Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 7th 2015 Contents A22
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt June 7, 2015
Before we swoop down like
corbeaux to pick at the car-
cass of the reputation of Jack
Warner with the hypocrisy of the
self righteous (as we do---oh how
we love a lynching. Oh how good
it makes us feel about ourselves---
oh how it helps to distract us
from our own infractions, our
own little sneaky ways of getting
around the law in a small banana
republic that operates on getting
away with as much as we can,
on keeping the dial on a delicate-
ly balanced mediocrity, on idolis-
ing a smart man). Before we get
the gloves out, let us hang our
heads in Shame. Yes, that was
capitalised on purpose. It's my
Shame, it's your Shame, it's our
On May 28, Jack Warner surren-
dered to the fraud squad to face an
arrest warrant issued at the request
of US authorities, which filed cor-
ruption charges against him and 13
others tied to international football.
Charges included racketeering, wire
fraud and money laundering con-
The US Department of Justice
charged them with "hijacking"
international football to run "a
World Cup of fraud" to line their
pockets by US$150m.
Warner was arrested alongside
eight senior current or former Fifa
officials---including Fifa vice-pres-
idents Jeffrey Webb and Eugenio
Jack Warner spent a night in jail.
Jack Warner appeared in court in
Port-of Spain, where a judge read
eight counts against him and then
set bail at 2.5m TT dollars
Jack Warner was made to sur-
render his passport and report to
police twice a week.
Who is this man and what
does he say about us?
Instead of crowding around the
lynching party, we should all
hang our heads in shame. Jack
Warner, a son of the soul, a man
born in Rio Claro in 1943,
brought up alongside two broth-
ers by a single mother, Stella. A
man who won a small scholar-
ship from Trinidad Clay Brothers
after which he attended Presen-
tation College in Chaguanas.
A self-made man who after
attending Teachers' Training Col-
lege graduated with a BA and
earned a diploma in International
Relations from the University of
the West Indies. A man, who in
1972 taught at the Northeastern
College while lecturing in UWI in
sociology, and the Polytechnic
Institute till 1993.
His tactical brilliance (and some
other smart man attributes besides)
took him from being a teacher to
secretary of the T&T Football Asso-
ciation (TTFA), to president of the
Caribbean Football Union, to the
chairman of Joe Public Football Club,
to T&T's Professional Football
League, to Fifa vice president and
He resigned from those offices in
2011 after facing corruption and
bribery charges from Fifa's ethics
Jack Warner today is at the
centre of the US Department of
Justice's investigation into Fifa.
In 1998, Warner purchased the
Scarlet Ibis Hotel in St Augustine
for $6 million (TT), which he
renovated and renamed the
Emerald Apartments and Plaza.
He also owns Kantac Plaza in
Arouca. He may well have earned
it.In 2002, after global media
publications alleged he made a
profit of US$350,000 selling
2002 Fifa World cup tickets via a
family-owned travel company
Simpaul, a red flag was raised.
Exposés from local journalists in
2005 led to Warner being hauled up
before the Fifa ethics committee that
concluded Warner abused' his posi-
tion to obtain personal benefits and
failed to declare business interests.
In a report submitted to Fifa in
March 2006, Fifa estimated that
Warner's family had made a profit
of at least $1 million from reselling
2006 World Cup tickets, that Warner
had directly ordered or sold on behalf
of the TTFA. He was ordered to pay
a hefty fine to Fifa that he failed to
do despite repeated reminders.
After that, Warner became a polit-
In 2007, we elected him as chair-
man and co-leader of the United
We then elected him as the MP
In May 2010, when the then
PM Patrick Manning called a
snap election we re-elected him
AGAIN. We re-elected Jack
Warner in Chaguanas West with
the highest national vote total.
We made him Works and
Transport Minister, who ironically
described the former government
as the "most corrupt ever" and
pledged to enforce hanging for
death row prisoners.
The then attorney general
Anand Ramlogan responding to
queries from the Opposition
Leader Keith Rowley defended
Warner. He said as Warner did
not receive a salary from Fifa,
and Trinidad benefits from
Warner's appointment' conflict
We made Warner act as prime
minister at least once during this
We made him the minister of
In 2011, Jack Warner resigned as
Fifa's vice president and Concacaf
president after facing corruption and
bribery charges from Fifa's ethics
committee. A damning videotape of
the disciplinary process emerged.
Jack Warner was not fired. The
videotape was simply filed away.
In 2013, a political fallout with
the UNC Warner resigned as
chairman of the United National
Congress on April 22, 2013, and
resigned as MP for Chaguanas
West four days later, triggering a
by-election in his constituency.
What did we do then?
We voted him in again. Warner
formed a new political party, the
Independent Liberal Party (ILP).
