Nothing noble about Warner’s FIFA resignation
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Wednesday June 22, 2011 – Former prime minister Patrick Manning has described as “pure self-preservation”, the decision by Austin ‘Jack’ Warner to resign from posts in international football amid bribery allegations, and has insisted that Warner be removed as Works and Transport Minister.
“Resigning was neither noble nor self-sacrificial,” Manning said in a statement yesterday. “He jumped before he was pushed.”
The former Trinidad and Tobago leader made his comments a day after it was confirmed that Warner had stepped down as Vice President on the executive of world football’s governing body FIFA, President of CONCACAF and President of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU).
Warner said he reached his decision to withdraw from FIFA affairs in order to spare the organisation, CONCACAF and CFU and its membership, from further acrimony and divisiveness arising from the bribery allegations and other related issues.
“With my withdrawal from service in international football I shall, henceforth, be concentrating exclusively on my lifelong commitment to the service of the people of Trinidad and Tobago, currently as Chairman of the major party in our governing coalition and as a Cabinet Minister in the Government of our Republic,” he said.
But Manning suggested that if Warner had not resigned, FIFA’s Ethics Committee would have pursued the charges against him and he may have been found guilty.
“He would then have had to be fired from the Cabinet…His resignation might therefore be construed as a confession of guilt. The whole world knows it. Nobody is being fooled. Warner is now stripped bare for all to see. He stands in naked disgrace before the entire international community,” said the former prime minister in the last People’s National Movement (PNM) administration.
Manning said Warner caused the twin-island republic to be humiliated, but yet continues to hang onto office, “carelessly eroding T&T’s hard-earned global reputation”.
“It is selfishness of the most abominable kind,” he said. “Jack Warner has brought shame and ignominy to Trinidad and Tobago. For this violation of the innocent citizens of our country, the Prime Minister Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar has a moral duty to remove him forthwith from the Cabinet. Jack Warner must go. Enough is enough. Trinidad and Tobago must now stand up”.
“I intend to suggest a certain move to the Parliamentary caucus of the PNM to deal, in Trinidad and Tobago's Parliament, with the behaviour of Jack Warner. I wish to go even further because we must completely distance ourselves from the FIFA culture of cronyism and corruption,” he continued.
Following Warner’s resignation, FIFA said that all Ethics Committee procedures against him in relation to the bribery allegations have been closed “and the presumption of innocence is maintained.”
Warner had been suspended, along with Asian federation chief Mohamed bin Hammam and two CFU, pending the probe.
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