Will history be kind on Mr. Jack Austin Warner? Jack Warner has made major strides not only locally at the Trinidad and Tobago level, but has also climbed to great heights internationally.
Warner (born January 26, 1943) is a Trinidad and Tobago football executive and businessman (Real estate developer) and a FIFA Vice-President since 1983 and CONCACAF President since 1990.
Jack Warner of late, was offered the post of the Minister of Works and Transport of Trinidad and Tobago being an elected member of that country's parliament (MP). This position has been scowled upon by that country's Opposition leader, Dr. Keith Rowley who has attacked the appointment on the basis that there might be potential conflict of interest involving Jack Warner serving as both a Government Minister, and vice president of FIFA.
To support his point, Rowley quoted paragraph 6 of the Code for Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries, which states ministers "shall resign from directorships in all companies", "cease to engage in professional practice" and "cease to be involved in the daily routine work of any business".
Mr. Warner responded with the following: "I congratulate the Integrity Commission on its expeditious response to the Leader of the Opposition's request for an opinion on his statement that my positions as a Cabinet minister and as a vice-president of FIFA are in breach of some ethic that he has conjured up in his turgid imagination."
He further stated on the matter, "Unlike a majority of other members of Parliament, past and present, I seek absolutely no pecuniary interest in being a Member of the Parliament or of the Government.
I shall have more to say on this issue in the House of Representatives."
According to The timesonline, in 2009 Mr. Warner poured scorn on England's World Cup bid, saying it lacked "stardust" and described the country's footballing establishment as "an irritant".
When the FA tried a peace offering in the form of a handbag given to his wife - along with the partners of other FIFA dignitaries - at a dinner in London, he angrily sent it back with a letter to Lord Triesman, the FA independent chairman, complaining that "her character and mine" had been tainted by the gift, which had become "a symbol of derision, betrayal and embarrassment".
Having shown a bit of the tenacity of Mr. Warner, one further has to look of the politics of Trinidad and Tobago. Trinidad and Tobago tends to be divided especially at election time along racial lines. Persons of Indian origin, versus those of African origin. Yet, Mr. Warner supports the Indian oriented United National Congress political party, and has become its chairman. Could this be an effort to prove that ethnicity does not really matter? What could his agenda be, if any? Could it be an attempt at unity in the Caribbean country?
In appreciation of the greatness of the man, at the opening ceremony of the World Cup Football 2010, at the Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg yesterday, Warner received high praises from United Nations Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon.
"Mr. Warner, you are an influential man. This event has united a nation under one banner, football. There is hope again in South Africa," Ban said.
In 2004, Former South African President and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela flew to Trinidad and Tobago to hold talks with Warner in an attempt to solicit his support for his nation's World Cup bid.
So how will history remember this man, Mr. Jack Warner? Will it be one of a hard working, straight speaking, and one of superior business acumen, with strong interpersonal skills, or will it be one who is arrogant, a FIFA untouchable, and possibly corrupted?
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