virtues.
Long live the people of T&T,and long live the Unitary Republic of Trinidad & Tobago!
Lord,that has such a sweet ,and contagious ring to it ,huh?
By Robin Montano
Saturday, June 12th 2010
I went on national television and radio on Wednesday morning and commented (inter alia) on the matter involving Jack Warner before the Integrity Commission had pronounced on it. Frankly, nothing that the Integrity Commission said has made me change my mind. Indeed, the Commission’s apparent rush to judgement on this issue has me very concerned as to its integrity and impartiality.
First of all, there is no requirement on a cabinet minister (or anybody else) to divest himself of his private interests. In other words, though desirable, there is no requirement for an individual to place his assets in a trust (blind or otherwise) when he becomes a minister.
What is required is that an individual make a complete disclosure of all of his interests to the Integrity Commission at such time and at intervals as is required by the legislation.
Further, it is clear that an individual cannot work in a job where there is potential for a conflict of interest. So for example, for reasons that ought to be obvious, a practising lawyer must give up his practice when he becomes a minister.
Dr Rowley and the People’s National Movement (PNM) have made the point that if Mr Warner is allowed to keep his FIFA vice presidency then where will it stop?
It has been touted that it would then be acceptable for Mr Dookeran, for example, to accept a post abroad. With the greatest respect, this is comparing apples with oranges and is typical of the neo-colonialist thinking that has so hobbled us for the last four decades.
First of all, FIFA is an NGO (non-governmental organisation) that does not exist for profit but for promoting football. Full stop. If Mr Dookeran were, for example, to be offered a position on the executive of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) I would urge him to accept it. Trinidad and Tobago could only benefit from it. But if Mr Dookeran were to be offered, while a minister, a seat on the board of, say, Toyota or General Motors, then clearly that would be a horse of a very different colour.
Further still, didn’t Mr Manning and his government (and by extension Dr Rowley who would have been a member of the cabinet when the decision was taken to do so) host two big international conferences last year which cost us a billion dollars or more?
And didn’t the then prime minister and his supporters put forward the argument that one of the benefits to these two expensive conferences was that they would permit our leaders to meet with world leaders and as a result there would be a host of intangible benefits coming to the country? Well, Jack Warner, as vice president of FIFA, can talk to any world leader for free!
Incidentally, it is most interesting that nobody has been able to say, up to now, where exactly there would or could be a conflict of interest between the FIFA and ministerial positions of Mr Warner. The truth is that none exists.
Forgive me, but this attack is typical of small-minded, neo-colonial and petty men.
The Integrity Commission would be more believable if it pronounced with equal alacrity on the host of serious issues before it, e.g., Landate, the Police Commissioner’s permission to the PNM to demonstrate outside Parliament when a no-confidence motion was being debated, the question of the former prime minister appointing his wife as a minister, the Guanapo church, etc.
The Integrity Commission’s haste to deal with this issue, while pointedly leaving other very serious issues alone, must raise ugly and very unnecessary suspicions in the minds of all right thinking people.
When I see a demonstrated fairness in its approach to all of the issues before it then the Integrity Commission will get my respect. But what it has done here leaves me with the belief that it has been less than fair, less than impartial, and less than thoughtful.
It is to Trinidad and Tobago’s advantage that Jack Warner stay exactly where he is on both counts. If and when it is no longer to our advantage then we can and will deal with it.
* Robin Montano, a former UNC senator, is an attorney.
Robin’s argument would hold except for the fact that FIFA while being formally classified as an NGO is really a big, very big billion dollar business selling football all over the world. the world cup 2010 tournament for example is projected to earn $2B US. The FIFA presidents, vice presidents etc. earn huge “stipends” that most executives of commercial outfits could only dream of as salaries.
Robin states “Further, it is clear that an individual cannot work in a job where there is potential for a conflict of interest.” With this kind of dinero, don’t you think that there is an enormous potential for conflict of interest?
Politics of distraction?
