By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year
May 3 - Jack Warner (pictured), the vice-president of FIFA, has accused British investigative journalist Andrew Jennings of being part of a plot by the Trinidad and Tobago Government to smear his name ahead of the country's General Election on May 24.
Warner, who is chairman of the opposition of the United National Congress (UNC), claimed at a political rally in La Horquetta that the scheme involved the Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Patrick Manning using taxpayers' money to have Jennings fabricate a story to defame his name at a conference in Miami tomorrow.
Warner alleged he had received the plan in a brown envelope under his office door last week.
He claimed that Washington-based public relations firm Sanitas International, and locally-based advertising firm, Valdez & Torry, who are representing Manning's party, People's National Movement (PNM), in the election were behind the plot.
Warner read parts of the alleged e-mail at the rally, claiming it said: "Time is clearly not on our side.
"Everyday goes by the project becomes ever more difficult.
"Regardless of the conference it is very good to get our hands on [Andrew] Jennings’s info and use it in promotion.
"We can also help him get his research out on the street to raise the profile.
"I have a call and an e-mail into Jennings to discuss this and several other outstanding issues regarding the conference and his travel.
"The conference will be a good opportunity to showcase the overall FIFA corruption with Warner as the puppet master...
"Every day we wait decreases the chances of success and increases the difficulty.
"Regardless, this is going to be tough but is critical to the campaign outcome.
"My recommendation is for us to engage Jennings, get what info he has, facilitate media at the conference for his event and manage interviews and media for him.
"We can also look to go live at the conference, although I have not seen his presentation I have offered Jennings help with it.
"In fact, it would be better to go live to tape and transmit the information back to Trinidad and Tobago for newscast and for replay and the Government’s station.
"We have done this before.
"It would be interesting also to develop a separate event in T&T or make Jennings available with telephone interviews with local media from Miami.
"Time is closing and it will be tough for the client to transfer the necessary funds prior to the needs for us to be in Miami.
"Funds have to be transferred for Jennings from here, we may have get creative with Valdez & Torry money through a sub-contract to Sanitas and then have the client pay you direct."
Warner and Jennings have had a stormy relationship culminating in a physical exchange at Piarco International Airport when the Briton visited Trinidad and Tobago to make a programme for BBC's Panorama (pictured).
Jennings has consistently highlighted allegations that Warner, who is a special consultant to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation, has failed to fulfil promises to the players who represented the country at the 2006 World Cup in Germany and pay them bonuses of up to £80,000 ($122,000) each.
As revealed exclusively on insideworldfootball yesterday, FIFA's London-based lawyers Cartier & Co wrote to the organisers of the conference where Jennings is appearing warning them that they could face legal action if he made "defamatory statements" during his presentation entitled "Corruption in Soccer- The Secret World of FIFA: Bribes, Vote-Rigging and Ticket Scandals".
Jennings has denied Warner's allegations.
He told today's edition of the Trinidad Guardian: "I have no involvement in your election."
May 2010: Warner accused of "untruths" over World Cup bonuses
May 2010: Exclusive - Conference officials insist Jennings will not be gagged by FIFA
April 2010: Warner takes leave of absence from FIFA and disappoints Vladimir Putin