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Trinidad & Tobago: Warner's Woes

The headlines in Trinidad and Tobago's mainstream media over the last couple of days have focused on a Reuters exclusive report that Daryan Warner, son of former football executive and FIFA Vice-President (now the country's controversial Minister of National Security) Jack Warner, is allegedly assisting the FBI with its investigations into corruption allegations in the international football governing body.

Social networking sites like Facebook were busy with discussion over the news, but most of the comments were posted on private walls or threads. One exception was the Facebook group PNM Abroad, which is a diaspora organisation that supports the current opposition party, the People's National Movement. Minister Warner is part of the People's Partnership coalition government. Unsurprisingly, most recent activity on the page had to do with all things Warner, including a request by the group's leader, Pearce Robinson, to:

‘LIKE’ and ‘SHARE’ this status if you are willing to JOIN ME outside the MINISTRY OF NATIONAL SECURITY to DEMAND the removal of JACK WARNER

The plea got 112 likes but only 22 shares.

In another update, the group asked its followers what they would like to say in a letter to Jack Warner; comments included everything from people quoting Bible verses to calling for his resignation. Ann Mc Carthy wrote:

In light of the current reports in the media, pertaining to your son Daryn Warner and yourself regarding ongoing FBI and IRS investigation, which is now confirmed by law enforcement agencies, it would be prudent of you to do one of the following: (1) Temporary suspension as Minister of National Security and from National Security Council until the investigation has been completed or (2) Resign as Minister of National Security and from National Security Council. This letter is in no way politically or personally motivated, it is of a matter of national interest. Whatever your decision, let it be known that it is of great importance to maintain and retain this nation's image as a whole as one that believes in high morals and integrity at all levels, including those in public office.

Angela Marcelle-Figaro was a bit more direct:

Please do the right thing and resign from politics. You are a disgrace to the nation.

Of course, Twitter was in a flurry as well.

@MiceRaymond: @kristalicia @tv6tnt Sorry but there is only ONE story this morning. #FBIinvestigation #JackWarner why so silent?

@apf17: Smh and this man still continues to manage such an important portfolio….that of national security #madness #jackwarner

One tweet even linked to an article by journalist Andrew Jennings, long known as a whistleblower on corruption within FIFA and archenemy of Jack Warner. The link was also being shared on blogs and news sites.

Bloggers of course, put in their two cents’ worth as well. Diaspora blogger Jumbie's Watch thought a quote by Keith Rowley, Trinidad and Tobago's leader of the opposition, summed it all up:

‘What the country is seeing in the international media is the name of Trinidad and Tobago being portrayed, not by Ato Boldon or by Keshorn Walcott for deeds well done, but by Jack Warner and the Government, who seem to think that there is no such thing as shame.’

The Eternal Pantomime, as of this posting, was the only blog (thus far) to address the report in any kind of detail, taking issue, first of all, with the Prime Minister's response:

Trinidad and Tobago is no longer a banana republic…as of last night with Reuters news service confirming that Warner’s son, and possibly Warner himself, are indeed under investigation, her vague press release in which she says she will wait on an official corroboration is just too hollow for words.

The Prime Minister spent last month in Haiti, right next to the US AG and even members of the FBI. Talk of Daryan Warner’s detention in the US had begun since December 2012 on the day he was caught at the airport with an alleged lump sum of money he had failed to declare at customs…allegedly. And yet in February, with the US AG sharing the same meeting space as you, not a question was asked?

Then you return to Trinidad and the Leader of the Opposition asks you to follow up on these allegations and still nothing?

The post went on to address the impact of all this on the country itself:

You see, we aren’t a banana republic anymore…we are THE BANANA REPUBLIC.

In future when films are being made where the setting or crime taking place in a banana republic, it is Trinidad and Tobago’s name that will be used. The film companies will spend their money and go somewhere safe, and name the location Trinitario…watch and see.

But the question we should be asking ourselves this morning isn’t so much will Kamla fire Jack, or will the Prime Minister act on this latest report.

Rather ask yourself why is the PM not acting?
Why is she continuing to keep Warner on as Minister of National Security?

The blogger concluded:

We in Full Dotish Mode this Easter Weekend, folks…find ah bobolee and beat it!

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