By Peter O’Connor
Sunday, June 13 2010 – newsday.co.tt
This has been a week of “breaking news”, and actually this is the second writing of this column, the first, I thought ready to go, when the Integrity Commission issued their “advisory” on the Jack Warner alleged conflict of interest issue.
Before I continue this, I should state, in case there is anyone who does not know this, that I have been a friend and working colleague of Jack Warner since 1974. So, now to the issue:
The issue of Jack Warner’s service position in FIFA, an International Sports Association, appears not to be addressed in our Integrity Legislation or Parliamentary Code of Ethics. When these documents were drafted they really were addressing concerns about monetary gain and activity in businesses, consultancies and the like.
When Jack Warner formally entered politics in 2007, as a candidate, he was already a vice president of FIFA, and president of CONCACAF, CFU, and an “Adviser” to the TT Football Federation. As an Opposition Member of Parliament, these “offices” did not represent a conflict of interest.
When, in 2010, the People’s Partnership won the election, with Jack Warner retaining his seat with the widest margin in history, everyone expected him to be appointed a Cabinet Minister. This was largely due to his strong work ethic, organisational capability, and the fact that he had led the drives which saw Kamla Persad-Bissessar replace the UNC party founder as Political Leader of the UNC and then the rout of Manning and the PNM in the general election.
Warner had been variously tipped to take several ministries, including Sports, Foreign Affairs and Finance. But people close to him can attest to the fact that he was not seeking a cabinet position, preferring to continue his role with FIFA, in service to the Caribbean and the wider CONCACAF region. He had said that he felt his mission was accomplished when he led the drive to remove the PNM.
Anyway, the party prevailed upon him to accept the ministry which would be best suited to his organisational capabilities and achievement oriented approach to solving nuisance issues — Works and Transport. All along he maintained that he would retain his FIFA position, serving his earlier and wider community. He did say that he would reduce his FIFA activities.
Now, nothing in Jack Warner’s holding the FIFA office while he serves us as a Minister constitutes a “de-facto” conflict of interest, where he could use one office to benefit himself in the other office. Indeed, the nation felt, and apparently still feels, that Jack is ideally suited for the position of Minister of Works and Transport. When he showed up at the Ministry on June 1, he received a reception never accorded any minister in any ministry in all of our history. The people who would be working for him, and knowing he would be retaining his FIFA position, rallied to his arrival, almost begging to be allowed to get up and begin serving the people of Trinidad and Tobago. It was the most heartening sign I have seen in terms of a positive beginning to problem solving and better governance.
Another thing that we all know is that Jack, even if he were “burdened” by FIFA duties, will make a better, more proactive, and more effective Minister of Works and Transport than any candidate we can name — and certainly far, far superior to the previous minister.
Enter Keith Rowley, who desperately needed a card to play. Indeed, the confirmation of “PM” referring to Prime Minister Patrick Manning in the ever rising Guanapo Church scandal was another nail in the PNM’s decaying coffin. The revelations about the houses in South Trinidad cracking apart (these are close to Patrick Manning’s “seismic fault zone” at Tarouba, so that may soon be trotted out as the reason for the cracks!) reflected badly on Rowley’s tenure as former Housing Minister. So, Rowley asked the Integrity Commission to rule on Warner’s position — was it a conflict of interest? His request provided tremendous distraction from all the other issues.
It also caused great fumbling within the new government, the Prime Minister seeming totally unsure of herself, and instead of waiting for the Integrity Commission to rule, copped out by saying Mr Warner would know what to do. But it should be her call on “what to do”. She appointed Warner, knowing the situation, and she will have to, should she want him out, dismiss him.
However, the Commission did not “rule” — it offered a weak suggestion, which now needs clarification.
In the meantime, I, like the whole country, am hoping that Warner holds on, and that we get back to more important issues than this indefinable conflict of interest suggestion.
Jack, Draper positions different
PM judge and jury in Jack’s case
By R Persad Maharaj
Tuesday, June 15 2010
The Integrity Commission has done the most it can do. It has no right or duty to interfere with the exercise of the Prime Minister’s function to choose her Ministers of Government.
