Aug 1, 1978
He got a call from Peter Holder, the deputy ambassador, and it was about a release [Fred] Wills made to the Labor Party (socialist oriented) paper in London. Wills playing Guyanese were after his life and the British MI6 were after him also. [Laurence][ Mann tried to find out if there was any mention of the government of Guyana. Holder sd no. He told Holder to tell Kit (Nascimento) to release a statement saying that Wills was in London as far as they knew undergoing medical treatment at the Guyana government’s expense. He sd for Holder to call the British Ambassador and give a copy of the article and a copy of the Guyana Embassy’s response. He sd to let the British make a response to Wills’ statement and for Holder to say no more.
I told him I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation and asked what Wills sd. He told me what I already heard. I asked why he was doing it. He sd he is half-cracked. He sd he has always known that and that his behavior is erratic and always was.
He sd when Wills was ambassador to Zambia he wrote back that his stomach condition was due to the strong stand that he had made against the South African government and that South Africa
was trying to had poisoned him which is why he needed surgery in his stomach. Wills was always writing home that “we did this and accomplished that” and when Sonny Ramphal, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the time, asked who the “we” were, it was found out that he was identifying with the Revolutionary Patriotic Front. Mann sd that was the worst thing a government cd do was to take sides when there were so many different factions fighting for liberation.
Mann sd he was a compulsive liar. “You don’t know how many people he lied to.” I asked if he meant in the government or to foreign governments. He sd, “Never mind.” He sd Berkeley Gaskin, Winnie Gaskin’s husband and Gregory Gaskin’s father, summed it up. He sd, “I know Wills on 3 levels: as a personal friend, as a lawyer, and through the Georgetown Cricket Club – and he is a liar
on all 3 levels.” Mann sd, “You remember when he told Rudy Collins some lie about you and for a while I believed it.” He asked me again, “You remember, don’t you?” I sd, “yes.” He sd it was something about a conversation about Wills that you overheard or something like that. I sd I didn’t even know what you were talking about because I had never heard anything. He sd Wills is cracked. He sd that as brilliance goes, he doesn’t hold much to the genius theory, but Wills was a genius but he was too erratic and a liar. He sd, “Wills could have made good money as a lawyer here if he’d gone back into practice because he was a good lawyer, but not lie. I understand he is in New York looking for a job.”
I told him I was concerned about what effect Wills would have on Guyana and the government. He sd, “Don’t worry, honey, we don’t get all excited like the Peoples Temple. These things happen and we just ignore them.” I asked why the Prime Minister [Forbes Burnham] made Wills Foreign Minister. He sd, “I’ve asked the P. M. that myself.”
He sd, “I’ve heard all sorts of things. I heard Wills I said I was the best ambassador he had.”
He kept reiterating the Wills had cracked and that he always had been half-mad and that now he’s completely cracked.
I told him the press in the US was smearing Guyana because of the referendum. He sd, “where?” I sd I didn’t know the names of all the newspapers, there was one in a San Diego paper. He cut me off and sd, “The San Diego Sun is of no importance and one thing I know is that the media in the US has no integrity at all, and are bald-face liars.” He sd, “From reports I’ve gotten, they won’t even check sources of their reports about Peoples Temple and when they’ve been told they can check with people to prove that what was said were lies, they won’t do it and print what they want.” He sd, “I have no respect for the press in the US.” He sd, “You don’t find that in England so much, they usually check their sources carefully to avoid [several attempts to spell word] lible (sp?) [libel] suits.” I sd, “That is
why I couldn’t understand you telling us to invite the National Enquirer which is a no- account scandle-mongering piece of trash. No established media would hold any credibility in anything they wrote. Even Dick McCoy told us to not bother with them because of their trashy reputation.” He sd, “I didn’t mean to invite them. What I meant was that you should invite some newspaper to come and see that lies are being written about you.” I sd, “A famous author is coming the middle of this month to do a story.” (At this point he was walking out the door. Our most dramatic discussions are always held between the time he steps into the shower and walks out the door.)
2. George King, Minister of Trade –
He sd King is going to be prosecuted for accepting bribes from businessmen. [Lionel] Luckhoo told him so, and he sd that the commission of enquiry Luckhoo heads, as witnesses who are going to be arraigned. Mann is concerned that Keil Cheong is going to be called to the witness stand for giving bribes.
Mann sd, “Frank Noel (works for Guystac) is also going to be prosecuted as are several others.” When I asked, “Who else,” he sd he didn’t know. That was a cut-off because I know he knows.
Wilbur Bascom, former General Mgr of the Guyana National Cooperative Bank left the country while under investigation for larceny and embezzlement. To keep him here before they had enough evidence to charge him, they put a $54,000 income tax charge on him which would have to be paid if he were to leave the country. He drew a check for that amount on a different bank, pay the tax, got on a plane, and left the country.
3. A couple of days ago when I went thru the agonizing 3 hours of waiting while he went to the Prime Minister’s thinking he was going to be asked to join the Cabinet in Guyana, he made the comment that he would rather either be asked to take Ministry of Finance because [Frank] Hope was hopeless, or Economic Development and [Desmond] Hoyte would move to Finance. (Wills one time sd Mann was trying to find a job for
Hope in the US and that they were tight.)
4. Rex McKay is going to the US on some diplomatic appointment or temporary assignment. McKay is a lawyer and businessman. He is a good friend of Chancellor Haynes and was asked to sit for two months on the “bench” of the Higher Court as a Judge before Luckhoo was asked. McKay is a darling of the Prime Minister and was asked to do the prosecution on the Arnold Ramperssaud trial 3 times. McKay came up from the grassroots of poverty. He is half-black and half-East Indian. His wife was white Norwegian and left him because he beat her. He is Mann’s closest friend.
5. Mann is always say he knows the P.M. good. He knows what he wants something or is up-to-something by the tone of his voice. He sd he’s known Burnham since Mann was a little boy and Burnham used to come over to his house. He sd they are old family friends.