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Jack must go

partnership members want warner removed from cabinet

PORT OF SPAIN — A fresh set of rumblings of discontent emerged yesterday from the Congress of the People over the continued presence of National Security Minister Jack Warner in the cabinet, as well as his intent to purchase two newspapers.

COP vice-chairman Vernon De Lima has filed a motion with an ultimatum – that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar remove Warner from her cabinet or else the COP will cut ties with the People’s Partnership coalition government.

This motion will be debated on Sunday at the party’s national council meeting at COP Operations Centre, Chaguanas.

The People’s Partnership coalition originated with five political parties – the United National Congress, the COP, the National Joint Action Committee, the Tobago Organisation of the People and the Movement for Social Justice.

However, in June this year, the MSJ, headed by former senator David Abdulah, withdrew from the People’s Partnership, taking issue over the governance of the country and handling of labour matters.

In addition, in a news release issued yesterday, the COP national executive, headed by political leader Prakash Ramadhar, is demanding that Warner desist further negotiations to purchase 100 per cent of the shares of the Mirror newspaper and a 39 per cent stakeholding in Newsday.

It is not the first time that Warner is facing pressure from the COP as both Ramadhar and De Lima have publicly criticised Warner and called for his resignation in the midst of allegations of a bribery scandal last year involving Caribbean Football Union officials.

Warner, a former FIFA vice-president, and former head of the Asian Football Confederation, Mohamed Bin Hammam, were accused by FIFA of offering bribes to CFU members at Hyatt Regency hotel, Port of Spain, in May 2011 prior to FIFA’s presidential elections.

Warner resigned his post as FIFA vice-president and Bin Hammam dropped out of the race for FIFA president and was banned by FIFA for life.

Bin Hammam had appealed the decision, which the Court of Arbitration annulled.

The CAS judgment cast Warner in a negative light, which De Lima referred to in his motion.

De Lima said the COP’s stated position was that Warner should not be a member of cabinet until such time as he is cleared of the allegations that have been made against him by FIFA. (Express)

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