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Raffique Shah


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Wet brown paper could cut Jack

By Raffique Shah
August 2, 2015

In days of old here in Trinidad, people one or two generations ahead of mine used an adage, "when yuh crooked, wet brown paper could cut you".

The word "crooked" in that context usually meant "a run of bad luck", although in the instant case of Jack Warner, to whom it now applies, it could be a double-entendre. And if wet brown paper could cut you, then you were really deep in the doo-doo.

The saying came to mind when, last Thursday, Warner suffered a proverbial double-whammy, back-to-back blows that reduced him to a blighted "bobolee".

First, in a ruling against him in a libel suit filed by his one-time pal, ex-AG Anand Ramlogan, the judge ordered that he pay damages and costs amounting to close to $0.9 million—small change for the wealthy former football emperor, but another huge blow to his ego and his credibility.

Then, before he could absorb that shocker, the entire membership of the Tobago arm of his party announced that they had resigned from the ILP in disgust.

If you examine it carefully, you will note that following his brief burst of glory in 2013, when he put a licking on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and the UNC in the 2013 Chaguanas West by-election, then scored well in the local government elections shortly afterwards, Jack all but fell over a precipice, hurtling into a karmic abyss.

On the eve of the general election next month, he provides at best comic relief in a campaign that is long on entertainment and short on the issues, or at worst (for him) fodder for litigation based on wild allegations he feels compelled to "reveal" on a weekly basis, which is the only reason why "maccocious" Trinis pay attention to him.

With extradition proceedings bearing down on him like a freight train, and overfed rats deserting his sinking pirogue by the scores, Jack's future looks dimmer than a five-watt light bulb, grimmer than the gallows being greased to accommodate another neck.

Sure, he uses bravado to give the appearance that he is at ease: I ‘ent going nowhere for another fifteen years, which, given our legal system, is possible.

But in his heart he knows that judgment day in the USA is a-coming, and all the evidence tell him that the many mouths he fed caviar and lobster and champagne are now poised to bite him, that the wallets he fattened with ill-gotten dollars mean nothing, such is the ingratitude, the cannibalistic conventions of politics.

Because it matters not whether the PNM or the UNC wins the election, neither party wants him to remain here unveiling cheques that implicate a cross-section of public officials as having benefited from dubiously sourced money, not to add slandering from Prime Minister to crook as he struggles for survival in the quicksand of poetic justice.

Looking more like a poor-me-one than the dancing queen-maker who strutted and "skanked" on Partnership platforms across the country in 2010 to wild adulation from hordes of supporters, Jack is today a shadow of himself. No more can he attract the thousands he did until 2013, or the tens of thousands who had re-christened him a latter-day Rama as he rode the high tide into the corridors of power from whence he urinated and defecated on anyone who dared to disagree with the Queen.

Jack's fall from grace evokes pity mostly among those who had seen through his fake-Teflon coating long before he sought to transform his success in world football and FIFA into political capital in Trinidad and Tobago. We knew the fella was bad news before Basdeo Panday embraced him in the UNC, before he became the cornerstone of Kamla's Partnership in 2010, before he was appointed by the ruling party to some of the highest, most sensitive offices in the power structure.

As his friends of yesterday kick him when he is down, it is we who have a sense of humanity who must rescue him.

My two-cents advice to Jack is that he leave this cussed country where they are never done talking about the primacy of man, but where they grind men (and women) into the dust when you so much as disagree with them.

Go voluntarily to the USA, plea bargain with the FBI (sink Blatter's backside!) and the Department of Justice, do time in the relative comfort of US jails, and you may return to your homeland older, battered, but alive.

And who knows?—you may even enjoy the pleasure of seeing some of the ingrates who milked you serve time in the dank dungeons of Trinidad jails, if, by some fluke, this nation's justice system is revolutionised to reflect true justice.

You never know.

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