Why didn’t former government minister Jack Warner debate FIFA ethics committee’s Concacaf report with former justice David Simmons?
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar asked the question on Friday as she responded to Warner’s call for a public debate with United National Congress (UNC) candidate Khadijah Ameen.
Simmons, who heads the committee, compiled a report which alleged fraud during Warner’s management of Concacaf while he was president of the football body.
On the heels of the report, Warner resigned as National Security minister, UNC chairman and Chaguanas West MP, saying he would seek a fresh mandate from the people.
Speaking at a cottage meeting in Felicity last Friday, Persad-Bissessar said Warner did not have to resign or form his own party.
He just had to clear the allegations made against him.
“Clear your name. Why don’t you clear your name? Why you only attacking Khadijah, attacking ministers of my Government, members of our party? All you have to do is clear your name!” said the Prime Minister.
“Until he clears his name, there is no space for him,” she said.
“You telling Khadijah you want a debate when Justice Simmons doing the enquiry over there in Panama; why didn’t you go out there and clear your name? Why didn’t you go debate? And a man name Mr Jennings looking for him now, too.”
Ameen, she added, had more important things to do than to go and stand before the television cameras to debate with Warner.
“When we first came, I felt your pain; I met you, you said, ‘Why allyuh doing that to Jack?’…. I said, ‘What we doing?’ I did not ask him to resign from the Parliament and put us in this election. You didn’t ask him to give up his seat,” said Persad-Bissessar.
Noting that Warner got the highest number of votes in the 2010 general election, she said he threw back those votes in the faces of the people by resigning his seat.
Persad-Bissessar said Ameen was being attacked because of her age and gender.
“Mr Warner say Khadijah is a child…. So every young person in our country, we must not give them a chance? We should not give them the opportunity to grow? If all the old people stay there forever, what will happen to your son and daughter?” she said.
Persad-Bissessar also said Warner had his eyes set on the local government elections.
“Mr Warner is coming to take out the UNC out of the Borough of Chaguanas; do not divide your votes,” she said.
Persad-Bissessar said many untruths were said about her in 2010 but she remained strong, and today, she was Prime Minister.
Women, she said, were equal to men and were also good leaders.
Persad-Bissessar said Warner spoke of a cabal in Government, which did not exist.
She urged the people to keep the UNC in Government, saying her administration will continue its fight against poverty and develop the nation by building hospitals and schools and moving on to extend the laptop programme to primary school pupils.