Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 11th 2015 Contents B9
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...I smell the blood of a Trinidadian.
Just a little Jack and the Beanstalk reference
there---you know, to break the ice.
The reporters who have been chopping at
Jack s beanstalk for years are finally enjoying
the fruits of their labour at his unmasking.
"These scum have stolen the people s sport,
the cynical thieving bastards," Warner s nemesis
Andrew Jennings told the Washington Post
last week. "It s nice to see the fear on their
But fear isn t etched on Jack Warner s face
as far as I can see, only annoyance that his
empire is collapsing and a bitter determination
that many others will go down with him.
"The most corrupt operator I have encoun-
tered in a lifetime of chasing lowlifes," Jennings
wrote about Warner in the Mail on Sunday
after the FBI raids in Switzerland.
"I would not dignify you with my spit.
You re garbage," Warner had told Jennings in
"[Warner is] a cancer to Caribbean football,"
Lasana Liburd, another remorseless Jack-chas-
er, told me last week.
And yet, despite Liburd s annoyance that
the foreign press are inaccurately labelling
Warner a "beloved" man in his "native
Trinidad," there are indeed many Jack admirers.
Just look on social media to find them wish-
ing him "God s blessings," and swearing they
would vote for him as PM.
And hark at the deafening silence from his
former cabinet minister friends.
Football is a beautiful game but it s also
economically loathsome and morally bankrupt.
It is guilty of hypocrisies that have ripped it
away from its history, supporters and core
In Trinidad, those who praise Jack walk the
streets wearing the shirts of Manchester Unit-
ed, Barcelona and Real Madrid. Filthy rich
foreign clubs in a filthy rich sport.
What do Trinis care about the travails of
Central FC compared to the glamour of
Chelsea, or the Soca Warriors compared to
the mighty Brazil?
There are many who would prefer Jack to
remain free, rather than rot in an American
prison cell. But these people can t be genuine
football lovers, because the great tragedy of
Warner s actions is not the negative impact
on Trinidad s international reputation (it has
none) but rather the damage done to the local
football, of which he was meant to be the
With the money that went into Warner s
pockets the Caribbean could have become a
bigger entity in the world game, developing
a structure of grass-roots academies for a sus-
T&T could have become a major player in
Concacaf and reached more World Cups
instead of losing to Curacao for the first time
in 68 years as happened last week.
Central FC and Western Connection could
be big shots in the Concacaf Champions
League instead of dreading qualifying games
against LA Galaxy and Santos Laguna.
The T&T women s side could have been
developed and funded instead of being so
cash-strapped they had to borrow money from
And sport wasn t the only victim. Warner
diverted US$4 million away from Haiti and
into his own account in Haiti s hour of need---
a story first reported in 2012 by Liburd and
the Sunday Times that s only now getting
For these crimes---robbing from Caribbean
sportspeople, fans and even victims of natural
disasters---Warner shows no contrition.
And so, though a part of me wants to
empathise with the man for his sheer brazen
audacity, he knows that he should pay for
what he has done, instead of laughing in the
face of justice.
"It is a humanitarian crisis," said Warner,
after touring a devastated Port-au-Prince in
2010. "Sport is a vehicle for social transfor-
mation... Let us share this hope with Haiti so
she can rise again. Fifa understands its role in
inspiring a nation... Let us use sport to ignite
But those were just words. Warner doesn t
care about sport, football or people.
As Liburd reported on Wired868, T&T tax-
payers ended up paying for the Haiti money-
grab. The Government had to bail out the
TTFF after Fifa cut off its funding as a pun-
ishment to Warner.
It s surreal now to hear Trinidad all over
the media here in Britain and the rest of the
world. It s strange to think of the foreign press
swarming on the island.
For a year or more I tried to get the British
media to carry news from T&T, but the editors
back home weren t interested in the murder
of Dana Seetahal or the Government s Con-
stitutional Amendment Bill.
That in itself is a story. "Local news" is only
of importance in this apparently globalised
world when the globalising forces deem it
worthy of importance.
In that light, it isn t fair to castigate John
Oliver for his self-deprecating "whitest man
alive" Trini dialect shtick, broadcast on TV6.
Oliver has been interested in bringing down
Fifa for some time and his journey took him
to the shores of Trinidad (well, via the comfort
of his HBO studio.) He doesn t care where
news comes from. Buying the airtime on Trini
television was a stroke of genius that few
would have thought of.
There must be US channels who operate a
similar pay-per-minute system for the highest
bidder. How wonderfully hilarious it would
be to see Warner respond in kind with a five-
minute slot on American television. I m pretty
sure he can afford the bill.
Fifa fo fumThere are many who would prefer
Jack to remain free, rather than rot
in an American prison cell. But these
people can't be genuine football
lovers, because the great tragedy of
Warner's actions is not the negative
impact on Trinidad's international
reputation (it has none) but rather
the damage done to the local
football, of which he was meant to
be the custodian.
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