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PM, UNC refuse to probe Warner

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and United National Congress Deputy Chairman and Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan have refused to probe the behaviour of Works Minister and ex-FIFA Vice President Jack Warner despite complaints from: ravaged regional neighbour, Haiti, the High Court, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF), FIFA and 13 World Cup 2006 players and Chaconia Gold award recipients.

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (right) and National Security Minister and ex-FIFA Vice President Jack Warner

Warner is Chairman of the United National Congress (UNC), which is the dominant party in the ruling coalition government. On Friday, the TTFF was ordered by the High Court to send Warner a pre-action protocol letter after his repeated refusal to produce 2006 World Cup accounting documents.

In the past week, he was: described by Justice Devindra Rampersad as a “renegade agent“, accused by the TTFF of monopolising its most lucrative account and refusing to provide bank statements, called an enemy of football by past and present national football icons and denounced by the Federation of Haitian Football (FHF) and FIFA for allegedly misappropriating emergency aid funds in the wake of a devastating earthquake that rocked Port-au-Prince on 12 January 2010.

Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar and the UNC are yet to comment on the development.

Persad-Bissessar, when questioned by Wired868.com on allegations over Warner’s handling of the aid money, said that there was no need for action by the head of the government.

“From what I understand, the relevant bodies are already investigating the matter,” the Prime Minister told Wired868 in a telephone interview on Thursday evening.

Wired868 told the Prime Minister this was not the case as FIFA had already come to its conclusion that the funds did not reach Haiti. A UK Sunday Times exclusive revealed that $4.4 million (US$690,000) was missing from a total of $4.76 million (US$750,000).

“Would the Trinidad and Tobago government initiate a probe?” Wired868 asked.

Persad-Bissessar paused briefly but quickly regained her poise.

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar

“From what I read, the matter is being investigated,” she responded.

Wired868 again sought to respectfully explain that FIFA’s powers did not extend to rifling through local bank accounts or directing the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and the global body was happy to offer details of its claim to the relevant authorities. But, in mid-sentence, the phone went dead.

The Prime Minister did not respond to follow-up calls or a text message.

Later that night, in a separate interview with television reporters, Persad-Bissessar repeated her stock response.

“As far as I understand it, the relevant bodies are investigating the matter,” she said, “so it would be inappropriate for me to comment while they are investigating.”

Persad-Bissessar was not corrected by the reporters or pressed for further comment.

Dr Fuad Khan, Health Minister and UNC Deputy Chairman, who courteously completed his interview, was even more adamant than his Prime Minister.

Would the UNC seek a response from Warner on allegations that he collected $4.76 million (US$750,000) on Haiti’s behalf but had only wired $381,000 (US$60,000) to the impoverished nation?

“Not at all,” the UNC Deputy Chairman told Wired868.com. “We don’t think it is necessary… It has not been discussed (by the party).”

Khan said he had not asked Warner about the scandal. He did not think it prudent to probe the allegations.

MP Jack Warner is one of Trinidad and Tobago’s most influential politicians

“It is very easy for people to say things,” said Dr Khan. “If we run after every allegation, we would be running in every direction.”

Wired868 enquired as to exactly what scenario would be deemed necessary of a probe or action from the party.

“If it is proven in a court of law, then that is different,” he said. “We can allege a lot of things…”

The London-based Sports Dispute Resolution Panel (SDRP) found the TTFF and Warner guilty of defrauding the World Cup players of bonus payments in 2008 and the ruling was upheld by the local High Court in 2008. Both judgments chided Warner for his behaviour towards the legal bodies and the footballers, who were awarded Chaconia Gold national awards in 2006.

But that too failed to move the UNC Deputy Chairman.

“Isn’t that a private civil matter?” he asked.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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61 comments

  1. People spoke about that Haiti fund and the prime minister said that was not her business she did not care

  2. Who give Jack the money for Haiti, Fifa or Kamla!!!!????!!!!

  3. Mainstream media using old stories as headlines amounts to dishonesty if no credit is given to the person who initially broke the story but then again dishonesty seems to be extremely popular these days

  4. Every single one who’s part and parcel of this administration should get an all expense paid vocation at the maximum security inn that’s located in the area of arouca .

  5. Hannibal Najjar

    I cannot continue to be a part of things that do not hold up to the test of truth. In truth and love, i.e., trust – that’s what should be at the fore of everyone’s agendas. No TRUST, we have RUST. And what we do when something rusts, it flakes, has to be scraped, sanded, and dressed. In the meantime the redressing now fits a smaller, lesser in body mass, simply meaning weakened. And the redressed person is feeling good again, s/he is more likely to reengage in the very rust-attaining exercises, save, if they have a “heart” change. The process then repeats itself and the body mass, dwindles further. Trust or rust – nothing else, nothing less.

  6. Corruption and eat ah food has now become a way of life in sweet T&T, some people would love this Government for their personal benefits.

  7. Worst government ever. Anybody who vote for these people have to be high

  8. Just call d blasted election.

  9. Keep it coming Linda Farquhar, keep it coming, i’m paying close attention…

  10. They all was playing dead to catch warner alive

  11. And what of the acquistion of the Centre of Excellence?

  12. The PM didn’t probe warner because at the time he was one of the greatest asset to the party…..all she was seeing is dollar sighs….the man is responsible for who an what she is today.

  13. D AG probably shock he is D AG. But then again, is he really d AG? Hmmmmm…………

  14. You were always ahead of the game bro, always.

  15. I wrote on the Haiti scandal for five days straight and not a paper wrote a line or television station said a word… Until Warner threatened to sue. That was only thing they covered from it.
    So now they do three years later as BBC is on the job. At least the news is out finally I guess.

