Massacre of the moral minority

By Raffique Shah
April 28, 2013

Raffique ShahThe issue here is not Jack Warner’s amoral attitude, his disdain for integrity in the conduct of public affairs. We have long established that Warner does not conform to the rules of the engagement, be it campaigning in an election, running a ministry or navigating the murky waters of global football. We expect no better from him.

What is at stake is morality of the society as a whole. And events of the past few weeks have underscored its rapid descent into Dante’s Inferno, into an abyss of nothingness. We are not on the brink of collapse. We have already plunged into a netherworld in which negative forces, backed by a mass of ignorance, have so overwhelmed the moral minority that the latter have been reduced to rubble.

Not surprisingly, Warner is once more central to this unholy mess. Forced out of public office following the damning findings of an integrity committee that was commissioned by Concacaf (“the confederation”), the regional football confederation he had led for 20-odd years, he seems set to make a mockery of morals and democracy for the umpteenth time.

His orchestrated exit from Parliament won’t rescue us from damnation. Too many well-placed people who easily sacrifice integrity and morality on the altar of political expediency have brought us to this sorry pass. They will ensure that we retain the title of the stupidest people on earth, bar none.

The composition of the committee was as important as its findings. One does not treat lightly with the ex-chief justice of Barbados, Sir David Simmons, who won much respect in Trinidad as he chaired the Commission of Enquiry into the attempted coup of 1990. Retired US Judge Ricardo Urbina served for 31 years at the circuit and federal levels, and Ernesto Hempe, the third member, has extensive experience in accounts and financial matters.

The committee probed eight issues, one of which was ownership of the Centre of Excellence (CoE). Others of importance were the failure of the confederation to meet its tax obligations in the USA, the whereabouts of funds generated by a major sponsorship contract, and the accuracy of the organisation’s financial statements over the past five years.

Jack chose to address only one issue when he went public among his supporters last Thursday night—ownership of the US$27 million CoE. He produced information and letters exchanged between himself and Joao Havelange to show that he and his family, not the confederation, owned the facility. He explained that this ultra expensive gift was bestowed on him by Havelange at a time when the former FIFA head, who still has a huge cloud of corruption hanging over his geriatric head, needed Jack’s support to have Sepp Blatter succeed him as president.

Jack said that Blatter was “the most hated man in FIFA”. He didn’t explain why he chose to have the region’s 30 votes cast in favour of this “hated man”, except that Blatter was Havelange’s choice. Worse, he admitted that at the critical election, with Haiti absent, he had Jamaica’s Captain Burrell’s girlfriend vote as the Haiti representative.
The crowd roared in approval of this patently fraudulent act: Jack smart eh? The great benefactor did not say why, when Havelange conspired to vest the CoE in his name, he did not say, “Look, chief, I appreciate your kindness, but since it’s Concacaf money we using, and the facility is intended to lift regional football, let the confederation or the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) own it.”

Instead, he boasted how he charged the confederation that should be the rightful owner for use of its own property. And the crowd applauded. Pundit, imam, priest, politician and peon all paid homage to the paragon of virtue that stood before them, guaranteed that they would support him in any showdown with the beleaguered moral minority.

Warner never touched the non-payment of taxes issue: I imagine he and Chuck Blazer would want to stay very far from this particular “oversight”. That is cause for serious concern in the US jurisdiction: remember Al Capone.

He did not address queries over Concacaf’s financial statements, except to say that under his leadership, the confederation’s fortunes improved immensely. The Simmons Report concurred with this assertion. But it also condemned Blazer and Warner for enriching themselves by fraudulently converting the federation’s resources for personal gain.

Long before these most recent findings of the Simmons Committee, which are limited in scope, there were huge queries over Warner’s activities as they related to football at all levels. There was the money-for-votes scandal in 2011 that was captured on video, for which several recipients of bribes were disciplined by FIFA. Warner pre-empted punishment by resigning from all football-related positions he held.

Before that, the team that took us to the World Cup in 2006, took legal action, and won (as far as I know), claiming that the local association had promised them incentives it never paid. Warner’s name was central to that issue. Back in 1989, in that infamous tickets scandal in the match against the USA, no one was held accountable for what was wholesale fraud. Again, Warner was a key official at the time.

Warner’s name has been associated with scandals ever since he rose in the ranks of the football world. His questionable character did not deter many in this society, politician and priest of every hue and religion, supposedly respectable persons in the society, from bowing at his feet, sharing in the loot, licking his boot.

One might excuse the ordinary Ram or Khan for accepting Warner’s gifts much the way beneficiaries of banditry and murder share in the blood money provided by the perpetrators of heinous crimes. But what of those who know better, who daily condemn crime, but who greedily feast on the bread that the Devil knead? You tell me.

