“Mary Ruth” Letters to “Hill,” Fall 1977 (Set 1)

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[Editor’s note: The names Hill and Mary Ruth are code for Jim Jones and Paula Adams, respectively.]

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[undated, likely fall 1977]

TO: HILL

FROM: MARY RUTH

I don’t know when I will ever feel that it is “safe” to come out. Maybe I should just close up and go. In one day, so many things can happen that I have very mixed feelings about it. I want to come up badly because I know it will be a long time before you are ever in a position to come into town again (even if the custody matter is settled; will it be safe from extradition if you are off alone), and as you are aware, I would like to see Monique. I would rather see Monique in the children’s program as long as she is getting the proper “parental figures” in the evenings, so I appreciate your suggestion of a visit in here for her if I can’t get out.

I don’t really think I should go now. As long as this court issue is going on at the media are in our doorsteps waiting, it would be best to wait. And as far as I can gather, we are still not clear in our minds that “we are out of the danger zone”. I really don’t think we will ever get the straight outright assurances that we would want, however, I think they will do the case as they have in the past: to simply work out each problem as it comes while we are treating it like a crisis which could end all. I think there is a very lackadaisical attitude where we take things very seriously. They have not struggled for what they have achieved and don’t relate to it.

The sugar strike may be over soon and the newspapers (like Mirror and Catholic Standard) will have nothing to print and can concentrate on new situations… like us. Nothing in the Catholic Standard this week. I will call Mohamed Hamaludin on Thursday and check.

I had Joyce [Touchette] go ahead and pursue procurement from this guy from Trinidad, because in my opinion, we aren’t going to find a rich person with any conscience and this guy was captivated by Joyce if she would handle him right. I think Joyce doesn’t like to look like she is a gold digger to men, but I insisted she asked for five hundred dollars and she got it. She did the work, but I smell an “easy mark” when I see one. I couldn’t see what it could hurt in pursuing it because he would have been hostile if she hadn’t seen him occasionally. He is the ugliest vilest man alive. He is disgusting. I think she ought to continue pursuing with this man. He is only in town occasionally and he usually comes through transportation for us amongst other things. He is a very lucrative investment for the short amount of time spent with him.

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[undated, likely fall 1977]

TO: HILL

FROM: MARY RUTH

A. Wills, Burnham, and Hubert Jack will be out of the country between October 21 and November 10.

B. Wills said, “A lot of people are sticking their necks out for you.”

C. Wills said some time ago, that there was a CIA man at Port Kaituma. I did not think to ask him who nor do I think he would tell me, but I will next time I am in his office.

D. Wills said, “No person from anywhere would be denied access to the courts, but the outcome and the courts are under his guidance and that if Grace [Stoen] came down, she could go to court with Jim and John [Victor Stoen] are not leaving Guyana.”

E. Last time we were in his office and we kept trying to bring the question up about what we would do if these things (custody cases) kept going to court, and he kept interrupting me and would hardly listen to one word I said. He still claimed support and said that he wasn’t going to reveal his plan because I have a way of letting word get out.

F. Wills had us picked up in his private car with his official driver when we were at Radio Demerara. He said that he did it because we were from Peoples Temple, not because of looks.

[G. missing]

H. He said that we don’t appreciate what he has done for us.

I. His attitude has not shown that he takes things too seriously or he simply underestimates what they would like to do to us. He sort of acts like, “well, it will all work out in the end.”

J. I don’t think he is working against us because too many people are watching his moves. He keeps telling us that he is all for “you guys” (meaning PT). I think he has a rough idea of what they are in for internationally, but I don’t think he knows yet how to handle this thing and save the Guyana image with the US and stand with us. The loans which were promised by the US have still not come through, therefore, I think Wills is getting a little less enamored with the US.

[2 lines struck out]

K. Overall, I think Wills is with us because he can’t figure any way out of it.

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[undated, likely late fall, after Six-Day Siege]

TO: HILL

FROM: MARY RUTH

1. SKIP ROBERTS, DIRECTOR OF THE CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION DEPARTMENT (CID)

A. Commissioner of Police Lloyd Barker met with him and a few other heads of departments within the police force. Barker said we were being harassed and there was a lot of nitpicking at us up there. He told them about the shooting and the robbery and the people in the bushes and that he thought we should keep the gate closed. He also told them about government’s position toward us. He told him about his recommendations about lighting and fencing.

B. Roberts is the head of the department that PADMORE works for. PADMORE was in Matthews Ridge to give evidence in a fraud case and was asked by Inspector Benjamin, Regional Minister Carmichael and Gregory Gaskin after they have spoken to Leon Broussard to go out and investigate the charges. PADMORE was not out there for the reason of investigating us, but because he happened to be there until he got an airplane out or went to court or something, they asked him to got [go] to our farm.

C. PADMORE had never heard about us before and in his report he made references as if the government did not really know what we were doing up there. He thought that our farm should be gone over thoroughly to check for such things as marijuana and opium which are known to have a very lucrative market in which we know to be growing in Guyana.

