Works and Transport Minister Jack Warner returned to Trinidad yesterday afternoon to a big welcome at Piarco International Airport, saying: "I have broken no law."
Referring to the controversy that he could not be a cabinet minister and remain as vice-president of Fifa, Warner told his supporters that he would abide with whatever decision Attorney General Anand Ramlogan comes to. Ramlogan has�asked three senior lawyers for their opinion on the controversy, hoping to advise Cabinet tomorrow on the outcome. But Warner, the Chaguanas West MP, is not daunted by what the Integrity Commission had to say last week. He said he returned from the opening days of the Fifa World Cup in South Africa to continue the work of the people. Warner, who has been with Fifa for 28 years, lashed out at Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, who raised the matter. "Not contented that he removed Patrick Manning from office–he got the easiest political ride in history–he had the temerity to accuse me of breaking some law, or transgressing some code of ethics," Warner said.
"I ask Dr Rowley, as I ask you today, what law did I break, as vice-president of Fifa, or as Minister of Works and Transport...What law did I break? If anybody can tell me what law I broke, I would, of course, be very grateful. Because I continue to be a law-abiding person. "What code of ethics did I transgress?" he asked. "If Dr Rowley is so concerned about the Parliamentary Code of Ethics, I want to ask him some questions this afternoon. "Why was he so silent when Mr Manning appointed his wife, not once, not twice, but three times as a minister? "I want to ask him why he was silent when a Minister of Health had his son open pharmacies all over the country to sell CDAP drugs? Wasn't that code of ethics broken then? "I want to ask him also why he was silent when another Minister of Health had his wife take all the insurance of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to a company she owned? Why was he silent then?"
Warner, who was flanked by Minister in Ministry of Works and Transport Rudy Indarsingh and Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Winston "Gypsy" Peters, said a former Minister of Health was a representative of PAHO, and there was no problem. Warner said when Rowley was Minister of Planning and Development, he gave approval for agricultural land to be used for housing project on a project known as Landate. "Was there a problem then?" the Fifa vice-president asked.
"You can't eat fish and fowl at the same time." Warner said when he was in Opposition, he took his entire cheque and gave it to the Chaguanas West constituency and was paid $1 in salary. He said he intended to do the same, give up his entire minister's salary to his constituency. He said he is not paid by Fifa. He made it quite clear that there were 312 employees in Fifa who were paid, and he was not one of them.