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Method to Jack’s seeming madness

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Jack Warner has been a controversial figure, one who is alleged to have been associated with football/Fifa corruption and double dealing for close on three decades. The courts, local and foreign, are to have the final say on such allegations.

So too is the US indictment likely to focus on financial and other economic and business institutions which reportedly facilitated much of Warner’s dealings.

However, those who formed political and financially dependent relationships with Warner and gave him high political office have political questions to answer during this campaign and there can be no question of shutting him up; the character and behind-the-scenes dealings of politicians must be examined by the electorate. 

That “the plot thickens” is a clichéd phrase to describe when increasingly a seemingly ordinary situation becomes complicated and with bizarre consequences. The phrase suits the first-brush, a seemingly minor claim by Warner that a packet of marijuana was found outside a window at Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s private residence in Phillipine in 2013.

In his claim, Warner incorporated himself, then Deputy Commissioner of Police Mervyn Richardson, senior ministerial handler Dr Roodal Moonilal, the Prime Minister and with Gary Griffith being told of the incident by Warner. Far outweighing the packet of marijuana was the alleged agreement among the “plotters” to stifle investigation by the police into the find. It worked until the present. 

Moonilal said he had “no recollection” of the allegation. Richardson’s response was “no comment;” but he added “that is politics.” The Prime Minister was shocked and surprised and suggested that the security contingent at her home had responsibility for the grounds. 

Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams initially said he had no information on the Warner claim. 

But inside 24 hours of his first response, Williams informed that he had subsequently received a report from the head of the Special Branch, Gary Gould, who suddenly retrieved from his memory, the incident. The CoP had to tell the nation that “yes” the police did indeed find the packet of “plant-like” substance; not by the window, but in a male washroom in a gazebo on the grounds of the residence. 

The police, having corroborated the Warner story, at least the ganja find, the PM found room to shift security responsibility for the ganja packet to the police, who have control of the property. Moonilal suddenly abandoned his court jester role for silence; later he would become psycho-analyst. Warner is “delusional,” quipped Moonilal. Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar seemed to have accepted the delusional ascription of her minister. Most recently, Moonilal seemed intent on bullying the media away from Warner’s claims. 

One journalistic investigation report reflects on Mervyn Richardson becoming deputy head of the National Operations Centre on his retirement; that there was a buyout of leave for Special Branch officers; remember by all accounts so far given it should have been that branch of the service to have investigated the marijuana find.

Further, that the buyout was done without the knowledge of the bargaining body which represents the officers. The record shows that there have been previous clandestine attempts at buying out vacation leave of police officers. In one instance when the planned buyout was seriously challenged by the Social and Welfare Police Association, the Prime Minister intervened to stop the buyout. Her intervention did not, however, free her from the obvious conclusion that she had prior knowledge of the plan.

Into the plot, a guy named Kristyan was shoved. Having written and submitted this column before yesterday’s follow up claims by Warner, I am unaware of what extensions the former national security minister may have added to how Kristyan fits into the story.

The verification of the police that a “plant-like substance” was found on the premises suggests that we have to hold on characterising Warner as a complete bluffer and fabricator of stories simply to carry out a political vendetta on his former boss.

There is a slew of questions which needs answers: why was the matter not being investigated by the Special Branch? Who had the power to suppress such an investigation? Why was Williams not informed of the ganja find?

Why has there been no categorical denial by Moonilal? Why has he gone quiet and his bombast softened? Incidentally, he has not yet denied the authenticity of the published Warner cheques made out to him. Why has Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar not come forward to deny out of hand that she ever participated in a phone conversation as described by Warner? Why has she not shown her stamped passport to verify when she left the country? If she left on April 14, did the Gazette record the transfer of prime ministership to Winston Dookeran on April 12? Is it customary to have the Gazette date such a notice two days prior to the PM leaving the country? 

Why the intrigue to a story that would have had a simple explanation: the grounds of the PM’s residence are large and with security persons, gardeners and others tramping in and out, anyone could have left the package there. 

It is therefore legitimate to wonder if there is more in the mortar than the pestle. 


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