The comedy continues in Trinidad and Tobago. It took Jack Warner two days, but the former FIFA vice president finally posted a video response to British comedian John Oliver's Trinidad and Tobago television debut. Earlier this week, the host of American TV program Last Week Tonight asked Warner, via a paid national broadcast in the twin island republic, to make good on his threats and reveal allegedly incriminating FIFA documents which he has in his possession.
Warner, with a serious face, sits directly facing the camera and begins:
It is really incomprehensible how […] a national TV station could allow a foreigner — more so an American foreigner — to come into this country to embarrass its citizens […] to be critical of the way we speak, to be critical of the way we look, to be critical of our culture…and if that is what a local TV station wants to propagate on our population, I say heaven help us.
He then addresses Oliver's request:
I don't need any advice from any comedian fool who does not know anything about this country to tell me what files to release or not to release. That is not his business; I take no instructions from him. And worse yet, I don't take any instructions from an American at this point in time.
Trinidadian artist Darren Trinity Cheewah had no words — so he drew a cartoon:
Social media exploded…mostly in peals of laughter. Netizens were widely sharing the video and commenting on its inaccuracies (Warner called Oliver an American, when it is common knowledge that the comedian is British), production values and content. Facebook user Franz Gillezeau posted his own (verbal) response to Warner:
Hi Uncle Jack. […] By now I'm sure your PR manager has berated you for posting that muddled mess of a response video […]
Not only have you allowed yourself to be drawn into this war of words, thereby giving Mr. Oliver EXACTLY what he wanted (more fodder for his show), you elected to attempt to duel a man who is MUCH better suited to the task. […] Not to mention that your feigned outrage is pathetically transparent to all but the greatest sycophants (of which I do not doubt you have an abundance).
Long story short, […] you did more to embarrass our country in your video series than the goodly Mr. Oliver could do in an hour of paid time on TV6. All that being said, keep them coming! It's comedy gold!
Oh, and lest we forget what all this is about in the first place, good luck with those indictments!
Many thought that the video's melodramatic and poorly mixed soundtrack was not helping Warner in getting across his message. On Facebook, Lesley-Ann Noel quipped, complete with shocked face emoticon:
Who advised Jack on that background music?
CNC3 Television, which posted the video on its Facebook page, was not taking any responsibility for the soundtrack or the mix (which must have sounded even muddier in broadcast) saying:
Please note the underlying music is how the video was posted by Mr Warner's staff.
Update: It has since been revealed that the music in question is by an American composer and was used without his permission.
In the video, Warner's stance against Americans may be an attempt to reframe his situation (the United States has issued an extradition request for the former football executive on various corruption charges) as a David versus Goliath face-off between the global north and south. In sharing the video on Facebook, Jamaica-based blogger Annie Paul wrote:
So now its all about ‘furrners’ and the nation…us and them…was waiting.
Curiously, Warner also took the “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” stance, saying:
However much we may disagree as a people, however much we may fight among ourselves, we do it among ourselves, between our borders — but against outsiders, we have to stand united.
Some netizens took this statement as a veiled message to the country's ruling political party, which he named as potentially being involved in the FIFA “funding” scandal, to not comply with the extradition request. Towards the end of the piece, Warner confirms that it was Oliver who “embarrassed” the country — a claim which didn't go over so well on Facebook, with most netizens insisting that Warner himself was the one who brought shame on Trinidad and Tobago.