(Trinidad Express) The re-election of Jack Warner as the Member of Parliament for Chaguanas West will do “untold damage” to this country’s international image, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley warned yesterday.
On Monday, Warner, interim leader of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP), scored a resounding victory in the Chaguanas West by-election against his main rival Khadijah Ameen of the United National Congress (UNC).
Warner had previously won the seat for the UNC in two consecutive general elections but resigned as the MP following a damning report into his work at football body Concacaf (Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Associations of Football).
Speaking at a press conference held at the People’s National Movement’s (PNM) headquarters at Balisier House in Port of Spain, Rowley said the results of Monday’s by-election have “changed nothing” in relation to the allegations of fraud levelled against Warner in the Concacaf report.
“This is no laughing matter. We have an interest to protect as a people, as a nation and the results of Chaguanas West do us no good in treating with our major international partners,” Rowley said.
“The same problems that the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago identified and called on Mr Warner to clear his name if he is to be considered to return to government and into her party, those things remain untouched and are of interest to our partners in the United States, in the United Kingdom and Caricom,” he said.
Rowley said the country will see repercussions internationally as a result of the Chaguanas West vote for Warner.
“Victory for Mr Warner in Chaguanas West would do untold damage to the image of Trinidad and Tobago outside of Trinidad and Tobago because there will be people who will want to know what is happening in Trinidad and Tobago, where these kind of issues could be known internationally and yet the people of Trinidad and Tobago are promoting that as an interpretation of some game changer, that Mr Warner and his new party is the hope for governance in Trinidad and Tobago,” Rowley said.
Rowley said because Warner is the leader of the ILP it is safe to assume he is being offered as a prospective prime minister for this country.
“And of course as leader of this new party one would have to assume what is being offered to us as leader of ILP is that Mr Warner is now a prospective prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago,” Rowley said.
“We of the PNM say ‘not on your nelly’. We are going to resist this. We will not turn a blind eye and say that Robin Hood can live well in this land which is no longer the land of kaiso and pan but Sherwood Forest where Robin Hood, Maid Marian and Friar Tuck reigned supreme. We not accepting that,” Rowley said.
Rowley said the citizens of this country should demand “morality in public affairs” from all its officials.