Thursday, February 22, 2018

Mr Warner's wild remarks


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It seems that every time National Security Minister Jack Warner opens his mouth now, he further erodes confidence in the Government. Mr Warner's latest faux pas is his allegation, made under cover of parliamentary privilege last Friday, that Congress of the People member Vernon de Lima had attended a meeting at which plans to "destabilise the country" were discussed. Mr de Lima has denied attending the meeting, while George Bell, who admitted that a meeting took place at his home, says no such talk took place.

Mr Warner, unsurprisingly, has not produced any evidence to back up any of his statements nor has he been brave enough to repeat his allegations outside the protection of Parliament. And common sense would suggest that the National Security Minister does not have a legal or moral leg to stand on. Even if Mr de Lima did attend the said meeting, he is perfectly within his rights to do so. As for conversation about "destabilising the country", Mr Warner would have to define what that means and say whether the talk was seditious and involved dire threats against officials of the State.

Moreover, even if all that did take place, then Mr Warner acted irresponsibly in his capacity as National Security Minister to announce this plot in Parliament before the intelligence services were able to take action against the alleged perpetrators. And, if none of this took place, then Mr Warner has grossly abused his position as a Government Minister.

In any case, true or false, what did Mr Warner hope to accomplish by making this statement? If there was a plot, he certainly didn't nip it in the bud indeed, all he did was give the supposed plotters an opportunity to regroup with better secrecy. And, in the more likely scenario that there never was any plot, all Mr Warner has succeeded in doing is creating more tension between the United National Congress and the Congress of the People within the strained People's Partnership coalition, which is already effectively shorn of two of its original five leaders.

If this was his real goal, Mr Warner is playing some deep political game, and his refusal to apologise to Mr de Lima serves only this end. Which puts the focus on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who continues to ignore calls from many quarters to remove Mr Warner, if not from the government, from the highly sensitive post of National Security Minister.

As Jack Warner continues to put his foot in his mouth, the Prime Minister's continuing tolerance for his ineffectuality and his prevarications will send a message that she is either unwilling or, worse, unable to rein him in.