Suspended Concacaf head and FIFA vice-president Jack Warner maintained an almost glum silence as he toured the flood-damaged Princess Elizabeth Children's Centre, Mucurapo, yesterday. The Works and Transport Minister, who had toured Beetham Gardens earlier in the morning, refused to answer questions from reporters about anything associated with the bribery allegations over which he was suspended by FIFA. Warner, who had promised to reveal details of e-mails he sent to FIFA president Sepp Blatter, remained tight-lipped yesterday, as well.
He hardly spoke throughout the tour and did not seem his usual witty self. On Sunday, he told supporters at a rally in Felicity his lawyers had advised him against reading the e-mails publicly. Yesterday, accompanied by Port-of-Spain City Corporation mayor Louis Lee Sing, Warner trod throughout the muddy Princess Elizabeth Centre taking note of the damage caused by flooding after last Saturday's heavy rainfall. He also was taken to a tributary of the Maraval River outside the premises, part of the flooding problem, and Goodwill Industries-a training institution for children with disabilities-that was damaged by floodwaters.
At both centres, workmen were still engaged in clean-up operations as classes remained suspended. Warner said his ministry was considering putting some flaps outside the centre to prevent the water from coming into the premises. The widening of drains and some "underground cleaning" also could be a part of the solution to the flooding of the centre, he added. "We're also thinking of a retaining pond. The area is much lower than sea level." he added. Warner said the relocation of the centre was not an immediate solution. He said his ministry was working with the Port-of-Spain City Corporation, which had no money but valuable technical expertise and advice.
He said the Ministry of Public Utilities, the Water and Sewerage Auwere offering assistance in alleviating the problem. Warner promised that in two weeks' time measures would be put in place to prevent another flooding of the centre. He said during his tour of Beetham Gardens earlier in the day, he found there were tons of debris to be cleaned. Culverts under the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway also had collapsed and needed fixing, he said. Asked how he has been coping with finding solutions to traffic and flooding, two major headaches, Warner, showing his fighting spirit, said: "I make no complaint about my ministry being hard.
If it is the hardest, I must be the baddest. "I am able to cope. I don't run from problems. This, too, shall be solved," he vowed. Warner was suspended from all football activities by FIFA, pending the outcome of investigations into the allegations of bribery. The allegations were brought against Warner by Concacaf secretary general Chuck Blazer. Blazer alleged Warner offered bribes to delegates at a Caribbean Football Union meeting to vote for Mohamed bin Hammam, who was contesting the FIFA presidential post.