PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (Trinidad Express) – Prime Minister Kamla Persad- Bissessar said last night corruption accused Jack Warner is releasing tapes because she refused to be blackmailed in exchange for his reinstatement to the Cabinet.
Persad-Bissessar said she was made aware of the information on the tape immediately following the resignation of Warner as national security minister, but refused to give in to his demands and give him back his job.
This particular tape, featuring allegations of corruption against former minister of the people Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh and his instructions to Kristyan Gokool to go to her official St Ann’s residence (which he has denied), was made on August 2013, about four months after Warner resigned from the Government.
Responding to questions sent by the Express yesterday by text, enquiring whether she was privy to the information on the audio tapes before it was aired by Warner, Persad-Bissessar said: “Yes. Immediately after he had resigned from my Cabinet on my request, when in the face of damning allegations about FIFA (including the Sir David Simmons Report), I requested that he go and clear his name. I was made aware of what was being alleged, in an effort to blackmail me into taking him back into Government. Indeed, the allegations featured in the Chaguanas by-election.”
Pressed on her blackmail statement, Persad-Bissessar said: “In light of all of these bogus and contrived allegations, what am I left to assume? As you are aware, he has been bragging that he has files on members of my Government, and immediately after his resignation and more recently, he has been coming to the public with contrived and bogus allegations. He asked to be reinstated in his Government position or else he will bring down my entire Government.”
Former minister of national security minister Gary Griffith is on record as saying he held informal talks with Warner to bridge the gap between him and the People’s Partnership.
When the Express contacted Warner yesterday, asking if he attempted to use the recording to get back his job or form an alliance with the Partnership in the upcoming elections, he denied doing this.
Warner said: “I never ever bargained with Ms Persad-Bissessar or anyone else re these disclosures. There are only three people who I have given a copy of the tape—the Integrity Commission, about two years ago; a lawyer, three weeks ago; and Mark Bassant (TV6 reporter), two weeks ago. Kamla has no favours that I want, now or ever. Finally, I do wish to reiterate to the national community that the worst is yet to come.
“I never sent emissaries at any¬ time to talk with Kamla but she did, and let her deny that and I will prove it.”