Several hours after news broke on Wednesday evening that former FIFA Vice-President Jack Warner had tested positive for COVID-19 and was hospitalised, a post to his official Facebook page yesterday morning sought to confirm the reports, adding Warner was in good spirits.
“Pleasant morning all, the reports are true. Mr Warner has tested positive for Covid-19 and is, in fact, being treated. He wishes to advise all, that he is alive and in good spirits, as always,” the post read.
Responding to Warner’s diagnosis members of the sporting fraternity were now wishing the former CONCACAF president a speedy recovery.
Labelling Warner a ‘fighter’, they predicted he would fight and overcome this hurdle too.
Former Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president, William Wallace, said in a telephone interview the news of Warner’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis was a bit surprising but he added that it was clear no one was exempt from the virus.
“I wish Mr Warner a speedy recovery. I know he is a fighter and we are looking forward to him getting over this,” said Wallace.
Get-well wishes also came from President of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC), Brian Lewis who described Warner as a man of resilience and courage.
“It is not something anyone would want for themselves. One can only wish him the best in overcoming this,” he said.
Long-time friend and former Guardian Media Sports Editor Valentino Singh boasted, “If it is one man I know, will not lie down and die because of COVID-19, it’s Austin Jack Warner.”
Singh, who authored two biographies on Warner—Upwards Through the Night and From Zero to Hero, said Warner had surmounted and passed so many different obstacles in his life over the years from his childhood to now, and it was not like him to allow anything to defeat him whether it was a virus or fighting his legal battles.
“He is going to fight his way out of it, I am sure. He has done so much good for so many people despite what a lot of people think about him. And I am sure the weight of all the prayers by so many people will weigh in his favour. Like so many Trinidadians and people across the world, whose lives have been touched by Jack Warner, I too, wish him a speedy recovery.”
Morvant Caledonia United head coach, Jamaal Shabazz called Warner a ‘warrior’ who always maintained that disposition. He believes Warner was in God’s hands and proposed.
“Now is a time of serious uncertainty and it is important for us to turn to our Lord and draw inspiration for all aspects of our lives.”
On Wednesday efforts to get updated information on the former politician’s condition proved a challenge as family and executive members of the Warner-formed Independent Labour Party (ILP) refused to divulge further details, saying Warner was a private citizen and the state of his health was a private matter.
Warner 77, unsuccessfully contested the Lopinot/Bon Air West constituency in last month’s August 10 general election, after which, he announced via his Facebook page he was exiting politics.
In the August 20 post, Warner, a former minister of national security, wrote, “I have chosen to exit from electoral as well as all other kinds of politics and for once, hopefully unperturbed, enjoy the evening of my life with my family and close friends. My political journey was rough but I enjoyed every moment of it. I may not live long enough to witness any transformation in my constituency, but never forget that I tried and that I love the constituents of Lopinot/Bon Air West for whom I would have given my all.”
After the election, Warner, a diabetic, had been experiencing health problems and was privately tested near two weeks ago for COVID-19 with an initial negative diagnosis, but subsequently retook the test on Tuesday after remaining unwell. The latter presented a positive conclusion.