Trinidad and Tobago


Pan Trinbago Carnival $$ Jumping up in steelband

Apr 01, 2001

PAN Trinbago has hired a private investigator to track down hundreds of thousands of dollars in Panorama ticket sales and other receipts that have simply vanished.

Speaking to the Sunday Express, Pan Trinbago president Patrick Arnold said he personally selected the investigator, after an accountant supplied by a reputable firm with international connections also disappeared before submitting financial statements.

The accountant was recently sighted at Piarco International Airport by Pan Trinbago executive member Selwyn “Parry” Paul, but has not engaged in any type of official communication with the pan body since Carnival.

“For years, people have been holding the view that panmen cannot handle money, so we went to a professional accounting firm, a top-class firm, got a proper accountant and this is what happens,” Arnold said. “I am not accusing anyone at this time. I am awaiting the findings of the private investigator, but I have a sense that heads will roll.”

“All kinds of horror stories are coming in since the investigator started his work and I have asked everyone involved in the running of our Carnival events to make themselves available to him,” Arnold said. “We will get to the bottom of this and deal with it dispassionately. Whomsoever know they have cocoa in the sun should really look out for rain.

“Even if it means having high-ranking executive members or staff arrested, tried and jailed, I am going the full distance with this one, because I am not going to preside over skullduggery and sweep it under the carpet; in the interest of public relations,” Arnold said.

“I feel that the image of the organisation will be better served if we weed out the crookery and make loud examples of the person or persons who our investigation indicates were responsible for the rackets,” he said.

Panorama ticket sales discrepancies first came to light two weeks before Carnival, when a problem arose in the North Stand, with safety officials closing the facility (designed to accommodate 10,000 people standing) after only 3,943 tickets were accountable at the gates.

“I mean, there could be stormers and people with counterfeit tickets,” Arnold said, “but don’t ask me to believe that three-fifths of the people in the North Stand got there by unlawful means. I am not accepting that as an explanation from anyone.”

But even before the first ticket was sold, dollars were disappearing. The Sunday Express was told that two cash-floats, intended as change for ticket sellers simply evaporated, leaving them with empty boxes. One float originally contained $1,940 and the other $4,000.

In addition and by an impromptu rule for which no one seems eager to take responsibility, none of the US dollars received at the gates was deposited in the bank. A senior Pan Trinbago official reportedly advised cashiers that foreign currency was not to be deposited.

More than 1,250 tickets were the subject of seating confusion at another event, giving rise to speculation that cash for those tickets remained unaccounted for, since the tickets were printed at the point of sale and carried identical numbers with those of persons already seated.

“I will vigorously advocate police action, to the point of conclusion,” Arnold said. “Under my watch, nobody is going to get away with tainting the organisation's name, whether they are pioneer, inventor, legend or worker. This is atrocious and those our investigation finds responsible are not only going to be brought before the courts, but will be made to pay back whatever money they made off with,” Arnold said.

The investigator, said to have considerable experience in and success at uncovering fraud, has been on the job since last week and, according to Arnold, has already turned up some interesting clues.

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