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UNC deputies defend Warner

Saturday, April 20 2013

UNITED National Congress (UNC) deputy political leaders Dr Roodal Moonilal and Dr Suruj Rambachan yesterday defended their chairman and National Security Minister Jack Warner.

They defended Warner following the submission of a report to Concacaf’s congress in Panama which said Warner and Chuck Blazer were “fraudulent in the management” of the confederation’s affairs. Warner resigned as Concacaf president and FIFA vice-president in June 2011. Moonilal, who is also Government Chief Whip and Housing Minister, told reporters after the adjournment of the House of Representatives, that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar may have something to say on this issue once she has read this report which was submitted to the congress by former Barbados Chief Justice Sir David Simmons.

Persad-Bissessar, who is also UNC political leader, returns home tonight around 10.30 pm from the United States. The Prime Minister left the country on April 14 for engagements in New York and Washington DC.

“I’m sure on her return, when she has also read whatever report it was. There may be some comments on it,” Moonilal said. The Prime Minister, who celebrates her 61st birthday on April 22, is expected to address a UNC public meeting in Penal on that date.

Told by reporters what Sir David told the congress, Moonilal replied, “I would like to read his words and not hear his words. Could I read the report and then I could entertain any questions?”

Moonilal said he did not discuss this issue with Warner while they were outside of the Parliament Chamber while the House was sitting. He said they were discussing housing for senior police officers. Moonilal also said Acting Attorney General (AG) Prakash Ramadhar has not reported to the Government whether or not US Attorney General Eric Holder Jr has provided any clarification on a Reuters story which claimed Warner’s son Daryan is a cooperating witness in an FBI investigation into alleged corruption in international football.

Noting the House will debate a private motion filed by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley to “take appropriate action to protect the image and interest of the people of Trinidad and Tobago which are consistently being damaged by the actions and business of the Minister of National Security,” Moonilal said, “One anticipates Mr Warner will speak in that debate and we will address some of these issues.” He added that “these matters are within the purview of Mr Warner before he entered the Government.” Rambachan, the Local Government Minister, said, “When an accusation is made against a person, I think it is fair that the person always has or be given the opportunity to respond.”

Asked whether the Government still supports Warner in the face of Sir David’s report, Rambachan replied, “As a colleague you are always going to be supportive of a colleague unless something is proven otherwise.”

However he added that “even where something happens to a colleague where something is negative, you do support your colleague.” Told the Congress of the People (COP) issued a statement which said Communications Minister Jamal Mohammed’s statement on Thursday that all Cabinet members support Warner, Rambachan said, “I saw that and that’s their entitlement.” Mohammed is a COP member, Cabinet minister and Government senator.

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