(Trinidad Guardian) Political scientist Dr Selwyn Ryan says this is not “a banana Republic” and that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar should “bite the bullet” and “try to persuade” the embattled Works and Transport Minister Jack Warner to “respond positively to a red card. If the bullet is not bitten at this point in time and there are further embarrassments down the road, the Prime Minister would regret not having accepted the advice of those who felt that Jack Warner should be thanked for his services as a Minister and put out to pasture,” he said. Ryan was responding during a telephone interview yesterday surrounding reports that Persad-Bissessar’s Cabinet realignment involved her stripping Warner of the transport portfolio which currently falls within his ministry.
He said it was “no good for the image and reputation of the country and the Government to be carrying Jack on its back” given the “baggage that he is carrying”. He said it sends “bad signals” to both the local and international public. Ryan said: “Warner was still an elected Member of Parliament and that would remain, but as a member of Government it’s the wrong signal to send to a whole lot of other people and there would be a price to pay. “It cannot be said that the taking away of that particular portfolio (transport) is a result of what has happened in respect of FIFA. “That would have happened normally as a result of other kinds of considerations,” he added.
While Ryan contended that Persad-Bissessar may “have reservations facilitating his removal from Cabinet “having regard to the fact that Jack works hard,” there was always the possibility of conflict given the many hats Warner has worn. He said he was among those adamant a year ago when members of the Opposition (in particular) had raised concerns as to whether Warner was capable of functioning effectively as Works and Transport Minister, FIFA vice president, Concacaf president and president of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) respectively. “I anticipated that at some point, this sort of thing would happen and one would be at odds with the other. “My own feeling is that he should have been stripped of both parts of his portfolio,” Ryan said.