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“Every vilification that can be imposed on a human being has been imposed on me and I still survive—my conscience is clear.” Those were the words of Works Minister Jack Warner yesterday on the latest football issue to hit him. Football players this week levied on the T&T Football Federation for monies allegedly owed. The players also claim that former TTFF special adviser Warner promised them 50 per cent of all World Cup revenues. Speaking to reporters before Parliament yesterday, Warner said that he thought he had been assisting the footballers out of the kindness of his heart.
Admitting to “euphoria”, he said some got houses and some are now bankrupt having lost houses. He said he took a loan to assist them with $7.5 million last year. He said they asked for a further $4.2 million last December. Warner said he asked then, “when this thing would end” and told his lawyers to negotiate with them up to $15 million. Warner said he had not given them $15 million. Warner added, “The guys wanted $25 million. That and God face they will not see—it is greed! What have they done for a million dollars, to help local football?! What have they given back to local football?! They want to count every socks and shoes and thing.”
He said the TTFF location was a house belonging to a company he had owned and they had not paid rent for four years. He said everything seized belonged to TTFF. Warner added, “This foolishness and this greed must stop, they’ve harmed themselves, not Jack Warner. This country will never forgive them. They believe they’re on winners’ row—let them go ahead. But I will draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough.” Asked about the impact of this latest football furore on his image, Warner indicated he was highly popular.
He noted that he had gone to bmobile’s Soca in bSquare in Woodford Square at noon yesterday—and “thousands”(sic) of people including little schoolchildren and a “whole school” had called out to him and greeted him. He said some even said they supported his (aborted) death penalty campaign. Warner added: “I just have to walk through the Square. My image might be damaged for the guys who have some axe to grind. The guys who are talking now…ask them what they didn’t get and some of them have a grievance—but I don’t care about image.”
“Is either people believe or they don’t believe. At the end of the day, my conscience is clear and I can sleep good at night…you have to first wait to see the evening to know how good the day has been.” Sports Minister Anil Roberts told reporters he had not spoken to Warner on the TTFF issue and he would let “the chips fall where they may.” Roberts said he had noted that Warner would have to provide information in the issue and said he would be monitoring the situation.