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In the worldview of Jack Warner, people are either for him or against him. If you are in the first category, you must continuously express admiration for him; fuel the transparent propaganda that he is a man of less talk and more action; print his face on the national flag; never mention FIFA, Bin Hamman, Soca Warriors, or Sepp Blatter; and if he extends his hand, take it or else.
The second category comprises those who disagree with him. We saw early that among this leopard’s spots were non sequiturs, a philosophy that violence cures violence, a mouth that outruns brain, an inability to countenance disagreement, and a wilful tendency to arrogate authority he does not possess.
In August 2010, three months after he assumed Cabinet responsibility for Works and Transport, Warner disclosed that he had instructed the Attorney General to do away with obstacles to the death penalty. Those obstacles include almost every international human rights convention and legal guarantee to life in the civilised world.
An avid hangman, Warner remains superfluous about killing killers. He dropped his death-penalty solution to crime onto fertile ground: this society is at once bedevilled by personal insecurity, enraged by the loss of loved ones, addicted to violent punishment as means of discipline, and empty of healthy ideas about how to escape our criminal vortex.
In this environment, Warner’s passion for murdering murderers, his one carte-blanche solution to crime, found favour so that when author and activist Dr Merle Hodge challenged him, his response on August 30, 2010, following a tour of Bamboo No 1, was, “There will be one million Merle Hodges out there, I couldn’t be bothered,” adding that he “could not be bothered one iota by those who object to my position on the death penalty.”
Perhaps the public, consumed by its lust for violent vengeance, missed the rather obvious implications in these statements: who vex lorse; my view transcends all others; I respect no opposing view; and I will not be contained by the specific portfolio assigned to me.
Associated with his desire to hang people is Warner’s desire to beat children. “I rue the day they stopped beating in schools,” he told those at a Police Service function at Hyatt Regency Hotel in August this year. This in spite of his Prime Minister’s statement 11 months before that: “Empirical evidence is very clear.
Violence breeds violence. So you don’t beat somebody to become better. Statistics are very clear. If it is the country wants it, certainly we’ll look at it, but the evidence is clear. You cannot beat somebody and expect them to be peaceful.”
The PM, remember, was Minister of Education in 2001 when she pioneered legislation to end corporal punishment in schools. This, of course, does not reconcile with the PM’s support for the death penalty but that’s another column.
Warner’s position on beating children perhaps helps to explain why a Cabinet in which he is a senior and influential member would rush to proclaim Clause 34 while the Children Bill (2012), not without its flaws but nevertheless an improvement on existing legislation, remains far from proclamation.
Warner’s first act as National Security Minister in June this year was to accompany police and soldiers to demolish the Highway Re-Route Movement’s protest camp in Debe and detain protest leader Dr Wayne Kublalsingh. The action came after Warner had slung ad hominem mud at Kublalsingh, not dissimilar to the mudslinging at journalists with whom he disagrees.
Force, it appears, is Warner’s problem-solving paradigm. And he is no respecter of the separation of powers, everything and everyone is fair game. On Clause 34, in addition to being in the Government choir singing “Move On,” Warner again jumped boundaries to launch himself at the President of the Republic and Dean of the Trinity Cathedral. He has yet to retract these statements.
So this minister’s most recent foray into the realm of the Commissioner of Police is not new; he is consistent to the point of predictability in arrogating powers he does not have, legally or morally. His strategy of concealing information that paints an unfavourable portrait of himself and/or his government is also not new; in August he chastised newspapers for reporting murders on their front pages, suggesting that (my words) murders be relegated to less visible pages.
His “instruction” to the Police Service to suppress crime statistics was never received by the instructee; well, we know how the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) characterised him.
As for his labelling the death of Stephen Morris “a PNM murder,” Warner frequently gifts us with non sequiturs; he wants to hang murderers because the death penalty will deter murders when all empirical data point to the contrary; he wants to suppress crime statistics so they are not “sensationalised thereby acting as a domino effect in certain hot spot areas and causing an escalation of crime in that hotspot area”; and the list goes on and on.
The history of Warner in this Government provides us with more than enough evidence that this is the nature of the man, this is his distorted worldview. The PM continues, incomprehensibly, to tarnish her political present and future, and this country, by continuing to subject us to his perversions.
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