warner swaps green card with ten-year visa
PORT OF SPAIN — Interim leader of the Independent Liberal Party, Jack Warner, yesterday said he has surrendered his green card and replaced it with a ten-year visa to the United States.
Warner said he only made the change because as a politician it was more feasible to have a visa than a green card.
The entire process lasted 15 minutes and took place at the United States Embassy in Port of Spain on December 28 last year, he said.
Warner said the only person who was with him at the time was his then adviser, Francis Joseph.
In June, Joseph was appointed Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s press secretary.
Persad-Bissessar raised the question about Warner’s green card in her speech at this week’s United National Congress Monday Night Forum.
Warner said he could not believe Persad-Bissessar would raise such a “foolish story” on the political platform.
He responded to Persad-Bissessar following the opening of one of two ILP sub-offices yesterday.
The first sub-office is at 58 Jerningham Junction Road, Charlieville, and is the home of recently fired CEPEP contractor Simeon Mahabir.
Speaking following the official ribbon-cutting ceremony, Warner outlined the process used in surrendering his green card.
“I got a green card in 1991 when I used to travel all over the world and I was not in politics, that was good. Now in politics every six months I have to go in the States to keep it alive. Every six months and sometimes when I miss the date and so on and I go up there like in June (last year), they are of course very angry with me when that happens,” Warner said.
“So I went in June (last year). I renewed my green card. I went in November (last year), I renewed my green card, and by the way on both occasions the same prime minister approved my travel and appointed ministers in my absence.
“When I came back in November after renewing my green card, I said it doesn’t make sense, I have no intention of living in the States or of working in the States, so on December 28 I took Francis Joseph with me, who is now her chief media adviser, and time to come I will say more about Francis Joseph, he’s for a different time, not for now. I took him with me to the US Embassy and I told them I want to give up this green card for a visa,” he said.
“So with a visa I don’t have to go every six months, I can go anytime. In 15 minutes the US Embassy took my green card and gave me a ten-year visa,” Warner said.
“What have I done wrong, Suruj (Rambachan) had a green card, ent he gave it up too? Why am I hustling to leave people business and leave work unattended to go up to the States just to say I have a green card?” Warner said.
“What is the problem. I don’t want a US green card, the only green I want is the ILP green,” he said.
Warner yesterday chided Kamla Persad-Bissessar for labelling him and constituents of Chaguanas West as “lagahoos”.
“They calling me a lagahoo because I am out early in the morning. But I don’t be drunk that hour or have a hang