Unlimited Liability

By Raffique Shah
October 15, 2011

Raffique ShahNOT surprisingly, Jack Warner is back in the international news—for all the wrong reasons. When he resigned as one of the most powerful men in FIFA earlier this year, Warner probably thought he had buried his past in the murky waters of Lake Zurich.

But that was not to be. FIFA is not the kind of “brotherhood” from which principal players simply walk away. If or when they do, they are expected to maintain “omerta”, the ancient Sicilian code of silence that FIFA has cleverly combined with the Swiss code of banking secrecy.

I thought Jack had complied with these unwritten rules. Since the football faeces hit the fan last year, in the run-up to Sepp Blatter’s bid for re-election as president, Jack has maintained a stony silence. He uttered not a word about South Africa’s failed bid to stage the 2006 World Cup, which Germany won by a single vote. Nor has he said anything about why, after he hugged and kissed Prince William, David Cameron and David Beckham, he shafted England in their $200 million bid to host World Cup 2018.

No, sir, not Jack. Even when my colleagues in the media poked him about ticket scams in 2006, he cussed, but let nothing secret out of his beanstalk. All he would say is, “In the fullness of time…” Maybe that loaded response, which suggests that sometime in the future he may deal with Blatter, his one-time confidante Chuck Blazer, and other FIFA jefes, is what sealed his fate.

Why else would someone on high choose last week to release a video-clip that appeared to place Jack at the centre of the bin Hammam bribery scandal? It could not be that they wanted to nail some Caribbean “small fry” for accepting US$40,000 each from the Qatari aspirant-turned-pariah. FIFA has such a grip on all aspects of the world’s most lucrative sporting discipline, its executive could fry the Caribbean fish in their own fat, if you get my drift.

I think the reason is Blatter wants to have Jack removed from the corridors of power here in Trinidad and Tobago. You see, this latest piece of evidence that implicates Jack puts Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar in a pickle.

In its 16 months in office, the People’s Partnership Government has generated a scandal a month. That’s more than the unlamented Patrick Manning regime managed in its truncated eight years in power.

The PM can ill-afford another scandal—and that’s what this video-clip has dropped in her lap. Kamla said she has referred the video and the transcript to the Attorney General for advice. However, the PM is herself an attorney, and she admitted to have viewed the video and listened to its contents. She knows that it contains damning implications for Jack, and by extension, for her Government.

Jack has now become an unlimited liability to the ruling coalition. Worse for him, this latest in a string of allegations of impropriety comes at a time when Dr Eric St Cyr resigned as chairman of the Integrity Commission. St Cyr did not commit any offence of note. His sin was he did not know when to shut up, as the late CLR James used to say. He spoke out of turn, not for the first time. Sending St Cyr back to the pulpit is punishment enough for a wayward pastor who strayed into the wrong pasture.

Irony of ironies, though, there was Warner fulminating about St Cyr’s sins, advising his one-time lecturer to resign. And when the pastor did, Jack said, “Good riddance!” Is this guy for real? I mean, here he is facing allegations of impropriety a hundred times worse than what St Cyr was accused of, but he chooses to pass judgment on the man.

If anything, Jack should have resigned ten football scandals ago. Long before he was a minister, he had abused British journalist Andrew Jennings on-camera. Jennings went on to show the world, via the BBC, Jack’s “bad boy” conduct. And he published a series of very serious allegations against “arkse yuh mudder!” that have gone unanswered.

Which raises another angle to the Jack-saga: in the face of all these statements and published articles that have alleged serious misconduct on his part, why has he never sued a journalist, or the Daily Mail or the BBC? Only last May, Lord Triesman of England, appearing before a parliamentary committee in London, said that Jack requested or demanded a significant sum of money from England’s FA as that country pursued its World Cup 2018 bid.

Jack denied the charge, although he admitted to having sought funding for a facility in Longdenville from his English suitors. But he never sued Triesman. Why? If any British Lord, or even a Trini-calypso-Lord, sought to sully my name, I would sue him. But I am a “scrunter” while Jack is well-heeled. He does not need the money, and maybe he does not care about his character.

Now, however, he must care. The long arm of FIFA has reached out to crush him, destroy his political career, his ambition to be Prime Minister, in a most sinister way. The leaked video is damning. It’s posted on the Internet. It is taking more hits than a Rihanna chart-topper. And it’s portraying Trinidad and Tobago in poor light.

