Sunday 8th June, 2003

 

Queries of pastor's billion$

 
 
 
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Junior Gopaul, left, reputedly the owner of the land at the main road Cunupia talks to Vishnu Lutchmansingh, who previously claimed his church was the legal owner of the land.
Photo: Adrian Boodan

ROBERT CLARKE & ADRIAN BOODAN

Two law firms reported to be working on a mammoth inheritance for pastor Vishnu Lutchmansingh, this week denied that they have been employed by the Pentecostal cleric.

In a telephone interview with the alleged billionaire-to-be, the Pentecostal pastor said local lawyers working on the will include JD Sellier and Co, Krishna Narinesingh and Winston Hyatali of Hyatali & Co.

But Hyatali said he was not handling the probate of a will for Lutchmansingh. “I know Mr Lutchmansingh,” he said. “He was introduced by a client. I’ve had certain discussions with him, but I am not probating any will at the moment.I don’t know if he might give it to me in the future.”

A source at JD Sellier and Co also claimed the law firm was probably not handling Lutchmansingh’s affairs. He said the company’s sole probate clerk has not received instructions on the matter.

Narinesingh could not be contacted.

“My friend, Mr Krishna Narinesingh, has spent a little over $25 million of his own money on this matter,” insisted Lutchmansingh. “JD Sellier has spent a lot of money.”

Pastor withdraws $$ offer to national debt

T&T will have to live with its $ billion debt a bit longer.

Pentecostal Pastor Vishnu Lutchmansingh said he has withdrawn his offer of paying off the national debt.

“We withdraw from repaying the US $30 billion national debt,” said Lutchmansingh seriously in a telephone interview. He said he made the surprisingly generous offer to the UNC administration.

Earlier in the conversation, Lutchmansingh said he would no longer talk to the local press because it has lied on him. He said he would only speak with members of the international press. The pastor said a New York-based journalist recently offered him US $10 million to write his story. The pastor said he refused.

Saying he was tired of crime and harassment, Lutchmansingh added petulantly, “I am tempted to leave and go and buy an island in the Bahamas.” (see sidebar)

Lutchmansingh said he does not request tithes from his followers. Asked then, how he manages to live such an apparently lavish lifestyle although alleged billionaire Buford Keaton’s will was still in probate, he said his battery of foreign lawyers have made “arrangements for advancements (sic).”

A senior UNC politician alleged that Lutchmansingh was being less than honest about an impending fortune. “Talk is free. Anybody could talk,” said Lutchmansingh. “Produce the proof.”

The pastor was involved in a dispute over Caroni (1975) Ltd’s lands when the state-owned sugar company moved in on the Main Road Cunupia site on May 24 and bulldozed a paved area. Lutchmansingh said it cost $1.8 million to pave.

About Lutchmansingh

vishnu Lutchmansingh, 45, started preaching 19 years ago with the New Testament Church of God, after he was converted from Hinduism.

A tradesman by profession, the Las Lomas-born pastor says he hooked up with British-born Buford Keaton while working with a contractor.

Lutchmansingh said he and Keaton developed a bond since they were both preachers. He claims Keaton left a £700 Billion estate to him after he died in 1997. But the world’s richest man, computer mogul Bill Gates, has a net worth of less than US $100 billion.

Keaton’s body is buried at Thompson-Nesbitt cemetery in Kentucky. Efforts to contact his wife Arthana Keaton this week were unsuccessful.

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