Trinidad – ‘The gloves are off’
Fresh from prison Warner promises to expose Trinidad prime minister
PORT OF SPAIN – Declaring that the “gloves are off”, Jack Warner said last night he intends to go after Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and reveal all through a tape which he will give to four lawyers.
Warner was speaking for the first time since being released from prison at an Independent Liberal Party (ILP) cottage meeting in Endeavour, Chaguanas.
“I want to tell Kamla that as of tonight the gloves are off! Kamla having jailed me, as of tonight the gloves are off!” said Warner.
“Everything I have against Kamla I will bring it out. I have kept it back too long and I will bring it out…but not tonight,” he continued.
Warner said he feels his life is under threat and as such he has decided to make a video tape and give it to four lawyers–from the ILP, the People’s National Movement (PNM), the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) and his own private attorney.
Warner, a former FIFA Vice President , was taken to prison on Wednesday evening after appearing before Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar in the Port of Spain Magistrates’ Court following his surrender to Fraud Squad detectives earlier that day.
He is wanted in the United States on charges of fraud, racketeering and money laundering in that country and Trinidad and Tobago while holding the position of vice-president of FIFA. The indictment lists eight charges, but when Warner appeared before Ayers-Caesar, a total of 12 charges were read. The alleged offences occurred as far back as 1990.
He was released yesterday after supplying a proper deed to secure his $2.5 million bail.
Persad-Bissessar, when questioned by the media yesterday following the opening of the new Maloney Police Station, said she received no funding from Warner when she contested the United National Congress (UNC) internal election in 2010. She also denied receiving money from Warner for the 2010 general election or the 2013 Tobago House of Assembly election.
“I will tell you something–she lie,” said Warner last night in response to her comments. He said he will name all the contractors he and Persad-Bissessar went to.
Warner said in one case it was so “obscene” that he walked out and “Stacy (Roopnarine) walked in”.“All gloves are off, I remained silent for too long…they believe they could walk all over me,” said Warner.
Warner maintained he was innocent of the charges leveled against him by US authorities.He said if he’s being accused of financial impropriety, then the question should be asked, who gave it (the money).He said this issue was bigger than people in Trinidad and Tobago think. “Why is it only third world countries are charged?” he asked. He further questioned what was wrong in giving countries like Russia and Qatar the opportunity to host the World Cup. He said being from a third world country, he understood Qatar’s position but, “the US felt they have the divine right to anything”.
He said that he cut all ties with FIFA four years ago. “If after four years they still can’t forget Jack Warner something wrong,” he said. Warner said he was never questioned with respect to the charges made against him. “They never ask me once…charges…I Jack Warner, know nothing about those charges, what our lawyers have done is tell them to prove it,” he said.
Warner said he was overwhelmed with calls and messages from all over the globe. But the two calls that touched his heart were from the Panday family—former prime minister Basdeo Panday, his wife Oma and daughter Mickela – and the second call from Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran and his wife. He disclosed that though he was depressed as he has never been to jail in his life, he thinks it is a “mark of honour” as he noted that Basdeo Panday, Nelson Mandela, Indira Gandhi and (Fidel) Castro all served time in jail. He said he received “Hyatt” treatment whilst in jail and showered praise and gratitude to the prison officers and deputy Prisons Commissioner.
Warner also slammed Attorney General Garvin Nicholas, whom he claimed signed extradition papers in 15 minutes.He said it took three months before extradition papers were signed for Ish Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson.“How the hell after five years he can’t ask the US to send back Calder Hart here,” said Warner.
Warner claimed everything that was happening was a plot by the Government to get rid of him. “I’m surprised that Keith (Rowley) didn’t understand that,” said Warner, expressing disappointment over the comments Rowley made in an Express report.
He said the Government, “having killed Rowley” with his suspension from Parliament, was now turning on him.
Warner’s return was an emotional one for his supporters as Josh Groban’s “You Lift Me Up” was played on his entry. Warner noted the heavy media presence at last night’s meeting, including the BBC.
“If to make one day jail cause that I should make two,” he joked.“Jack is alive and kicking. I want to tell you he will be with you to the end,” said Warner.