Can we afford to carry this brother any further, or is he too heavy a burden for us to bear? That’s a question the Prime Minister must answer, and soon.

16 thoughts on “Unlimited Liability”

  1. This is a case where a people has to show maturity in public affairs and deal with it “without fear or favour”. Jack has obviously provoked the ire of FIFA,local football associations, the Opposition, rational thinking people and even people of his own party, yet he continues to go on his merry way under the guise that “he is the hardest working minister”. Is this what a true and emerging democracy wants its young citizens to believe, that a leading member of its execute has to be protected under any pretext or evidence of wrong doing? I submit it is not strength but cowardice that our leaders would rather have us believe that a man who evidence shows is dishonest, mis-leading, manipulative and partisan is what we need to shove in the face of reality and governance. While he is evidently a hard working man, he is NOT above the law. If democracy is to be sustained and maintained, its legitimacy must be shown in the processes in place to deal with wrongdoing by public officials. While evidence put in the public domain has caricatured him as a man who breaks the law, who in his drive for power has ran over his opponents, showed extensive love for those who believe in him, has a penchant for getting things done, has in his closet many behavours that is suspect yet, he remains in the public eye pretending that everything is ok as long as he performs. We have yet to see a process by which he may be given an opportunity to absolve himself of any charges or misconceptions of his behaviour. The government obviously protects him and he is not made to publicly account for behaviour which he is suspect. There is NOTHING in law which says that because a man is a hard worker he should not be made to face his accusers to restore his innocence.

  2. Every political party is said to have a bagman, either the man holding the bag of dirty secrets of the others that he can hold over their heads thrateningly, or a man who holds the bag of money that funds projects and made the party able to afford the slick advertising that got them elcted, and from which bag dividends are distributed to keep others quiet an din line. There ae a few times in history when both bagmen are combined in one ndividual. Warner seems to be that combined bagman who has made himself untouchable, both within the party and in the public at large. Kamla’s only method of getting rid of jack may be to demand the resignation of the entire cabinet, resign herself and call a new election. Ifthey are doing such agood job, reelection would be certain. At least, doin this would get rid of the ideathat she is a coward, too sickly to govern, who des not know her own mind, and who is deathly afraid of JAck’s bag of secrets, and the withdrawal of his largesse.
    Jack cannot sue his accusers because things said under oath would be important, and Jack would come out as the loser.
    Or, she could throw the dice, and fire Jack, and call his bluff.

  3. Here is a scenario to consider.

    Did Jack bring the US dollars into the country? No. The money was allegedly brought in by bin Hamman.

    Did Jack break currency laws? Apparently not, since it was not his money.

    Did Jack offer the “bribes”? Apparently not, since the offers were described as gifts.

    Did these “gifts” oblige the representatives to vote for bin Hamman? Apparently not, since Jack stated that they were under no obligation to vote for bin Hamman.

    Did Jack clarify the purpose of the $40000 offer? Yes, the money was to be used to develop their programs in some way.

    Is Jack guilty of breaking any laws? You decide.
    Final questions: Who is responsible for bugging the room at the Hyatt Regency? Who benefitted financially from selling this videotape to the London Telegraph? How many other tapes have been made of important meetings in T&T?

    1. C’mon TMan I know that you can do better than that! Your reasoning is flawed, you cannot get a kindergarten to agree with that. HGow do you know that he did not bring the money? To say using the word ‘gift’ instead of money is a little infantile. In this world of subterfuge and corruption paper can mean pen and pen can mean paper.

  4. Bin Hmman could not have brought the money into the country, because as Jack previously said, Blatter gave the money to Jack, to be used as he saw fit, and bin Hamman was not at the Miami meeting, because the US denied him a visa, tht is why he had to come to Trinidad to meet with the regional CONCAF grou. You have not been following the words out of Jack’s own mouth.
    Transferring money, even if iyts not your own, can break currency laws if the mney was intended for an illegal purpose. (Maybe you and JAck could move to a country where bribing public officials, even by other public officials is approved behaviour.)
    When a supplicant caomes to me and says “Nabe, ah bring this for you”. I immediately know its a bribe. all bribes are called gifts. The UScongress expresssively forbids it. It was a gift Jack sought from the Brits, a “donation” to build some football school to secure his legacy.

