Minister should follow convention and resign
"MINISTER of National Security and former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, in 2011, held a secret US-dollar account in which he co-mingled personal and football business funds, according to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)."
Andre Bagoo, Newsday,
July 25, 2012
The majority of the panel concluded that Mr Warner was an unreliable witness, "prone to an economy with the truth", and "anything he has said in relation to the matters before the panel was to be treated with caution", the court found.
The Minister of National Security continues to refuse to resign. This is another example of T&T's ignorance of and indifference to parliamentary and judicial conventions.
The character and behaviour of judges and parliamentarians must be beyond reproach to ensure that the principles embodied in law be followed.
Conventions are not law, but "arise from usage or agreement, tacit or express, and they are adhered to once they have developed."
—Philip James: Introduction to English law, p.116.
If conventions are ignored, a political crisis usually follows.
Principles guide legal reasoning and conventions guide parliamentary behaviour.
It is simply astonishing that Mr Warner has not seen fit to resign or that his government has not pressured him to do so!
Even the present Minister of Justice seemed unaware of the principle of natural justice which required that "Justice must not only be done but be seen to be done," when he refused the prosecution request to recuse himself in a former murder trial because he showed bias.
It is bizarre behaviour like this that must have influenced Naipaul to write The Mimic Men.
We are like those male adolescents who are thrilled with their sexual freedom, but are unaware that the role of a father depends on having important understandings, principles, and values.
We have copied the Westminster system of government, but are seemingly incapable of understanding it.
We are a nation born of shattered histories, slavery, indentureship, and colonialism.
We have the forms of judicial and parliamentary systems, but lack that historical continuity and understanding that creates an enduring commitment to their underlying principles.
And this is aggravated by an ethnic polarisation that is ironically unaware that we are all genetically related—the descendants of those black Africans who migrated to India, South East Asia, China, and all other parts of the world.
We are all Africans with superficial phenotypic difference of colour, hair, and so on.
We are a small nation with limited resources, both material and intellectual. We should dedicate ourselves to caring unremittingly for the dignity, rights, and welfare of our fellow citizens, and to upholding those legal and parliamentary principles we claim to subscribe to.
It is this which will produce those institutions that will command respect, not incessant bragging and public posturing.
Mr Warner should resign!
Port of Spain