Trinidad and Tobago’s Jack Warner Resigns Due to Football Fraud Accusations


Trinidad and Tobago’s former National Security Minister, Austin “Jack” Warner, was one of the casualties from a report into alleged corruption in CONCACAF–the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football. The former FIFA vice president resigned from government less than 72 hours after the publication of a report by the CONCACAF Integrity Committee that had been very critical of him.

The announcement by Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar that she had accepted the resignation of Warner has sparked off widespread discussion across the Caribbean about the management of football on the twin-island republic, as well as a political debate over Warner’s political future.

When they met to discuss his resignation, ruling United National Congress (UNC) senior party officials hinted that his declared intention to fight the seat in the by-election may not be a done deal. UNC deputy political leader Dr. Roodal Moonilal says that “Mr Warner is a colourful character and he has expressed an interest in contesting the seat again. I think we will meet and treat with that expression of interest.”

Warner had retained the position of UNC chairman late last year after he successfully whipped his lone rival, attorney Ashvani Mahabir, who had been backed by some of Warner’s cabinet colleagues for the post. His removal from the Cabinet followed widespread calls for Prime Minister Persad Bissessar to act immediately on the contents of the report of the CONCACAF Integrity Committee that was released in Panama late last month. Warner did not co-operate with the investigation and has hinted at the possibility of contesting the up-coming by election as an independent. But Moonilal said Trinidad and Tobago’s political history does not support independents.

“Over the years, we have had a lot of people who tried to be independent in one way or another, going back to Bhadase Maraj in 1972. But society is really settled on party politics and I think it is very difficult for an independent to gain an electoral foothold in Trinidad and Tobago in that way. So I don’t give much hope for independents, but I wish all the candidates good luck.”

Meanwhile, Mr Warner made it clear in his resignation speech to his Chaguanas West constituency that he knows where a few FIFA bodies are buried. In a separate development, an internal report by the FIFA Ethics Committee on bribery published on 30 April led to the resignation of honorary FIFA president Joao Havelange.

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