    If the room was bugged, it could have been done by someone from their own group. If the tape as sold, well he has less friends than he likes to think his money purchases.That does not exonerate Jack. Did you ever hear that a thief from a thief makes God laugh?
    In that collection of rascals, doing you in before you do me in is the order of the day. No honor among thieves.
    Jack is deep in stuff. The Hyatt is owned by Americans, is it?
    Jack could further be charged with conspiring with a foreign national, natonals to circumvent our currency laws.

      1. Who cares T -Man? This UNdeCOTT crap , might just be the most boring issue I have ever heard in my life. Enough already! Where is your government jobs plan?
        Tell Her Majesty ,Queen K ,and her head honchos , to quit indulging in useless, political distractions , and strive instead , to invest her government’s energies, to aiding the real development of her country, as opposed to turning their backs on our country’s hard won , democratic gains.
        Just wish I can get on ‘dis here site,’ one single day , and hear of a meaningful story, that can advance our country, yes?

  5. Prakash: PM correct to send Warner issue to AG
    CONGRESS of the People political leader, Prakash Ramadhar, yesterday backed Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s decision to refer the issue of a leaked video tape in relation to former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner to Attorney General Anand Ramlogan.

    MPs close ranks on Warner
    IN A CAREFULLY orchestrated show of solidarity, six Government MPs publically praised Works and Infrastructure Minister Jack Warner on Friday night, closing ranks around the Chaguanas West MP one day after Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar referred the issue of a leaked video in relation to a Fifa probe to Attorney General Anand Ramlogan.

    Speed up police probe of Jack
    Last week, the Daily Telegraph published an incriminating video of Caribbean Football Union delegates, some of who appeared to nod and laughing amiably as the voice of the former vice-president of FIFA, Jack Warner, seemed to be urging them to consider a financial gift “for the development of football” as an internal matter for discussion and agreement while urging the group to think of this as “our business” at FIFA. In response to the publication, the Minister of Works acknowledged that it was his voice—an unmistakable conclusion given his idiosyncratic manner of speaking—but coyly suggested that all was not as it seemed.

    Jack’s red flag
    In light of last week’s damaging internationally broadcast video in which Works and Infrastructure Minister Jack Warner allegedly urged Caribbean Football Union (CFU) delegates at a CFU meeting on May 11 to accept gifts, Warner must either step down or have his Cabinet appointment revoked.

  6. The scenario which I presented is a rationalization of Jack’s actions. It may well be the position taken to keep him in government. We all know what “gifts” are. Individually, Jack may be in trouble, but as time goes by the PP Government has yet to institute transparent and meaningful changes that can stand the rigorous scrutiny of full disclosure in all their contracts, appointments, and deal with the challenges of selective discrimination and non-favouritism. The swing voters are patiently watching. Let us not underestimate Jack’s resilience and his tremendous importance to the Coalition.

  7. “Let us not underestimate Jack’s resilience and his tremendous importance to the Coalition.” In essence, Jack would not choose this moment to go for the juggler, and or go for a selected pound of flesh , 2 inches from Her Majesty , Queen K’s heart, yes T- Man?
    I am with you my brother , and sees merit in your argument, for the bigger question might be , what are his choices? The unattended PNM Balizze plants ,not only are dying from lack of sustenance,bUT has deadly mapipi snakes, lurking all over them.
    So what you are saying in addition ,my friend ,is that the returns ,from him staying put, as 1st runner up, are more substantial,as opposed to ….,which incidentally ,is quite reminiscent ,of Deputy PM’S Kamal Mohammed of ADB Ponzi scheming fame,aka King of El Sececorro , Aranguez / Mastana Bahar and Japanese Garden ,Errol or Mahabir Sando head guru back ,in the day- who were both allowed by the crafty Papa Deffy , to steal the country blind , so long as the votes kept rolling in, yes?
    I concur. What would we intellectual peons , would do without dis astute mind of T-Man , folks?

  8. “In its 16 months in office, the People’s Partnership Government has generated a scandal a month. That’s more than the unlamented Patrick Manning regime managed in its truncated eight years in power.”

    Again another PNM appologist at the go. When does this man stop bashing the party that is working hard to ensure a better future for the citizenry. Patrick was a dictator and kept things as the PNM usually do “under the blanket”. Any information had to be properly processed for public consumption under the PNM.

