Trinidad: Cops search church, home of pastor’s children over seized $28m in old $100 bills

Pastor Vinworth Dayal attempted to redeem $28m

Stabroek News-  January 3, 2020

(Trinidad Express) Police officers swooped down on Gulf View and searched the residence of the children of Pastor Vinworth Anthony Dayal yesterday afternoon January 2, 2020..

The pastor’s church—the Third Exodus Assembly Church, of Depot Road, Longdenville—was reportedly searched earlier.

Officers of the Finan­cial Investigations Branch (FIB) of the Police Service, along with six uniformed, armed police officers, spent several hours at the Gulf View house searching the premises.           

The uniformed police officers carried firearms, while the officers dressed in suits wore gloves.

The house at Ocean Drive is where at least four of Dayal’s children have lived for at least 30 years.

Around 6 p.m., the officers left in four heavily tinted, marked and unmarked vehicles. One the pastor’s daughters was seen in a private vehicle behind the police vehicles.

Most of the residents in the community stayed indoors during the raid, but some of them came out of their homes upon seeing the contingent of police officers.

One of the residents said: “I only know that two of the girls used to work at Starbucks. I don’t think the others work. So when we heard about this $28 million thing, we residents were so shocked.”

The resident said she knew the pastor had nine children, several of whom are married and live elsewhere.

Residents said Dayal and his wife did not live at the premises, but visited a few times during the year.

One of the residents said the last time the pastor was seen at the house was at least six months ago.

One of the pastor’s sons named Pablo, who lived at the house in Gulf View, died earlier this year.

The resident said it was discovered he had a brain tumour and died at least three months ago.

Residents said the pastor and his wife lived in Longdenville.

“The pastor lived here for a short time, then he and his wife moved out. The pastor’s wife is a very nice lady,” the resident said.

“The children grew up in this area and played with our children in our yards. They are all grown-up now and very nice, quiet people.

“The pastor has not visited for a while, but the last time I saw him he was moving with heavily armed security officers. He was in the vehicle with a security officer and there was a security vehicle with more guards trailing them,” the resident said.

On Tuesday night, on the brink of 2020, FIB officers went before a magistrate and secured a detention court order to impound $28,046,500 from the pastor under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Dayal, described as “a minister of religion and a pastor of the Third Exodus Assembly Church of Depot Road, Longdenville”, went to the South Trunk Road, La Romaine, branch of State-run bank First Citizens on December 23 and informed officials there that he intended to redeem all the old $100 notes in his possession.

Dayal’s attempt to redeem $28,046,500 triggered the seizure and detention just before midnight on Tuesday night. The pastor had been due to meet with Central Bank officials at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, but failed to show up at the appointed time.

Sources said attempts to get the Central Bank to give an underta­king that it would redeem the money before it (the money) was brought to the bank failed.

It was not until shortly after 5 p.m. that the money was presented at the bank and FIB officials began counting to verify the amount.

The money was eventually seized by the FIB, which secured a detention order from a magistrate.

In a pre-action protocol letter dated December 29 , 2019, to the Central Bank, Dayal’s attorney, Darrell Allahar, explained the source of funds as having been derived from churchgoers who contributed their tithes.

He said Dayal “had collected over the past 19 years voluntary offerings for his personal use and benefit from members of the congregation of the church in the form of tithes”.

“These tithes have always been collected from members of the congregation in specially marked ‘Tithe’ envelopes,” the letter said.

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  • guyaneseonline  On January 4, 2020 at 11:57 am

    Trinidad: Cash pastor’s sermons linked to ‘doomsday prophet’

    By Stabroek News- January 4, 2020 (Trinidad Express) The teachings of a 20th-¬century American Pentecostal and so-called “doomsday prophet”, who had ties to the dreaded Ku Klux Klan (KKK), are part of the sermons of Pastor Vinworth Dayal, controversial head of the Third Exodus Assembly Church in Longdenville.

    Dayal, who is being questioned by local authorities after he tried to convert $28 million in cash to the new polymer $100 bills on the eve of the Government’s December 31 deadline, has frequently used the teachings of so-called end-time prophet William ¬Branham in his ministering.

    Branham, who lived from 1909 to 1965, appears prominently on one of the Assembly’s websites, while his preachings and prophe¬cies about Armageddon are also quoted in sermons broadcast by Dayal.

    The local church has also included on one of its websites a category called “The Watchers”, dedicated to showcasing events that followers of Branham’s doctrine believe are proof of his claim to be the return of the Biblical prophet Elijah, during which he predicted the end of days.

    The Assembly’s media site where “The Watchers” is featured and which also states, “Modern Events Made Clear, By Vindicated Prophecy”, is headed by a Branham quote: “Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. Malachi 4:5.

    “Nations are breaking, Israel’s awaking, The signs that the prophets foretold; The Gentile days numbered with horrors encumbered; Eternity soon will unfold.”
    Followers of Branham refer to his teachings as “The Message” and, according to the William -Marrion Branham Historical Research website, he also claimed to have received supernatural signs, including an angelic visit.

    Branham was a Christian minister and faith healer who is believed to have initiated the post-World War II healing revival. He is also regarded as a father of modern tele¬vangelism and the rise of “charismatic” Christian leaders.

    John Collins, the author and webmaster of “William ¬Branham: Historical Research”, has also docu¬mented on his website ¬numerous cases of followers of The Message being found in -nefarious activities.
    Collins, according to his website, “was born and raised in ‘The Message’ cult following of William Branham, and is the grandson of Willard Collins, former pastor of William Branham’s ‘Branham Taber¬nacle’ in Jeffersonville, Indiana”, the website states.
    Collins’s website now features updated news items from Trinidad on Third Exodus, including a raid on Thursday on the Longdenville church and a La Romaine house where his children live.

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