Trinidad – US moves on Jack
AG: extradition papers are here
PORT OF SPAIN – The United States government has moved in on corruption-accused Jack Warner.
Attorney General Garvin Nicholas announced at an impromptu news conference yesterday the extradition request for Warner was now in his hands.
Nicholas also assured there will be no political interference in the matter.
Nicholas called a news conference at 6.25 p.m. at the Office of the Attorney General, Cabildo building, Port of Spain, to disclose this information in a brief statement.
“I have this evening received the formal request for the extradition of Mr Warner with the supporting extradition package,” said Nicholas.
“The process is now for me to examine the documentation and consider the evidence and decide whether to issue the authority to process. This is of course a serious and substantial matter and must be given due time and attention,” he added.
Nicholas then answered a number of questions from the media.
Warner, a former FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) vice-president and leader of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP), has charged on numerous occasions that the Government was conspiring to get him out of this country. He has repeatedly said he has no intention of going anywhere without a fight and it will be a “long, hot summer”.
Nicholas said the legal process will be followed.
No political interference
Asked whether he can assure Warner and citizens there is no political interference in the extradition, given that the September 7 general election was just a few weeks away, Nicholas said, “This matter has absolutely nothing to do with politics… this is an extradition request made by the United States government. We’ve dealt with several extraditions over the last few months.
“This is also a matter that does not only concern Mr Warner, it concerns 14 persons that the Americans had asked to be extradited to the US to face charges. The State has gone about this and certainly the office of the Attorney General and all the players, whether it be the police, etc, has gone about this as professionally as possible following the letter of the law and offering Mr Warner and his team all due courtesies when possible.”
Asked for a time frame on his consideration of the extradition request, Nicholas said, “I will not put a time frame on my consideration time. The document, as you can see from the bundle, is quite significant and therefore requires due consideration.”
Nicholas said the extradition documents were sent from the United States Department of Justice to the US Embassy in Trinidad, which then sent them to the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Copies were sent to the Attorney General’s office and Central Authority.
“It is important to decide whether there is a case to be answered; and if there is a case to be answered, then the authority to proceed will be granted. And if in the Attorney General’s discretion, there is not a case or sufficient evidence to proceed, then that is the discretion that will be exercised,” said Nicholas.
He said once a decision is taken, Warner’s legal team will be notified and be given the opportunity to peruse all the evidence and a trial date will be set that is convenient to all sides.
Nicholas said there are no US officials in Trinidad on the case and it is in the hands of this country’s authorities to deal with the matter.