    Shah owes the PNM a lot because father Eric spared him the firing squad for treason. In this second life I could understand blind loyalty to the PNM and the outlandish comparissons being made. This is how PNM indians behave, they are indeed the worst of the worst. Always plotting, slandering and seeking to please the PNM hierachy. Fortunately, these Indo PNMites are a dying breed and I say it could not come anytime too soon. Good riddance.

  9. A tangential comment on the politics of Kamla. Whenever she is in trouble, because of some mess done by one of her ministers, she appears in a photo accompanied by one of her African colleagues,a man, as if to remind us that this is a coalition.She never appears accompnaied by a woman alone. The picture of her and McLeod has nothing to do with corruption, but oviously she thinks she is bamboozling us. Check the times she has appeared with a man at her side and see if I am right. Do not count when her husband was ill. He is not in politricks.

    1. Seems to me Linda you are uncomfortable with your sexuality. It is traditional for Trinis to not engage in gossip about a leader’s private life. As long as they are doing the job that they are suppose to do American style politics do not apply.

      Barrack tried marijuana, Clinton was doing an intern, George was a drunkard, Kennedy was the biggest womanizer ever. The list of failed American politicians in the moral arena is one for the history books. Not to forget Roosvelt had a mistress, and Andrew Jackson a few slave women who were very close to him.

      On to the Trini scene Mr. Manning was jetting away with serveral PNM women, one woman name Angela Nelson even claim to be the mother of his baby….YAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWNNNNNNN.

      It dont really amount to much in T&T. What is important is that people see their leader as doing the job they are paid for … Nuff said.

  10. “Fortunately, these Indo PNMites are a dying breed and I say it could not come anytime too soon. Good riddance.”
    Sorry Uncle Kamal, Errol Mahabir, Dr Baboolal, and the myriad of progressive, less ungrateful , Indo Trini ,Brothers and sisters, who looked beyond the narrow tribe since 1962 ,to try and advance the cause of their people , and our nation as a whole- imperfect though it was , and still is.
    It was ‘you alls,’ who set the tone , or rather laid the foundation,so that a narrow post indentured ,Sugar / Rice paddy Trade Unionist movement- that began under the auspices of Uncle Shah , Papa Basdeo, and can I add ,the late OWTU stalwart George Weeks- can evolve eventually into a successful , ULF/ UNC ,and PP , where fellow nationals , including present day female Prime Minister ,can feel that they too are part of a cherished democracy, where by each and every race can find and equal place.
    We know, thanks to cuz mamboo, how folks in de camp ,really feel about Errol Mc Cloud, David Abdullah, Winston Peters, Wade Mark,Anil Roberts , and Jack Warner, irrespective of their public selective praises, so be forewarned.
    Yeah Patrick was some dictator mambmoo, but pray name me one across the entire history of your much adored ,British Commonwealth ,who would likewise hold a general election two years before it is due.
    Did you say ID Amin’s Uganda,White democratic ,Apartheid South Africa, that colored LAWYER ,Mahatma Gandhi, so adored,Buddhist Sinhalese / Hindu Tamil fractured Sri Lanka,Frank Bainimarama Fiji ,or we can throw in Mugabe Zimbabwe for argument sake? What’s dat you whispered ,None ? I thought so.


    Remember guys ,the people are watching, so one should never underestimate the collective resolve of a people fed up with neo racist bull crap , who finally decide, we are mad as hell, and cannot take it no more.
    Translated for the duncy like mamboo, this means ,don’t play mass ,den when powder starts coming your way, run to international bodies and cry for social reliefs from the inevitable ‘political blowback,’ de result ,of your decades of revolting unpatriotic behaviors.
    Though some of us more civilize ,will continue to resort to the use of our voices, pens, social media , and similar peaceful mechanism ,to advance prudent causes, others ,less blessed / satisfied with the results of the PNM 1962 to 2009, limbo dancing , appeasements, might not be inclined ,to follow suit.
    Speaking of Fiji , dictators,and such terrible places to live by South Asians, it was rumored that it was a mere accident ,that ensured the desperate ,poor , escaping indentured Panday’s come to Trinidad , and Tobago to finally settle, to start and raise a family ,that included our former ,first Hindu PM Basdeo? Oh yes! Got it from good source, that they were bounded for Fiji, but luck had it, that they missed to ship .
    Now when sometime into the future , Papa Basdeo, is ready to pen his long overdue memoirs , is there any one, including you mamboo, who think, he might show any remorse for such being the case? Don’t worry to answer , for I already know what you answer ,should be.
    Luv country.