    • Well that’s why there is you and me because that demonstrates that they only follow who they THINK is important and what they think is important. But new media is showing that mainstream media no longer dictates these things. We all have the power to now.

  16. Lasana this is always how it is. When I had CWESN I released info ppl never had and wondered how the hell I got. A lot of times the main media houses do have the info too eh, they are just afraid to release it or the reporter is friends or wants to stay/be friends with the person involved. But because ur not Express or Newsday or guardian, ppl just don’ take you seriously. Worse yet you operate online and trinis still stuck in the print era.

  17. I am sure i was around then Lasana..cause I read the other articles… i was here with uncle Earl in the beginning

  18. Hey Sav. Wired868 started in January 2012 and this story was in February. I did a lot of investigative work in my first year and court cases around the World Cup bonus dispute.

  19. Where was the new AG when all this was going on, that he claims that he is “shocked” ? Wearing “Scissors Tails” in London, and eating a “Good Food” ?

  20. You know I don’t remember ever seeing this story…

  21. Wow, Lasana, you have become an international superstar now. See you on front page of New York times. Great job …hard work pays off.

  22. Jack is in the dock……Kamla claims to in shock….one,like he run out of luck………the other mired deep in the muck……..one desperately clinging to she wuk…….the other between a hard place and a rock……….ah don’t know why they don’t hug up and go and ……

  23. Wonder how much of that money went in their pockets. Shameless bunch.

  24. We still shock you are the AG.

  25. I remember when you wrote that story Mr Liburd. kudos to you.

  26. I am finding that there is a lack of context on the global media reports regarding JW in nexus to the general population and the UNC government. Disturbing. I too had a dream, Lasana Liburd, on this very thing. LOL.

  27. And the saga continues……

  28. That’s exactly what she doing feel she have more brains than any body everybody wrong except them not for once accepting responsibility

  29. “As far as I understand it, the relevant bodies are investigating the matter,” she said, “so it would be inappropriate for me to comment while they are investigating.” So she knew then that it was inappropriate to comment BUT when it was the emailgate fiasco, she didn’t let that stop her!! How convenient!! This leads me to believe that she was trying to mess up the investigation!!

  30. Yet the PM and her cabinet still defended him at the time

  31. Exactly Albert he knew evrythg that was going on in T&T who he trying to fool like JW say NicholAss

  32. Protocol letter in he tail

  33. Well you’re refreshing the lady’s memory Lasana. Wonder if this make her get vex, say you’re disrespecting her, gather her belongings and walk out of govt?

  34. Lol. The BBC gave half of the story then. Next time, tell them to Google for context Jamo 😉

  35. I’ve just seen the report. It’s in the hands of US prosecutors: that’s new. Maybe we’ll be called as witnesses?

  36. what dull cutlasses for ministers ,part of the con job that was foisted on the people of trinidad

  37. Gavin Nicholas is not the sharpest tool in the box but then again he doesn’t have to be. Kamla now tries to distance herself from her beloved Jack, the former darling of the UNC and blame the PNM for her transgressions. You couldn’t make this up!

  38. But James Corbett, I’m struggling to understand how the BBC can claim that its story is an exclusive when the UK Times also wrote on it three years ago…

  39. I struggle to believe that anyone in Trinidad isn’t fully aware of Jack Warner’s nefariousness. The man is a thief to the bone.

  40. Garvin Nicholas was living in the next country where the story broke. Wired868 actually published the initial story an hour after the UK Times as James Corbett was one of the lead reporters on this.
    The UK Embassy gets all of the major papers delivered daily and the Times certainly qualifies as a major paper.
    It is inconceivable that Garvin Nicholas could not have known.

  41. let us say that it is the 1st time he heard of the haiti situation,next question ,living abroad is no excuse,may be he is playing the role of ostrich burying his head in the sand

  42. That’s why Kamla and the UNC must not be allowed to claim ‘Warner is embarrassing the country.’ This is their monster, their creation. We have to keep this around her neck until she begs for mercy.

  43. Let the chips fall where they may. It’s time we clean up our society.
    We can’t govern ourselves. The FBI has to come in and clean it up for us.
    Both the UNC and PNM are guilty alike for being in be with Warner.

  44. I must say first time I am hearing about the Haiti scandal

  45. There was so much that were turned back after learning of the “Shark attack” on minnow, Haiti at that time of great need and horror – “twas so sad to have heard of the situation that unfolded there and thence.

  46. Apparently…according to the BBC (or according to the public of T&T)…if the BBC or CNN didn’t report it…it didn’t happen…or it’s not news until they do report it…smh

  47. Everybody else playing catch up now…

  48. Really funny!! smh shame on them!

  49. LL,
    I just had a truly dangerous thought. What if Kamla and dem not lying and Jack really didn’t pay fuh anybody campaign but he own in 2010? Of course it rasies the question of who pay fuh the others’ campaign but suppose that is true? Suppose that explains why they are all eager to see the back of the ole Jack and is he own greed that coming back to haunt him? Because if yuh could tief from Haiti, brudder, it eh have nobody yuh cyar tief from …including the UNC!

  50. My deceased mother used to say that "time is longer than twine". According to Trinizagada.com this means that bad things come to an end one day. Could be sooner than we think.

  51. Clearly Kamlafraid Jack. Fuad Khan fraid him too.

  52. I especially like that you pointed out how even local media seems to treat this issue with kid gloves by refusing to ask probing follow up questions.