We voted him in again. He
won the by-election for Chagua-
nas West in 2013.
Jack Warner is not an aberra-
tion but a symptom of our socie-
ty. We all have filth on our
From last week Monday,
Jamaica's police were stricken
by a mysterious malady. Thousands
of members of the Jamaica Police
Federation called in sick.
In some districts, more than half
of those rostered for duty stayed
Like Jamaica's other public ser-
vants, police have had their pay
frozen for the past five years. Over
that period, prices have gone up
more than 40 per cent. Experienced
graduate teachers now take home
less than US$900 monthly; police
constables around US$500.
For the next two years, the gov-
ernment has offered most public
servants a five per cent increase.
That is not nearly enough to make
up the ground lost through infla-
Unions want more than five per
cent. Teachers want a 25 per cent
increase in basic pay, plus increased
allowances. The police demands
include a raft of new allowances
and a higher pay scale; the govern-
ment argues that the full package
would more than double police pay-
The Jamaica Constabulary already
eats up more than 15 per cent of
the public service salary bill.
On Tuesday night, the govern-
ment obtained a 28-day court
injunction banning further police
protests. The sickout continued:
indeed, the Jamaica Observer reports
that it gathered strength. The Police
Federation applied on Thursday to
have the injunction set aside; they
failed, but plan to appeal. State-
employed medics meanwhile
warned that the police epidemic
"might soon begin affecting doctors.
Opposition security spokesman
Derrick Smith says the Government
is using "bully tactics."
Jamaica is half-way through an
IMF programme agreed two years
ago. So far, the IMF is pleased with
progress. Jamaica met most of its
programme targets up to the end
The fund says Jamaica's
"painful" policies are starting to
bear fruit, with growth of
around two per cent expected
this year and next. Low interna-
tional oil prices have helped
bring inflation down to four per
But there's a tough IMF target for
public sector pay. It is supposed to
come down to nine per cent of GDP
by 2017. Historically, the figure has
been close to 12 per cent. With the
unions discontented, the nine per
cent goal looks all but unreachable.
Wage and salary costs eat up more
than a third of government revenue.
Almost all of the rest goes on debt
service. The IMF wants funds
switched to social programmes and
Pay talks are now in progress.
"We have every confidence that
these discussions will lead to an
outcome that will be supportive of
ongoing success in implementing
the programme" says the IMF mis-
sion chief for Jamaica, Dr Jan Kees
It is hard to share his opti-
The president of the Private
Sector Organisation of Jamaica
(PSOJ) William Mahfood
expressed sympathy last week
with public sector staff:
"I, more than anybody else,
understand the pain that the
public sector has gone through. I
often wonder how a teacher or
nurse or policeman has man-
"Understand more than any-
body else?" Maybe not; though
the sentiment is probably well-
meant. Then comes the
inevitable "But." The government
must hold the line, says Mah-
food, and see the IMF pro-
gramme through to its conclu-
Let's play lucky numbers.
Since 1977, Jamaica has started
13 IMF programmes. Three were
completed with no problems,
and another two with special
waivers of performance tests.
Seven ended in tears.
And this one is still to play out.
So far, it is more or less on track.
With the current salary negotiations,
it has reached a tipping point.
The big US ratings agencies are
pleased with the progress so far.
Standard and Poor's last week
upgraded its Jamaica rating from B
minus to B, with a stable outook.
The week before, the other big credit
rating agency Moody's upgraded
Jamaica to Caa2 from Caa3, this
time with a positive outlook.
The agencies noted Jamaica's tight
fiscal policies, structural reforms,
and improving balance of payments
But let's not get excited. Moody's
is still rating Jamaican debt as
"speculative, of poor standing and
subject to very high credit risk."
Jamaica now rates on a par with
Greece, and just one notch better
Talking of Venezuela, some of the
improvement in the macro-numbers
stems not from IMF-inspired aus-
terity but from preferential Petro-
Caribe oil purchases. And the future
of PetroCaribe is not well assured.
Meanwhile, the Public Service
minister Horace Dalley warns that
if he cannot hold the line on salaries,
he might have to fire 15,000 low-
paid workers so as to balance the
There are currently around
120,000 public sector staff, more
than one-in-ten of Jamaican work-
ers. Around 6,000 jobs disappeared
over the past two years. Unemploy-
ment is already at 13 per cent.
And the police? It would be easier
to feel sympathy if they were doing
a better job. A total of 476 Jamaicans
were murdered in the five months
from January to May, 15 per cent
more than in the same period last
year. More than 100 civilians were
shot dead by police last year. Three
police constables were charged just
last week with links to the guns-
for-drugs trade with Haiti. That's
SICK POLICING: JAMAICA STYLE
FILTH ON OUR HANDS
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