gall and gumption

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Dreaming of Caribbean Journalism

How can I stop, friends, when I read such things as this? I have noted in bold a few things I wish I had written myself. The reporter has faithfully recorded the speech of rural Guyana. Isn't it lovely? I

Bogus pastor fleeces Stewartville residents.....receives thrashing


By Melanie Allicock


A self proclaimed Bishop who fleeced West Coast residents out of hundreds of thousands of dollars was beaten mercilessly by them and then handed over to the police.
The man, said to be St Lucian, sustained multiple injuries to his head and other parts of his body.
Matters came to a head last Thursday after residents felt that they had had enough of the bogus pastor's dishonest deeds and rained blows on him.
Reports are that the man who is in his late forties turned up in Stewartville about two months ago claiming to be an ordained bishop from St Lucia and began to conduct church services.
Claiming that he was in constant communication with the Holy Spirit, he began to prophesy over the residents.
Apparently, a few of his predictions were accurate and he gained followers as word spread.
However, his real intentions became obvious soon after when he began to demand money for each prediction.
He is reported to have gotten in excess of $2M from his scheme.
In an effort to make his ruse more believable, he enlisted the help of a local pastor from Agricola who would encourage residents to give to the bogus pastor.
Eighteen-year-old Lisa Harris, one or the man's victims, said she was sucked into the scam because of the influence of the local pastor.
"This other pastor would tell us that he is fuh real, so I believed them."
She ended up giving the pastor a whopping $200,000.
"He told me to give this money to the Lord and I would get back much more than that. The other pastor encouraged me so I did it. He also told me that I should not tell anyone because people are envious and it would hinder the blessing."
He also reportedly claimed that he pastored two churches in Cane View on the East Coast.
So impressed were residents of Stewartville and its environs that they took the bogus pastor into their homes.
One such person explained "He did had no way to stay, so I leh he stay at me fuh a week."

During that time, he continued to demand exorbitant amounts of cash and jewellery from his followers in exchange for his prophecies. He even reportedly pasted up a poster of a car that he wanted and urged his followers to give him the money to buy it.
"He would tell us wha clothes he want and tell we fuh give he de money fuh buy it. If yuh ain't got money, he used to tek yuh jewellery; down to yuh marriage ring off yuh finger," one resident said.
One of his favorite prophecies was that women would find rich, handsome husbands.
However, the residents began to get suspicious of the man since he seemingly could not preach unless he donned an extravagant red cape.
"He always got on a big long gown like if he is a judge or batman or something and it just didn't looking right."
Warning bells went off further in the minds of the church members when they visited Cane View where he was supposed to have his two prominent churches. However, all they managed to find was a dilapidated shack.

To compound matters, a resident of Bartica visited the West Coast and disclosed that the same pastor was in her area and had tried to swindle her of her house and land.
Infuriated at this latest discovery, the residents began to plot their revenge against the con artist.
However, before they could come up with the plan the now overconfident pastor played right into their hand.
Reports are that he excused himself from a crusade that he was conducting one night and called a teenager, Fiona Harris, from the village and tried to solicit sexual favours from her.
"If yuh hear the lawlessness he tell me. How he want me to get a baby fuh him; and tell me that wuh he gon do to me! gon be so good that when he done, I gon be shaking on the ground like a leaf. He also promised me that he gon take me to St Lucia."
When Harris related this to her relatives, they decided that this was the perfect way to catch the con man in the act.
With the plan hatched, the teenager picked up the pastor as was planned last Thursday to take him home for his desired sexual rendezvous.
"He tell me dat I gat to give he $50,000 before he sleep wid me cause he is a man of God. He also say he want some clothes. So when I pick he up, we stop at Leonora and I buy de clothes fuh he and everything; then we went home."
Unbeknownst to the con artist, the girl's relatives and other villagers were concealed in a back room of the house.

"He did tell me he want me fuh wear a fancy lingerie, so I put it out on the bed and when we get home, I ask him if he want food and he say yes, and I go over the road to buy it." As soon as Harris exited the house, believing that he was alone, t! he man reportedly began to search the house for valuables.
Not satisfied with his booty from the living room, he ventured into back room, and all hell broke loose.
"We throw a bottle of pepper in he eye and start beating he tail," one relative related.
The bogus pastor tried to escape by jumping over a fence but was met with even more villagers there who rained more blows on him before hauling him to the station.
One police officer told this newspaper than when questioned about what had happened to him, the man tearfully related, 'Offica, one million of them beat meh up."

But residents say that the con man should be thanking his lucky stars because if things had gone exactly as planned, he would have been running from the blows naked around the village.
"I was supposed to wait until he tek of he clothes and then call me relatives fuh beat he but I get confused," the teenager said.
Investigations are continuing.

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