|National Security Minister Jack Warner|
(photo courtesy T&T Newsday)
Addressing the fact that Jack Warner's appointment to Cabinet is another one of this Government's biggest mistakes, Maharaj points out that he was a bad fit for public office from day one:
For a man who had risen to giddying heights in the jungle of international football, there couldn't have been a more wrong fit than as a minister in the Government in T&T.
She gives more thought to the fabric of his character and society's part in creating him than I've ever taken the time to give:The very skills and personality traits that carried him to the top of FIFA's global football empire and out into a business empire of his own, have been the very elements that have served to trip him up in public office.
She also takes note of the the fact that the current political turbulence is not the result of a shift to more corrupt politics, but of a shift in the political thinking of the people of T&T:[...] Jack Warner is not some individual aberration of our politics that can be resolved by prime ministerial decree.He has been here before, and he will come again for, as a type, Jack Warner is a product of the culture, although as an individual, he may even be a victim of the culture that has created him. [...]Jack Warner's rise to prominence as an uncut and unplugged force represents the extreme possibilities of a culture without the capacity to answer the complex moral questions posed by financial success in a society where morality and blood money have co-existed happily from its very origins as a economy built on the backs of the brutally enslaved.That original sin on which Caribbean society has been founded continues to complicate our lives to this day by robbing such fundamental concepts as truth and justice of their uncompromising clarity. The result is a widespread amorality which releases us from the responsibility of judging the colour of money so that we might forgive and forget that, however much it has been laundered since, it had begun as blood-red.In the fluidity of the amoral environment, Jack Warner, energetic, ambitious, smart and ever-resourceful, carved his unique pathway to success, only to lose this footing by over-reaching himself into public office.We can easily understand that Warner's modus operandi in his private life would run afoul of the requirements of public office. So, the surprise is not that it has happened, but that Warner and the Prime Minister had not taken the necessary precautions for protecting themselves and their government. Had they, he would not have been brought into the Cabinet.
While I agree with the notion that this government likely feels blindsided by a population that has absorbed all manner of corruption up to now, I feel absolutely no sympathy for them.How could they imagine that an electorate that had been so willing to ask no questions, seek no guarantees and demand no standards of them in the naked pursuit of electoral victory, would suddenly turn around and demand standards in governance and public life?Indeed, for a while, standards hadn't mattered at all as the UNC took control of the Government and annihilated the partnership with the full complicity of its partners and their supporters.Imagine their mystification, therefore, at the burgeoning public criticism when neither Warner nor the Prime Minister is doing anything different from what they have always done. No wonder they are inclined to believe that the public outrage and protests reflected in the media are conspiracies perpetrated by journalists and the parliamentary opposition.The truth is that what has changed is not the politicians in government but our judgment of their capacity to do the job.
They rode to power to the platform of change. Whether or not we were critical enough of them before giving them the office has little to do with the issues of the day, because - while it is true that we elected them because Manning and his cronies needed to go - we also chose them because we were hoping for a new kind of governance. The kind they promised.
Now that it is clear that they were just telling us all what we wanted to hear, it's no wonder at all why they're facing such strong condemnation. If they're truly mystified, they're welcome to have a seat on the political sidelines to mull it over.
Finally, she gives a terrifyingly plausible explanation for why -despite numerous public calls for his removal - Jack Warner's reign might not be over yet:
Can't wait to see if this proves to be true...As for Warner, he is now boxed in. The smart move will be to step away from the Cabinet now. But personality compulsions will not permit this, neither will the Prime Minister desire it.For now, she needs Jack Warner in the role of lightning rod, attracting and focusing public outrage away from her. At the right moment, but not before, she will attempt to dispense with him and rescue herself and her administration. In preparation for that moment, she needs him for helping to secure the two critical seats in Tobago.