Warner issues mass e-mail to media in response to questions posed by ‘Sunday Express’ investigative journalist Camini Marajh

(Trinidad Express) National Security Minister Jack Warner yesterday sought to deflate a Sunday Express investigation into allegations made against him by e-mailing a response to questions sent to him by head of the Express Investigative Desk Camini Marajh to almost the entire media corps.
He also sent Marajh’s questions to all those on his mailing list.
However, he omitted to send his response to Marajh.
The questions to Warner covered a broad range of issues, ranging from his son’s current troubles with United States authorities to Concacaf, the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) and the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF), among other things.
Warner, who is reported to be linked to an investigation by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), in which his son, Daryan Warner, is said to be a “cooperating witness”, tried to “scoop” the Sunday Express on its own investigation of allegations against him in a bid to “kill” the story.
Award-winning Marajh, recognised locally and abroad for her penetrative investigative journalism, e-mailed a list of 40 questions to Warner last Wednesday so as to give him adequate opportunity to respond to the issues about which she was writing.
But instead of confining his response to the Express journalist, Warner yesterday sent it to no fewer than 57 reporters from all the daily newspapers, television stations and even political bloggers known for their bias to the ruling People’s Partnership Government.
In his mass e-mail, Warner stated the investigation into allegations against him was to be published today in the Sunday Express, but this is not so.
In his response, Warner told Marajh that should he respond to her questions, it would be tantamount to “validating character assassination posing as investigative journalism” against him.
According to Warner, “If I choose to answer any one of your questions (as shown below) wrapped within your own expression of opinions and false judgment, what I would be doing is validating character assassination posing as investigative journalism.”
He continued: “If one is asked a question on matters that never really existed in reality and it is denied, the headlines then scream ‘Jack Warner denies X’ which simply places the fabrication out there and achieves the assassin’s true objective”.
Warner, who is under tremendous scrutiny both within the country and abroad, was recently the target of a breaking story by the Reuters news agency, which alleged his son, Daryan, was a “cooperating witness” with the FBI into alleged corruption in international football.
The Reuters article, which was transmitted throughout the world, also indicated the IRS had joined the investigation into possible violations of tax laws and wire and mail fraud, involving US$500,000 in payments by the Caribbean Football Union over the past 20 years (the same period Jack Warner headed the CFU) to an offshore company headed by US football official Chuck Blazer.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has since instructed Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran and Attorney General Anand Ramlogan to pursue the matter though diplomatic channels.
Ramlogan has taken it a step further and has written directly to his US counterpart, Attorney General Eric Holder, to provide information about the alleged investigations by the FBI and the IRS linked to Warner.
Continuing his response to the media corps yesterday, Warner stated: “In Trinidad and Tobago, public officials, such as I, are expected, and rightly so, to be held accountable. I recognise and respect this and have never asked nor have been given any quarter in this regard. But shouldn’t there be equal accountability by any member of the media and the media house represented?”
Further, he questioned: “Who investigates the background and agenda of the author of the investigative piece when bias is alleged by the hapless victim of any contrived story?”
According to the minister, “The right of you (Marajh) or anyone else to ask a question should be equally weighed by my own right to question the true intent of the reporter and the media organisation represented. My obligation to answer questions for an article which I am advised will appear in your paper this Sunday must be equally met by your own dutiful obligation and that of your paper to be fair, unbiased, balanced and professional.”
Warner said in the absence of this, he is relieved from his own duty to provide any responses to the many questions posed by the journalist.
The chairman of the United National Congress and member of the National Security Council, Warner slammed what he called “biased reportage and defamatory articles” against him and his family.
“I can supply ample evidence of the blatantly biased reportage and defamatory articles on my family and me that have consistently appeared over time,” he wrote.
He lamented that “pursuing legal action, which I have done on occasions, doesn’t subtract the damage already done and the purpose served by those who choose to destroy anyone’s name”.
Pointing to the Express reporting about issues surrounding him, Warner said: “Suffice it to say, it was Ria Taitt last Sunday, it is now Camini Marajh this Sunday,” urging Marajh to keep on writing, “you and others… in the meantime, I bask in the hope that one day you too will will be ‘getting it write’.”
“If you do not understand what I am saying,” he referred Marajh to an article written by Rev Winston Cuffie, published in last Friday’s Express in his weekly paid advertisement, in which he came out in defence of Warner, knocking his detractors as “boring”.
Cuffie referred to calls for Warner to step down as “frivolous and futile”.
In concluding his mass e-mail, Warner made reference to a funeral service he attended yesterday for murder victims, cousins Jerome and Dale Ramsahai, and drew attention to the words of a hymn: “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me,” suggesting to Marajh that she replace two words—“earth” with “Trinidad and Tobago” and “me” with “you”.

Around the Web