Ralph Maraj: US doesn’t trust T&T govt

(Trinidad Guardian) The failure of the T&T Government to get any official information from the United States pertaining to a Reuters report that Daryan Warner was assisting the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with their investigations can be seen as a lack of trust by the US. Former foreign affairs minister Ralph Maraj, in an interview with Sunday Guardian, said the hesitancy of the US “could be a sign of how the US government sees this present administration.”

Maraj said in his opinion, they (US) had no respect or trust and their unwillingness to respond spoke of the low esteem they held this Government. Warner, 45, is the son of former national security minister Jack Warner and is currently in Florida. The Reuters report, which was written by journalist Mark Hosenball, appeared on the Reuters Web site on March 27. The report said that an FBI probe into alleged corruption practices at Fifa had intensified following the co-operation of a witness.

The witness was identified in the report as being Warner (D). Following the report, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar instructed Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran and Attorney General Anand Ramlogan to contact their US counterparts on the matter. Both men have told the media that the US authorities remained mum on the issue.

Maraj told Sunday Guardian that both T&T and the US have “very strong relations at the bilateral and multi-lateral level,” and the US government has always been ready to co-operate and assist T&T in “most ways, not only just strong diplomatic, but strong economic aspects as well.” The former minister said the current US position and its unwillingness to respond to two “high level ministers” left a lot to be questioned.

Maraj said it should not have taken so long to solicit a response from the US. He said the Section 34 issue only compounded the lack of response from the US to this country’s queries.

Paula Gopee-Scoon responds
Former foreign affairs minister Paula Gopee-Scoon, meanwhile, said the utterances being made that both the AG and Dookeran were seeking information from the US was laughable. She said “a lot of fluff is being placed in the public domain, when they know fully well no information will be relayed to them.”

Gopee-Scoon said the fact that diplomatic channels were utilised by Dookeran and the AG, who wrote to Eric Holder Jr seeking information in the matter and no information was proffered says a lot and “the Government of T&T needs to be concerned.”

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