    1. Neal wrote “Translated for the duncy like mamboo, this means ,don’t play mass…”

      Mass is responsible for young black girls continuing the process of bastardization which began during the time of slavery. Mass was first introduced by the Catholics, but eventually developed a life of it’s own.

      Carne means flesh, carnival is a celebration of the flesh (carnal nature). After Carnival, nine months later girls are giving birth to babies without knowledge of who the fadder is. Thus the bastardization continues. The result of bastardization Neal is generations of youths growing up in homes devoid of a fatherly presence. Psychologist in the U.S. studied the effects of a fatherless home. They noted that the girls in these homes tend to become promiscuous because they did not know how to deal with men in general because of an absent father. On the opposite end the some girls become alienated from men and do not know how to have a stable relationship.

      The boys became criminals because they grew up without a male role model and therefore exposed to adulthood long before they were mentally able to handle such roles. Many deviate to gangs. Some of them simply did not know what it was to be a father. It would be interesting from a social psychologist point of view if records can be taken to show the background of gang members.

      Having said all of that there are always exceptions to the rule. Yes mass does no good to anyone, have your mass in your home Neal…

  11. Mamoo said, “mass is responsible for young black girls continuing the process of bastardization….Carne means flesh, carnival is a celebration of the flesh.After Carnival, nine months later girls are giving birth to babies without knowledge of who the fadder is.”
    Translation of the above preposterous ,diatribe ,is :- If mamoo had his way , as an exalted , self hating Trini himself, he would ban Carnival, and all the Afrocentric, cultural spin offs practices- indulged in, by all citizens -from our country, forthwith, and just like this selectively placed, neo racist ,’fake security oriented , state of emergency,’ only punish, one group of people,because in his similarly twisted mind , it’s propagation ,has chiefly contributed ,to the ghastly state of affairs in his country since 1962 when his adoring white Massa England departed, yes?
    Let me guess , Hitler was also a hero of yours mamoo, as you too felt that killing 2 million innocents Jews,was a good thing , since it could only be dem similarly ugly , evil , destructive folks ,that was the cause of the socio economic ills, of Germany at the time,huh?
    I am with you buddy,so Her Majesty Queen K should press on steadfastly , to make Divali , St James Hossay , and Aranguez Paghwa festivals , mandatory celebratory events, for every citizen across our country,failure of which, to adhere ,can be made punishable by death , or lengthy prisons sentences , since those socially pure Indo Trini women of de tribe,who historically engage in such , tend to place a lock on their genitals , for at least 3 months before, and after the event, thus preventing bastardized babies, from being produced, like dem typically , over promiscuous, Afrikan savages, hummm ?
    Let’s sing together mamboo,’Long live de Republic of T&T, and high praise to our South Asian cousins ,that dominate de PP, we should be ever grateful ,for their political intervention ,and fine stewardship, as dey show our people the way.
    It does not get more stupid folks, as just maybe ,rabid Socialist , Basdeo Panday , and his more Maxist,Guyanese cousin ,Chede Jagan ,won the ideological battle , that Papa Eric with his democratic ideals ,fought to push back.


    Tell me mamoo,aka de reincarnation of Josep Stalin, do you think Trinidad can become a Guyana , where Afrikan folks can similarly evolve into 4th class citizens , were Human Rights abusing , genocidal maniacs rule according to the dictates of cuz Jagdeo , just about to do another undemocratic handover to his tribal buddy?

    Somebody, anybody , please warn dem , that dey would be in for a big surprise, as our usually peaceful/ complacent people, would only take so much.
    Tell de naive , brain washed mamoo, dat our 25%, and rising, national ‘Dougla swing voting population,’led by ambitious , COP cuz, Anil Roberts, aka de Parliamentary comedian,did not evolve by alleged rapes, like their Guyanese neighbors,and so ,dey won’t stand for dis proposed travesty ,as many are hurting economically, and feel used, since 2009, even ‘bastardized’as many are?
    Your call, my friend.
    Luv country.

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