Minutes after Jack Warner announced his intention to contest the Chaguanas West by-election, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said his request to be returned as an MP on a UNC ticket was disrespectful to the party. She admitted too that keeping him in the Cabinet would have caused irreparable damage to the Government, noting he resigned from the Cabinet “on his own volition” because of matters involving him which are still in the public domain.
She said those matters related to Warner’s previous position as a vice president of world football governing body Fifa. Persad-Bissessar said: “To date he has not provided compelling evidence to refute the allegations. “You cannot separate those matters from his position as a minister, since it has the potential to do irreparable damage to the Government and the image of our country.” The PM said Warner’s decision to resign was taken unilaterally. “No one asked him to resign. Recognizing the magnitude of what was revealed in the (Concacaf) ethics committee report from Panama, he offered his resignation as Minister of National Security and I accepted, as is my right.”
The PM continued: “Unilaterally, he returned one of the safest UNC seats that had been given to him on a platter by the UNC, and now he asks you to vote him back. I consider this to be disrespect for the party and for you, and who is to say whether such behaviour would not be repeated in the future.” She asked where was his “loyalty to the party that gave birth to his political career and more so, loyalty to you, members of the UNC and the Partnership”. She noted that Warner also remains the subject of a police investigation into the establishment of a new Flying Squad at the Ministry of National Security. “Serious statements have been made about this matter by those close to it and which statements are also in the public domain.”
According to the PM, Warner also admitted that he and his family are the subject of an inquiry by the government of the US. “I have said that should he clear his name, he will be re-instated,” she said, adding the UNC “cannot support a candidate under the current circumstances,” as further legal challenges can embarrass the country, government and the people of Chaguanas West. She told the crowd that as a National Security Minister, Warner also “refused to travel on Government business on several occasions”.