Jack hits back

National Security Minister Jack Warner.
National Security Minister Jack Warner.

PORT OF SPAIN — National Security Minister Jack Warner has denied he failed to directly address questions sent to him last Wednesday by head of the Express Investigative Desk Camini Marajh and instead issued a mass e-mail to all media houses.

In a series of e-mails yesterday, Warner, through his communications adviser Francis Joseph, said his responses to Marajh were sent to her e-mail address at the Express.

Marajh had, however, sent her questions to Warner from her Gmail account and Warner did not send his response directly to this address.

He sent it instead to caminimarajh@ trinidadexpress.com (a defunct address) and camini.marajh@trinidadexpress.com.

Following a Sunday Express story by Irene Medina yesterday saying Warner had attempted a “pre-emptive strike” on Marajh’s investigation into allegations made against him, Warner, via e-mail, informed Joseph he had in fact responded to Marajh.

Warner asked that Joseph make this information known to Marajh, Medina and other newspaper editors.

“Francis, I read in today’s Sunday Express on Page 3 an article written by Irene Medina in which, among other things, she accuses me of not responding to Ms Camini Marajh,” Warner’s e-mail stated.

“This is totally untrue as the submission beneath will show. I do not have Ms Medina’s e-mail address and consequently will be extremely grateful if you can refer this message to Ms Medina for me as well as to the other media houses (and bloggers, if any) since I do not expect that, even in the face of this evidence, there will be a retraction of any kind.”

In the mass e-mail previously issued by Warner, he stated in response to her questions:

“If I choose to answer any one of your questions (as shown below) wrapped within your own expression of opinions and false judgment what I would be doing is validating character assassination posing as investigative journalism.”

He also stated: “In Trinidad and Tobago, public officials, such as I, are expected, and rightly so, to be held accountable. I recognise and respect this and have never asked nor have been given any quarter in this regard. But shouldn’t there be equal accountability by any member of the media and the media house represented? Who investigates the background and agenda of the author of the investigative piece when bias is alleged by the hapless victim of any contrived story?

“The right of you or anyone else to ask a question should be equally weighed by my own right to question the true intent of the reporter and the media organisation represented. My obligation to answer your questions for an article which I am advised will appear in your paper this Sunday must be equally met by your own dutiful obligation and that of your paper to be fair, unbiased, balanced and professional. In the absence of that I am released from my own duty to provide any responses to your many questions.” (Express)

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