The Prime Minister alone is the judge and jury in this matter. She sets her own criteria for selection of Ministers within the general framework. This practice is established in the British tradition.
The code of conduct for Ministers of Government in Trinidad and Tobago must be understood in the light of changing circumstances which do not necessarily detract from the gravity of the code itself.
The divesting of private interests by a Minister must be looked at in its proper context and a literal interpretation of its meaning is a simplistic approach to making a decision on a matter which would never have been contemplated when the Integrity Commission was established.
One must look further into the provisions of the code of conduct for Ministers to see whether the private interests held by Mr Warner would conflict with his duties as a Minister or would instead, bring benefit to Trinidad and Tobago without bringing himself into conflict with his ministerial duties so as to challenge or damage his integrity. This is the main consideration in deciding whether or not Mr Warner should hold both offices.
One must be very objective and apply the thinking of what a reasonable man would do in the circumstances and it is only if and when that conflict arises then the Integrity Commission can interfere.
Until then, it should not even advise Mr Warner. Let him carry out his responsibility without fear or favour.
When the laws were established for the Integrity Commission nobody thought that a citizen who is a Minister of Government would hold such an enviable and exalted office in the world which could bring enormous benefit to Trinidad and Tobago. Nobody could have envisaged this twist of fate.
Such laws were meant to apply to businessmen like Mr Rahael or Mr Hunt or Mr Narace who were in business and were supposed to give up their interests before serving in the Cabinet.
It might also have included the former Prime Minister who used his position to appoint his wife as a Minister of Government. But this is different from Mr Warner’s position.
There is legal authority for the proposition that Ministers must not hold directorship in public companies or engage in speculative investments in respect of which information acquired in their official capacities might be beneficial though they are not required to dispose of all private shareholdings. But this is different from Mr Warner’s position.
The principles are flexible enough to accommodate special cases when it appears to the Prime Minister expedient to do so, (see Constitutional and Administrative law by the De Smith and Brazier 6th Ed at page 181.)
In 1964 Mr Frank Cousins became Minister of Technology in England and was allowed to retain his office as General Secretary of the Transport and General Works Union on indefinite leave. When he resigned from office he resumed his duties.
Unless and until there is a likelihood of a conflict arising Mr Warner ought not to be punished for the sake of a principle of good governance which is not harmed in any way, especially since he was elected to parliamentary office by overwhelming support and enjoys the confidence of a vast majority of our population who trust his Integrity and his personal code of conduct. Every case ought to be looked at on its own merits.
Warner: I have broken no law
Big welcome at Piarco Airport…
‘I’ll listen to legal experts’
Minister of Works Jack Warner yesterday promised to abide by any advice received by the Attorney General Anand Ramlogan from the three top lawyers hired to consider whether or not Warner is in any conflict of interest by also being Fifa vice president.
Jack goes to the people
While Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley took the matter of Jack Warner’s dual positions to the Integrity Commission and Attorney General Anand Ramlogan took it to three prominent attorneys, Works Minister and FIFA Vice-President, Jack Warner yesterday took his case directly to the people.
Either one or the other, Mr Warner
One of the sure signs of a politically mature nation , is when it’s people do not have to hide behind opaque laws , and or depend on outdated , sometimes irrelevant constitutions to decide on every issue , some -like this case- of which can be easily addressed if the folks involved, had an ethical bone in their entire bodies.
These neo colonial jokers of all genders, race, and social castes, love to boast about how wonderful Mother England is , but fail to recognize that they have been prodding along for centuries without a written constitution.
FIFA is an NGO?
What a bunch of idiots!It why I despise most of these pompous , phony ,allegedly learned lawyers.
PM reports on Jack today
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar will today disclose the advice of three legal experts on whether Jack Warner has to give up either of his positions as Works and Transport Minister or FIFA vice president.