9 thoughts on “Massacre of the moral minority”

  1. “We have already plunged into a netherworld in which negative forces, backed by a mass of ignorance, have so overwhelmed the moral minority that the latter have been reduced to rubble.”
    This is a very powerful statement that is what the world is experiencing world over today in every continent. The framework of democracy was built on the idea that the citizenry elect people to speak for them from a village, community, municipality, city, state or nation. It is still a great idea that many nations tend to adhere to policies that reinforces this concept because it is so novel and appears to be fair. We look to it to introduce and enact laws by which we hope will strengthen the democracy that we guard and want to improve our standings in our particular jurisdiction. The majority of people hope that this idea will someday become a real reality – that is why so many competing forces contest elections to ensure their influences are placed in the legislatures where the voices can be heard.
    Today, these same expectations are the forte of very powerful forces that are well greased with one thing – money, it is good, powerful and evil (all in one), because these are the guys who elect, control and direct the elected bodies of governments everywhere, therein lies the would be danger of democracy. Trinidad is no different in this respect and the man Jack Warner appears appears to be the epitome of this powerful and dangerous force of magnates who hijack our very right to vote. Because they decide who are placed on the slates to form the majority in the governing bodies. When we view the list of characters who we have to depend on in Trinidad to make decisions that govern our everyday lives, public, private, economic and social well-being. On the power and influential stage there is Kamla persad Bissessar, prime minister who many view as weak and not having a mind of her own and historically have never shown any capacity to enlighten with new ideas. There is the attorney general whose claim to fame is a defender of ‘civil rights’ in a court system where all his cases were won in the courts of Indian magistrates, Indian judges and regionally in the San Fernando jurisdiction. I have heard many references to him as a ‘Penal lawyer’. His preference of prosecution is the pursuit of prosecuting of Manning for a piano, but who is at odds to finding criminality in the behaviour of Jack Warner. Suraj Rambachan, even Warner has problems with him. Chairmen of the state boards almost all of them lacking public integrity by way of their performance on the job. Gopeesingh – the man who told us that there was ‘ethnic cleansing’ during the PNM years but who in practice, performs the very acts to which he alluded to in his statements about the PNM. Tewarie – an academic parading as a great Planner.
    We live in perilous times and we must view and listen to those who lead us. Their behaviour tells us who they are. Their appointments tell us who they are. Their laws tell who they are. Their pursuits tell us who they are and their performance tell us who they are. I go back to one lesson I learned in kindergarten. “Stop, look and listen, before you cross the street, use your eyes, use your ears and then your little feet”. I strongly suggest that we take this view from the advantage of a child.

  2. “There is the attorney general whose claim to fame is a defender of ‘civil rights’ in a court system where all his cases were won in the courts of Indian magistrates, Indian judges and regionally in the San Fernando jurisdiction.”(KIAN)

    Most of his major “civil rights” were won in the Privy council.after failure in the courts of T&T.

    ” I have heard many references to him as a ‘Penal lawyer’.(KIAN)
    Exactly what is a Penal lawyer?

  3. “There is the attorney general whose claim to fame is a defender of ‘civil rights’ in a court system where all his cases were won in the courts of Indian magistrates, Indian judges and regionally in the San Fernando jurisdiction”. Correction: Trinidadian magistrates, Trinidadian judges. The current AG defended people of all different races prior to his ministerial appointment. The label that has been placed on him as a ‘Penal lawyer’ is dis-respectful and invokes disrepute. It is true he won many of his cases at the Privy council. Is this forum to belittle contributors or to debate issues to uplift this nation?

  4. It is interesting that this Kian character invokes the names of every successful Indo-Trini member of Cabinet in a deragatory and disrespectful manner; however he fails to mention those who have been fired by the PM for a variety of valid reasons: Therese Baptiste-Cornelis, Mary King, Verna St Rose Greaves, Herbert Volney and now Jack.

  5. Warner’s ‘candidacy’ puts UNC in a monkey pants
    Jack Warner’s intention to contest his own by-election will pose for the United National Congress one of its biggest challenges in the after-wash of the Warner-Concacaf-resignation-firing affair. Can the UNC accept Warner’s return candidacy, having ditched him as someone allegedly internationally tainted by corruption?

    Bad Jack & the happy hypocrites
    I’d intended to look on silently at the spectacle of the erstwhile National Security Minister’s dark night of the soul, but a person with a foreign accent I met last week changed that. The person was incensed at the docility of Trinis in the face of scoundrels, and demanded to know why we took this. “We would never stand for this in Europe,” they said.

  6. I think I concur with this statement. Obviously this person is from Europe and is used accepting a high standard of public behaviour by those whom they elect. In Trinidad it is OK as long as they “look like me” or belong to “the party I prefer”. We have no standard of “upkeep”. We can be drowning as a result of public policy but if is “our people” who are doing it then everything is OK.

  7. JAW resigned as Minister, then as Chairman of the UNC and then as an MP. At no time was he fired by the PM. All these actions resulted from the findings in the CONCACAF report centred on fraudulence. Now, he wants to re-enter as a candidate for the by-election due in Chaguanas West. His game plan is becoming transparent as he chastises the cabal group within the UNC publicly. As stated before he did not steal from the public purse of T&T. However, he fixed himself financially sound as most of the FIFA body members. I would like to see his candidacy be accepted by the UNC to fight the by-election, then let’s see how his popularity surges or falls in the declared results from the constituents, then if he pulls it off let’s see if he is to be accepted in Cabinet? I wonder if Michela Panday would submit her papers to contest the by-election? The media houses have alot of material to work on in the upcoming weeks and the international observers (US and EU) would certainly be judging us on political maturity.

  8. It is what it is. When it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck we will not call it a swan. The AG is as described and the entire PP assembley are as they are described. Man we have been seeing replicas of these people for over 4 centuries. Of course we recognize them, even though they are darker shade of pale.

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