No progress in probe of counterfeit ‘Essequibo Nite’ tickets

More than three months of investigations into allegations of the selling of counterfeit tickets by a Region 2 councillor for the ‘Essequibo Nite Event’ have yielded no findings, and former councillor Archie Cordis says the person suspected of carrying out the fraud is currently executing her duties at the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) as if nothing ever happened.

Cordis, now a Region 7 councillor, said on Thursday that it is most unfortunate so much time has passed without a single reported development in the situation.

Cordis rang the bell on the scandal last November when he wrote a letter in the Stabroek News sharing information given to him about a regional councillor who had allegedly been caught in the act of selling counterfeit tickets for the annual ‘Essequibo Nite’ event, which was sponsored by the Region 2 Administration at the Anna Regina Community Center Ground on October 5 and 6, 2012.

He stated that the councillor, who was appointed by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), was taken into custody by police officers after some of the counterfeit tickets were found in her possession, but later released after the Region Two Chairman Parmanand Persaud intervened.

When Stabroek News contacted Persaud last October, he had said that a committee had been created to look into the matter, and declined to give any further comments until investigations were concluded.  Asked on Thursday whether investigations into the matter yielded any developments, Persaud declined to comment. When asked to respond to allegations made by Cordis, Persaud once again declined to comment.

In an interview, Cordis told Stabroek News that the five person committee was comprised of two serving Region 2 councillors, a former Member of Parliament, a former councillor and a senior PPP/C activist, all of whom are PPP affiliates and handpicked by the party itself. Cordis said that this combination renders the committee partial and therefore incapable of delivering independent and acceptable findings.  He questioned the propriety of the decision to [have the party] choose such persons for this particular responsibility, instead of regional representatives. He asked, “Is it [Essequibo Nite] no longer a regional event? If the event was a state-sponsored one then the selection would be understandable and I would have nothing to say.”

Cordis said that these actions suggested that there were plans to “sweep the entire fiasco under the rug.”
Cordis mentioned at a meeting held December 2, 2012, a motion was tabled to have the councillor suspended until investigations had been completed.  He said that Persaud then made the decision to differ, postponing discussions of the matter to Saturday January 8, 2013.

The matter was not ever mentioned at the meeting, Cordis said.

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