D. I think it significant that Roberts even showed us the file. He must not hold much store in it or he would not have shown us. I think he was on the level. I think he knows much more than he let on about the accusations coming out of California and the various elements of harassment that we are getting here also. He did not play dumb, but he simply did not offer any extra information.

E. The report praised our work and thought the farm impressive, however he questioned how it could have come about. Broussard mentioned something about a slave colony and PADMORE quoted him and also went on to say that he saw people there working very hard (which Roberts commented that it shows that PADMORE is afraid of work). Roberts also remark about PADMORE’s surprise about “why would Americans who had so much in the US want to come to Guyana which is under strain”, Roberts said that it shows by his comment that if he were able to get a visa to the US, he would be gone.

F. Robert said that we must keep in mind that PADMORE had never heard of us before, therefore when he came upon this city in the jungle with 700

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Americans and the only thing that he had heard about us was that we ran a slave colony and that we beat people and stole old people’s Social Security checks that it might influence his thinking. The point is that the persons influencing his thinking are Carmichael, Gaskin, and Benjamin. I told Roberts that the man was unfriendly and that he took two pictures, one, of the radio antenna, and two, of the garbage pit. Robert saw no mention that pictures were taken written in the report, but that he would ask Padmore about it.

G. Roberts suggested that the best way that we could allay many peoples paranoia and curiosity about our farm is to do a very thorough picture layout and submitted to the newspaper so that people would be exposed to what we are doing without thinking it is some clandestine operation.

H. Roberts claims that he had PADMORE come into his office and gave him a good chewing out for assuming that the government and the police and in particularly his department knew nothing about the American farm.

I. Roberts also claimed to have told PADMORE that he knew about us from the time that we came into the country. (When we were buying the CUDJOE, he went on a fishing cruise which was really to check into fish and fuel smuggling techniques. The cruise happened to be the same evening that we were looking into buying the boat. I was asked to cook and I didn’t know how to cook at that time and I sabotaged the food. It was bad and he had not forgotten, nor did he neglect to tell everyone that mentions Peoples Temple. Maybe not a good impression, however, I made an impression on him that he hasn’t forgotten.)

J. One of the primary questions that PADMORE put in his report was, “How do we get our funds?” Roberts was saying, even if you do get Social Security checks from senior citizens, it is none of our concern. I told him that we are funded by donations. He said that there must be considerably less donations with so many people here. I told him that the church had not decreased and a church that had several thousand members could still get donations. Roberts was not cynical, however, he did get a few questions in with discretion. He is very sophisticated in police detective work. He may appear to [be] very much for us, and he may well be, but I don’t underestimate his ability. He takes on a very casual air. He gave us his home and work numbers and as I told Karen, it makes it easier if we just call and give him the information rather than him having to dig it up (which is why I assume he gave us his home number).

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K. Overall, I think Roberts is for us. I don’t think he could have maintained an air of support through the entire interview without being somewhat sincere. He said that in his experience with the Police Dept. that the kinds of things that most groups face if they are being harassed is that people will either accuse them of something atrocious (like burying babies alive) or something to smear their morality, by suggesting things such as orgies or the opposite – they can’t have sex at all. He said that you usually find these kinds of rumors around large groups which are just getting settled no matter what they are trying to do (missionaries or whatever – he doesn’t categorize us as missionaries because he knows our commitment to socialism). He said that this is common where any large group settles.

L. He said that the Rabbi Washington of the House of Israel as a fraud and that he knows of his long criminal record in the US. Robert said if he even so much as steeped [stepped] on board an airplane leaving Guyana they would be waiting for him. Washington is running from fraud charges in the US. Washington also committed fraud on someone here, although Roberts wouldn’t tell us who. The reason they neither deported him nor went heavy on him with any prosecution was because Washington claimed to be a former CIA agent and that there were those in the US who were just waiting to get him. At that time, they were very CIA conscious and they let him slide. Roberts did say that they are watching him close now because he is again involved in some sort of fraud thing.

M. I have heard from someone else on a casual basis the Roberts is a very sensitive person in one of the few in the police force with a conscience. I don’t know how true this is, because I don’t know him well enough, but I did think his suggestion about a pictorial presentation for the newspaper a positive comment.

N. Roberts claims that because we left the American dream and all of the televisions and material things that the average person both in the US and in Guyana will think we are up to something by coming here. Robert said that the average American can understand if an American comes and starts a business cooperative and gets everyone else to do the work and he collects the profits. That is just a good businessman, but they can’t understand why anyone would actually want to come to live in Guyana. It would shake the American people up. Why we would want to leave, etc.

O. He said that we could expect parents to start asking the police to look into their children. It always happens. I wish others would take it in stride like he does.

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PAGE FOUR

P. PADMORE said that JJ was not really in charge, but only a figurehead, that the real persons in charge were Charlie and Joyce Touchette.

Q. I imagine you already know other reports Leon gave. He said that JJ forced him into working when you know that Leon had just undergone back surgery. He claimed that we stole his veterans checks (made him sign it away).

R. I can’t think of any more to add, but if I do, I’ll just add it below.

Originally posted on March 4th, 2022.

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