In the style of a T+T Limbo Dancer sensuously winding down to the ground under the horizontal rod of fire that hovers dangerously over her heart before deftly slipping out of danger, former high-flying globe-trotter Austin Jack Warner must still be hoping to escape from the large waiting arms of US marshals waiting to take him in a jiffy from Piarco to the USA.
While the news reports indicate that the US officials must apply to a local magistrate for permission to cart Warner away, this writer is not clear whether the man who titled his biography Toiling Upward Through the Night, would have already accessed his options and flown the coop.
As a FIFA official who mollycoddled, curry favoured, helped, mammaguyed, bribed and made friends-with- benefits with a large number of leaders all over the globe, Warner might not have been in this country when the British Law Lords made their decision in London.
His immediate response to the Extradition Ruling points to a man who has been studying his case for a long time with strong grounds that he could win.
In this regard, Warner stated:
“FIFA is an independent association not affiliated to any government or country. At all times it sought, in the interest of football, to offer opportunities to the widest cross section of the international community to host the World Cup. Particular attention was paid to developing countries who have been denied economic opportunity partly because for long periods they were under colonial domination.
Against that background FIFA gave preference to South Africa, Russia and Qatar to host World Cup Finals. Naturally, the United States of America and the United Kingdom who had previously hosted the World Cup were not selected despite sustained lobbying.
They were therefore not pleased and thereafter began a campaign against FIFA which resulted in the arrest and prosecution of several Executive Committee members of FIFA who had assembled for a meeting in Zurich.
I note that several European countries including France and Switzerland, several Latin American countries, including Brazil, and several African and Middle Eastern countries have refused to extradite their citizens.
Trinidad and Tobago is therefore an outlier.
I have no banking account nor property in the United States. I have not transacted any business there. It is unfathomable how a New York District Attorney could commence a prosecution against me based solely on the fact that monies payable to me passed through the American banking system.
Furthermore, it is incredulous that allegations of misconduct arising out of a FIFA meeting held in Trinidad could be prosecuted in the United States whereas, in Trinidad itself it does not constitute criminal activity.
I continue to have confidence in my team led by Fyard Hosein Senior Counsel, and I have advised them to continue to press my case on the three remaining stages of these proceedings. I have lived in this country for nearly eighty years, and I am confident that I will continue to receive the love, affection, and respect that people from all walks of life have always extended to me. I am certain I will prevail in the end.
For the time being, this is all I am prepared to say in this matter.
Furthermore, t is instructive that there are a large number of countries r that have no Extradition Agreement with the USA and UK. For instance,
The United States does not have extradition treaties with the following countries that it recognizes as sovereign states:
- Angola Armenia.
Scene from Angola
Whatever the outcome of this exciting series, Jack Warner will be forever have his name embedded in the history books of Trinidad and Tobago and, indeed, the Football world, for his image as the proverbial Robin Hood who not only supposedly robbed the Rich and gave to the Poor, but who also ensured he helped himself at every level of his widespread operation.
Since this kind of behavior seems to be a mainstay in the FIFA upper culture, Warner seems to have been able to conduct his various shenanigans without so much as a hunt of regret, being just another one of the FIFA bandits in jacket flying across the world with uniforms and balls to give to government leaders.
So whether it was Obama in the USA or Macron in Canada, Warner and his crew shepherded by former Presidents Sepp Blatter and Dr Jao Havelange, seem to have refined the art of the deal to the hilt in that they won the hearts ,minds and souls of the people through the beautiful game.
So he may have an important point when he spoke about the USA being disappointed at losing the 2022 World Cup as an avenue because of his machinations.
Look at how neatly Warner seeks to link his arrest with the USA’s anger at him surrounding the 2010 votes by FIFA’s executive to hand the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 edition to Qatar.
Naturally, the United States of America and the United Kingdom who had previously hosted the World Cup were not selected despite sustained lobbying.
Trinidad and Tobago Team for the World Cup in Germany
Warner added: They were therefore not pleased and thereafter began a campaign against FIFA which resulted in the arrest and prosecution of several Executive Committee members of FIFA who had assembled for a meeting in Zurich.
