Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 16th 2015 Contents pens to be dealing
with, as I discov-
ered on that
sedate executive spaces he offered for the photography,
I suggested that we head outside to get the plexiglas
half-dome of the Concacaf logo and the sharp geome-
tries of the building into the frame.
To do this, I had to lie down in the drain just off
to his left and he took direction well.
As I walked into his office afterward to collect the
remainder of my gear, he reached into a desk drawer
and took out a FIFA tie and pin and offered it to me,
complimenting me on my approach to my work.
For many years afterward, that tie remained a part
of my cycle of executive nooses during that phase
of my life and a pleasant reminder of my encounter
with a great man.
Of course, I didn t really know jack about Mr Warn-
er, just his reputation and the evidence of my
encounter with him. Now, Warner occupies a unique
space in the global discussion about FIFA corruption,
one that apparently defies even the best comedians.
When John Oliver decided to take on Jack Warner
on his home turf, his clever, almost reverential assault
on the former FIFA honcho never seemed to pick up
At least part of that stemmed from Oliver s unwill-
ingness to tease the nation that s tacitly supported
Jack Warner for decades, but a large part of it has
to do with Warner s Teflon imperviousness to being
the butt of a joke.
John Oliver s made for global consumption segment
on TV6, The Mittens of Disapproval are On, withered
in the face of Jack Warner s home-hewn response,
a tour de force of hilarity, which pitted the embattled
former executive against his own considerable speech
impediment, an incomprehensible script and the
swelling roar of music stolen from upcoming composer
Like one of those truly strange onions that crop
up from time to time, Jack Warner resists ready peel-
ing, you get the skin off, think you re into the meat
of the thing, only to find another mutant skin under
it. It s easy now to get all hot and bothered about
shame and embarrassment and that nebulous place,
"the international stage," but T&T failed the most
basic of questions that an investigator might ask
about all of this.
What did we know? How long did we know it?
And what did we do about it?
The answers, of course, are all of it, all along and
Because even after all these accusations, I really
didn t know Jack and chances are, neither did you.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Acouple of decades ago, I set off
from the Guardian s offices and
walked a few blocks to Jack
Warner s offices higher up St Vincent
I was mildly intimidated by the assign-
ment, which was to provide images for a
business story by my late friend and col-
league, Terry Joseph.
I was insulated from much of the impact
of my subject s considerable fame through
my lifelong disinterest in sports generally
and football in particular.
It was striking to look at the videos fea-
turing Mr Warner which have become part
of popular culture recently. I pulled up some
scans I d done from that shoot for my
archives, and it was almost surreal how
similar his office and desk setup are now
to the one I encountered.
The technology has marched on and
newer gear surrounds him now, but he
affects the same sense of a man surrounded
by work who confidently keeps it under
control with an iron grip and steely will.
In 2006, about 15 years after I d had my
first and only encounter with him, Warner
was the vice-president of FIFA, president
of CONCACAF, a special adviser to the
TTFF, a successful businessman and a key
political figure as the deputy political leader
of the UNC.
Today, he is, according to the United
States government, a wanted man with an
indictment awaiting him should he ever set
foot on their soil and a red listed person of
interest at Interpol.
In the face of all this deadly seriousness
then, it s a little hard to understand how
everything became so bitterly funny.
Some of it has to do with Warner s pres-
ence and uniquely Trinidadian approach to
Whatever else he has been in his life, he
offers an intense focus on whoever he hap-
I don't know Jack
Jack Warner photographed outside the St Vincent
Street offices of CONCACAF in the early 1990's.
PHOTO: MARK LYNDERSAY
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