Opposition Leader, Keith Rowley, said yesterday he feels no sense of vindication at the allegations that have been made against Works and Transport Minister Jack Warner by an executive member of the world football body, FIFA. "I feel embarrassed," said Rowley in an interview yesterday, describing the allegations against Warner as an "international scandal" in which a senior minister in the T&T Government "has been made to report, like an errant schoolboy, to Zurich to answer charges." The Leader of the Opposition pointed out that the person whose conduct was being called into question was not only a senior minister but had acted as Prime Minister on a number of occasions and was the chairman of the United National Congress, the main party in the five-member People's Partnership coalition.
In his first official act after being sworn in as the Leader of the Opposition almost one year ago, Rowley argued Warner's appointment to Cabinet while he retained the post of FIFA vice president was a conflict of interest and contrary to Parliament's Code of Ethics, which was approved in 1988.
Rowley raised the conflict of interest issue with the Integrity Commission and with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar. Rowley said there were people in T&T "who ought to have known better" who put up all kinds of "spurious arguments" in an attempt to contradict his contention that Warner could not serve in Cabinet while retaining the FIFA position. "I take no pleasure in this because I do not like to see my country portrayed in this way," said Rowley, adding that the negative exposure the country is receiving from the issue "has brought shame, disgrace and inconvenience to the people of T&T." SEE PAGE A50