Mar 28, 1980 • 1844 • Georgetown-State • 1404

R 281844Z MAR 80
FR AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 2067
INFO AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
CONFIDENTIAL GEORGETOWN 1404
BOGOTA FOR LEGATT
E.O. 12065: GOS 2/27/86 [80] (DWYER, RICHARD A.) OR-M
TAGS: PINT, CGEN GY
SUBJ: JONESTOWN ENQUIRY COMMISSION

1. Just under a year ago, the Government of Guyana (GOG) announced that Court of Appeals Justice Victor Crane would head a commission of enquiry to look into the activities of the Peoples Temple in Guyana which culminated with the suicide/murders of more than 900 American citizens at Jonestown in November of 1978. Since Grance’s [Crane’s] appointment there has been virtually no further word about the enquiry in the government-owned media, although the opposition weeklies have complained periodically about the inaction of the Government. In the interim, Crane has first been appointed Chief Justice and men [then?] Chancellor of the Judiciary, the most senior judicial position in Guyana.

2. Apparently in response to criticisms in Parliament that the GOG had proceeded in its

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appointment of Grance, the government-owned “Chronicle” of March 27 Enquiry Commission, discussing the Jonestown Enquiry Commission, Chancellor Crane is reported to have stated that he would indeed carry out the inquiry “once he is called upon by the government” to do so. The newspaper article reiterated the statement of the Ministry of Information issued previously that the enquiry should not prejudice the legal rights to fair trials of individuals before the courts, i.e. Lawrence Layton and Charles Beikman.

3. Comment: That trial is scheduled to begin April 1, 1980. The trial of Beikman is also set for this session of the assizes, although no specific date for the latter has yet been determined. According to officials in the Director of Public Prosecutors’ Office, it is likely Layton will be first tried for attempted murder. Because the GOG has been unable to obtain the requisite witnesses from the United States, the charge against Layton for the murder of Congressman Ryan and four others probably will not be prosecuted, if at all, until a later date.

[Balance of document, 20 lines long, withheld under exemptions B-1/ED of Freedom of Information Act.]

CONFIDENTIAL

Originally posted on June 13th, 2022.

Last modified on June 16th, 2022.
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