No conflict in Warner issue
Three options for PM in Warner issue
WASTE OF TIME. Dr. Rowley has wasted the people’s time and money Shame on him for that fishing expedition and red herring. Dr. Rowley should spend his time coming up with ideas to assist the new government to fix the country and rebuild from the mess PNM made during their administration.
The question never was whether Jack can do two jobs! The legal minds (constitution framer included) always maintained that it was not stated in the constitution that it would be a conflict but the ethical framework for such service asked that those vying for those positions must not appear to be also engaged or participates in another job a decision he makes have an effect in the organization that he holds an office. This makes the question an ethical one and not a legal case, and that is why the clarification of the Integrity Commision and not the JLSC was sought for guidance. The PM or AG can go against such stipulations and there is no law to stop them. But it is registered that the Opposition Leader was astute enough not to have allowed this behaviour to go unchallenged.
AG: No war with Integrity Commission
ATTORNEY GENERAL Ananad Ramlogan has assured the population that there is no war between the Government and the Integrity Commission over the issue about whether it was right for Jack Warner to hold the posts of Works and Transport Minister and FIFA vice-president.
Dookeran has door ajar for Rowley
Finance Minister Winston Dookeran says Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley should engage himself in the conversation on new politics in T&T.
Panday on Warner issue: It’s all about ethics
Of conflict of interest and Mr Jack Warner
‘Jack should choose’
WORKS and Transport Minister Jack Warner should choose between his Cabinet position and his long-standing office as a FIFA vice-president, the chairman of the country’s Integrity Commission has said.
Martin Daly: Institutional credibility
While therefore I have no problem with Dr Rowley raising the matter of Mr Warner’s two offices with the Commission, it was only open to the Commission to receive the matter as a complaint and investigate it. Then it was incumbent upon the Commission to contact Mr Warner and hear what he had to say. It did not do so.
It came to a conclusion without reference to Mr Warner, having apparently not learned from the past mistake relating to Dr Rowley. Public bodies must limit their activities to the jurisdiction that they have and must comply with the basic rules of fairness, regardless of the personalities with whom they are dealing.
However, the Commission, again without any jurisdiction- it has none over Parliament-went on to refer to the Parliamentary Code of Ethics. Strangely it did not quote the provisions for all to see as it did in the case of the Integrity in Public Life Act.
The statement nevertheless made reference to an alleged requirement that Cabinet Ministers divest themselves of their private interests upon their assumption of public office. In my research I have been unable to find this requirement in the Parliamentary Code of Ethics.
I have already indicated publicly that I consider the statement to be legally unsound. The Commission was out of line and I am further disappointed that the Chairman is persisting in error in making more public statements about Mr Warner, his activities and his ’power’. That is for Parliament and politics. The Integrity Commission is in neither one.
Full Article : trinidadexpress.com
This we do believe
Whether he intended it or not, Opposition Leader Keith Rowley, did the country a service by raising as he did the issue of the propriety of the dual roles held by Jack Warner. His action launched a widespread debate in the country the likes of which we have scarce witnessed before and not for a very long time.
What conflict of interest?
I would like to add my voice to the debate on conflict of interest regarding the Minister of Works and Transport. One of my favourite columnists recently propounded the widely accepted test, made famous by one of our calypsoes, “how it go look?”
Warner calls on St Cyr to ‘resign immediately’
The Chairman with his admission of pastorship of a church must therefore now recuse himself from any involvement in the Guanapo chaos. Moreover the Chairman must avoid expressing personal opinions that may be misconstrued as being that of the Integrity Commission.
Warner calls on St Cyr to resign
Works and Transport Minister Jack Warner has asked Integrity Commission chairman Eric St Cyr to resign after he commented on Warner’s positions as a Government minister and a FIFA official.
Warner wants St Cyr’s head
WORKS and transport Minister Jack Warner yesterday called for the resignation of Integrity Commission chairman, Dr Eric St Cyr, for expressing the view that Warner could not also serve as FIFA vice-president and a Government Minister.
Warner prevails but Rowley’s not wrong
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