National Security Minister Jack Warner has come to the defence of Tobago Minority Leader Ashworth Jack saying that no crime was committed if in fact the same contractor who did extension works on the Prime Minister's house also did work on Jack's multi-million-dollar home.
The Sunday Express reported that there was a new twist in the controversy surrounding Jack's $2 million house in Hillsborough, Mt St George, Tobago as investigations showed that Super Industrial Services (SIS), the construction firm that did extension works on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar's South Philippine house, also did work on Jack's house.
Jack is the political leader of the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) and a partner in the People's Partnership coalition.
In a telephone interview with the Express yesterday, Warner, who himself has been under scrutiny for allegedly not declaring a credit union account of some $611,126.23 to the Integrity Commission, said that there were elements working against the People's Partnership government.
Asked about reports of the same contractor who did work on the Prime Minister and Jack's house, Warner responded "If it is, what is the crime in that? What is the crime in somebody building a house, I don't know if by chance the contractor is the person who allegedly did work on the Prime Minister's house but if it is, then so what? Because he did work on the Prime Minister's house he's not to work on anyone else's house? I don't know the facts but even if the contractor is the same, what of that is value?" said Warner.
Warner said there was "political mischief" in the making in the run up to the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) elections on January 21, 2013 where the TOP led by Jack will be fielding a slate of candidates against the People's National Movement (PNM) led by Tobago chief secretary Orville London.
Warner said a mountain is being made of a mole hill with respect to Jack's house.
"I sometimes reach the stage where I get like so many people in this country, I get turned off by the kind of attempts being made at different levels to try and create political mischief. Mr Jack was never in charge of the treasury in Tobago at any point in time. Mr Jack was never guilty of any cost overruns or any projects in Tobago, Mr Jack was never guilty for inflicting any budgets or any expenditure so as to of course to squander any money. Mr Jack," said Warner.
"Mr Jack built his house and he built it with his blood, sweat and tears and for people to infer malice because of that then something has to be wrong in the country," he said.
Warner added that the microscope should be placed over other persons in Tobago who have a duty to account to the people.
"Why don't they looks at persons who were in control of the Tobago treasury for the past 12 years. See what they have done, see how they have enriched themselves, see how many homes they have in Tobago, see of course who owns gas stations and the list goes on and on," he said.
"The people of Tobago are not so stupid, the people of Tobago, one thing you have to give them credit for is their intelligence," Warner said.
Warner said he was confident that the TOP led by Jack would sweep the election come January.
"The people in Tobago are angry over the rape of the treasury, they are angry that nothing has been done for them for the last 12 years, they are looking now at the past six months, the kind of pace at which things are being done, they are concerned about the lack of accountability with respect to Tobago's expenditure and the kind of cost overruns and therefore while we in Trinidad might tend to look at an issue and politicise it, Tobagonians are at a higher level," said Warner.
Warner warned that in the run up to the elections more mud slinging could be expected.
"I am absolutely convinced there are machinations working against this Government at all levels in the country from the highest to the lowest level and this point in time I won't say much more but I've gotten to learn that politically everything has its time," he said.
Despite all such attempts, Warner said the Government led by Persad-Bissessar continues to deliver.
He noted that in the area of industrial relations some 40 agreements have been reached and signed.
Warner said further that in the crime fight, the dent was being made especially in Central Trinidad where there was a spate of criminal activities.
He disclosed that his Ministry was working round the clock to ensure that the entire country is covered by CCTV cameras in strategic locations.
"I am happy to report by the end of next week all CCTV cameras will be in place in Tobago and Tobago will be able to boast of being the first division where the entire island will be covered by cameras," said Warner.
"In a nutshell, therefore I think we have a lot to be thankful for, there are many attempts to frustrate this Government in every way but we have not fallen victims to those efforts and the Prime Minister when she speaks will say much more," said Warner.