Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 5th 2015 Contents B12
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, June 5, 2015
Editor-in-Chief, T&T Guardian
Jack Warner, never fully out of the spotlight
in the past week and a half, made sure of his
place in the national and even the global
conversation over the past two days with his
"address to the nation" on national television
on Wednesday night. Warner was careful in
his choice of language, never directly alleging
impropriety on anyone s part, but drawing
a clear link between Fifa, the global governing
body for football that is reeling from a string
of indictments and sudden resignation of its
newly and controversially re-elected head --
and his old-friend-turned-enemy, Prime
Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
Warner had loomed large in the conscious-
ness and the responses of respondents in
Lopinot Bon Air West, where he has a home,
in a poll conducted before the release of the
details last week s bombshell indictment by
United States Attorney general Loretta Lynch.
When voters were asked who they consid-
ered "acceptable as Prime Minister," Warner
trailed badly behind the Prime Minister, whose
figure, 33.3 per cent, was almost double his
of 17.9 per cent. Opposition leader Keith Row-
ley led the field with 38.2 per cent. However
when asked who they considered "acceptable
with reservations", his number, 40.5 per cent,
exceeded both Persad-Bissessar s 17.7 per cent,
and Rowley s 29.8 per cent.
While no poll or analyst is claiming that
Warner can beat either of the main party lead-
ers, it does point to his common man appeal,
something he has shown all throughout his
Guardian Sports Editor Valentino Singh,
who has written a biography of Warner,
points to his generosity towards the poor.
Anyone and everyone would seem to
approach him for financial help, and he d
generally oblige. He does not have polished
speech, but he does have a knack for con-
necting with both high and mighty and small
and humble. He knows where the centre of
power is and how to find it.
On Wednesday night on TV, he tried to
connect the alleged dots between the two
power centres in which he s played a central
part--government in T&T, and global and
regional football administration.
"The link between Fifa, its funding and
me, the link between Fifa, its funding and
the United National Congress and the Peo-
ple s Partnership government," Warner said.
"These documents deal with the Section
34 fiasco, it also deals with my knowledge
of the transactions at Fifa, including but
not limited to its president Mr Sepp Blatter
and lastly other matters involving the
nation s current Prime Minister."
It s the "including but not limited to"
that s the big tell. Mr Warner s statement
has clearly been legalled to within an inch
of its life, because, as the Prime Minister
first said when Warner had first threatened
to "tell all" about her, she has placed the
matter in the hands of her lawyers.
Warner says he has passed the volume
of documents on to several lawyers and the
issue is settled.
"It is beyond even my own reach, retracting
them is an impossibility. There can be no turn-
ing back," he said.
Beyond the legal questions, the overriding
political one is whether Jack Warner is fin-
ished, irrespective of whether he is extradited
to the US to face trial, or whether he and
his legal team successfully stave it off.
Political analyst Dr Mukesh Basdeo, who
also appeared in On The Margin on Tuesday,
would not be drawn on making such a defin-
For many voters in Lopinot/Bon Air West,
he remains a charismatic if flawed figure
that many generally like, even if Dr Keith
Rowley is preference of the highest proportion
of those to whom the "acceptable as prime
minister" question was posed.
Basdeo believes Warner s numbers will
come down if the poll is conducted today,
but he thinks that Warner will always have
appeal for a section of the community.
"Trinidad is a funny place. Mr Warner
has been a generous person in terms of deal-
ing with people in the community in general.
For a lot of people they would overlook faults
and grievances if they could get something
from you," Basdeo said.
ON THE MARGIN---LOPINOT/BON AIR WEST
Jack on the box
ILP political leader Jack Warner address
supporters at a meeting held at Battoo
Street, Marabella on Wednesday night.
PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
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