Monday, April 29, 2013


About seven or eight hundred years ago there was a character called Robin of Locksley who some how has morphed into a legend known as Robin Hood. According to the legend, Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor. He is supposed to have stood up to the injustices that existed under the rule of the Norman or Norman leaning Prince John, whose brother King Richard had been captured somewhere in France on his way back from the crusades and was being held for a ransom which his brother (Prince John) was reluctant to pay. As a result, the English peasantry as well as the English nobility was groaning under the tyranny of Prince John and his Norman cohorts.

Whether the legend is true or not it has certainly captured the imagination of the public down through the centuries. Just about everybody knows the story of Robin Hood and he is garlanded with accolades and regarded as a genuine hero who stood up against tyranny and fought for the little man.

But what if we could somehow go back in a time machine to the time of Robin Hood and sort out and separate for ourselves fact from fiction? I am almost certain that we would find that Robin Hood was not quite the character that history and legend has made him out to be. It is highly likely that we would find that the "establishment" of the period would regard Mr. Hood as an out and out criminal who deserved to be hanged at dawn ... if they could only catch him. And if there were newspapers around then (and there weren't) the press would almost universally be condemning Robin. You could almost imagine a typical headline: 'HOOD STRIKES AGAIN! BOLD CRIMINAL AND GANG ROBS SHERRIFF OF NOTTINGHAM'S NIECE IN DARING HOLD-UP. NOBLES RENEW CALL FOR LAW AND ORDER AND OFFER A REWARD FOR CAPTURE OF CRIMINAL AND HIS GANG".

I am also certain that Mr. Hood would not have given away everything that he stole but would have kept a (very) large proportion of the proceeds of his activities for his own personal benefit. The altruism that the legend attributes to him is normally found only amongst the saints and holy people who from time to time have walked amongst us.

In other words, assuming (but certainly not accepting) that every thing that his critics and detractors say about Jack Warner is true, then except for the names and a few other changes his story and that of Robin Hood is a very similar one. And one can understand why he (Mr. Warner) is so popular ... for the same reasons that Robin Hood was popular almost a millenia ago.

But there are some critical differences. And the biggest difference is that in our modern society it is becoming more and more difficult to get away with criminal activity if (and only if) the State wants to get you. Mr. Warner made a brilliant political move last week when he resigned his seat and announced that he would seek re-election. He put everybody on their backfeet. The Prime Minister was faced with a very real problem: if she allowed him to run as a UNC candidate and he won (which he would) then she would have a potential rival for leadership of the Party ... something that no leader can tolerate. If she sought to block him by preventing him from getting through the screening process and he ran and won as an independent then her leadership would probably be fatally wounded. Talk about 'ouch'!

The PNM also would be badly hurt. Mr. Warner could taunt them with their "voice of the people is the voice of God" mantra whenever they hurled any insults or accusations against him. Mr. Warner would easily have become the most powerful politician in Trinidad & Tobago.

But late last week, somebody in the police force threw something into the mix that could de-rail the ex-National Security Minister severely. Somebody in the police caused a file to be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions relating to the possible breach of the Customs Act in what might loosely be called the Bim Hammam affair with the paper bags of US$40,000 in cash. Now, if the DPP decides to charge Mr. Warner with this matter it could effectively de-rail Mr. Warner's hopes of running for re-election as the UNC's candidate for Chaguanas West as the UNC's rules prevent it from endorsing any person as a candidate who is on an indictable charge before the courts of this land. Kamla gets off the hook as she would be prevented from allowing Warner's candidacy to go forward.

Mr. Warner would then be deprived of accusing the Prime Minister (or anybody else) from conspiring to de-rail him and keep him out. In those circumstances the UNC faithful would find it difficult to support him. In other words, he could actually lose the by-election. That would cause a big headache to go away for both the UNC as well as the PNM.

Ahhh! Life in the tropics! Never a dull moment! We shall have to wait and see what happens next, but you can be certain that this story has more twists and turns than a novella. The only thing that we can be certain about is that it ain't over yet! Not by a long shot!


  1. This is a pretty good take on why Mr. Warner is so popular. I, however, take issue with his adoption of the "liberal" tag on his party. He's doing and promising the same things that the other conservative parties are doing. I don't think it truly reflects the label liberal (aside from being liberal with others' money, of course).

  2. Robin Hood and his merry thieves also wore green........

  3. You know, I hope you forgive me for skimming through you article and find the gist of it very unfortunate. To equate Jack Warner as Robin Hood is just asinine. One can more easily associate Dudus Cooke - the Jamaican drug king pin - who assumed the role of government by providing support for his local population with grants from the spoils of his illicit trade.
    Yes, Jack Warner may be a soon to be convicted thief, seems to have admitted shaking down contractors for cash. However, he did not steal from the rich to feed the poor. He stole from the collective state to give to a subset while lining his own pocket and burnishing his public persona. He was a government official charged with taking care of the affairs of the state.
    To uses speak colloquially, If you look up the word corrupt in today's dictionary you would probably see his photo captioned - Jack Warner.
    A more fruitful discussion would have been to consider the public's acceptance and endorsement of this loose ethical conduct and what does that mean for our own ethical standards. Do we want a government to create a productive environment which rewards all or do we want a government that selects which subset of the population is wants to placate.