Having taken such a big risk to go against the USA, one would expect that Warner will now be safely housed in any one of those many countries which have benefited from his offerings and which do not have Extradition Treaties with the USA and her cohorts.
At home, Jack Warner’s story is that of the typical poor boy who broke out of his limited rural surroundings in Rio Claro, deep southeast Trinidad by excelling in the country’s secondary school entrance examinations to attend the prestigious Roman Catholic school called Presentation College, far away in Chaguanas, central Trinidad.
In later years, Jack Warner came to be known as one who regularly attended Holy Mass at the Roman Catholic Church in Mt St Benedict.
Image of the rural Rio Claro of Jack Warner’s childhood
On this basis, his single mother was galvanized into migrating with her two other sons to the largely Indian populated place in the sun where young Jack continued to excel academically and also developed a keen interest in the administration football world.
Throughout his career, Warner was always known to be lavish with FIFA’s money and facilities.
After obtaining permission for Trinidad and Tobago to hold the FIFA U-17 World Championship Trinidad & Tobago, for example, he secured the finance to construct four stadiums in which the games were held.
Such moves were much to the delight of governments led by successive Prime Ministers Basdeo Panday and Kamla Persad Bussessar who he backed in his dethroning of Panday from power in the run up to the 2010 general elections,
Having fallen from grace because of his questionable FIFA activities, Warner resigned as Minister of National Security, leaving Persad Bissessar to form his own party and contest elections where he won his seat by the largest majority among all candidates.
This seat was of majority Indian population.
Among the more outstanding events in which Warner was involved were:
- His acceptance of the US multi-million dollar Centre of Excellence at Macoya as a gift from FIFA President Jao de Havelenge;
- His machinations to have an award for major highway construction to company which was said to belong to a relative of de Havelange with great perks attached; and
- Seeing the Trinidad and Tobago football team beat the USA out of the contest to play in the World Cup in Germany;
As a government minister, Jack Warner was known as a man of extremely high energy who worked at hours which seemed endless to the normal human being.
Taken aback at his invitation to meet with her in his office at two o’clock in the morning, one citizen only then came to realize that the multi-lingual Warner started work at the same time that his European colleagues did in their different timezone.
Warner was always seen to be there for the small man – whether it was
- After a house fire where families were displaced; the distribution of hampers;
- Presenting himself to motivate public workers called out at odd hours to repair the public utility facilities in his constituency and other places; and
Visiting a sick constituency member in the public hospital.
That’s why, all things being said, Austin Jack Warner has earned himself the title of A Man for all Seasons.
In this connection therefore, many people will be quietly happy to hear that he has found a way to escape from the monkey’s pants into which the USA would like to woo him.
Brent Sancho – Photo by Joel Bailey
Among those who would love to see Warner incarcerated are former national footballers Brent Sancho and Shaka Hislop who did not hold back from sharing their disappointment in former FIFA vice president Jack Warner in Netflix’s new docuseries FIFA: Uncovered.
The four-episode series extensively covers allegations of corruption in the world governing body for football. It was released on Wednesday.
Sancho praised Warner – or what he thought him to be – saying that in the Caribbean, there’s a “post-Jack and a pre-Jack (era).”
The pre-Jack era, he said, most “went about their business on their own. Twenty-five countries reporting back to Concacaf and FIFA.
“When Jack came in, he united the Caribbean and he gave every single Caribbean nation –whether you’re small as Turks and Caicos or as big as Cuba – a sense of belonging.”
He added that Warner “believed that the Caribbean should be hosting World Cups. He believed that anything that Europe gets or Africa gets or Asia gets, that the Caribbean should get as well.”
He said Warner had a “very powerful hand” in TT football.
When asked for a comment by Newsday prior to the release of the docuseries, Warner responded:
“I’m not aware of it and I don’t want to be aware of it.
“It doesn’t really interest me”
Despite this and numerous other allegations to his criminal activities, many Trinis and a number of other people would like to see the man they know as a brother and friend, rest comfortably for the balance of his days in some place where he cannot be touched or that he is left in a protected state in the same way that as Calypso Rose sang:
Just Leave Me Alone!
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