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(Note: This tape was transcribed by Vicki Perry. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
Announcer: Greetings to everyone from the Peoples Agricultural Project, here in the Northwest region, near Port Kaituma. Last night a medical drama unfolded in Jonestown, that involved the life of a two-and-a half-year old Port Kaituma boy who was rushed into our medical clinic. Before he even arrived, communication came to Jonestown via radio, that a child was going to be coming in shortly with an emergency condition. The entire medical staff was alerted to be in readiness. Within moments speciacal– special medical devices were readied. Suction machines, a laryngoscope, various equipment that would be or could be required in case of a– a tracheotomy was necessary, as well as oxygen and resuscitation equipment. The Jonestown surgical staff, which is on a 24-hour emergency standby, was ready to go to work and included, in addition to the project physician [Larry Schacht], two respiratory therapists, a family nurse practitioner, and pediatric nurse practitioner, in addition to several registered nurses and paramedics.
I would also add that Reverend Jones expressed an immediate feeling that a vehicle should be dispatched to meet the incoming vehicle, and that, if this was not done, there would be serious consequences. And he turned out to be right because the vehicle bringing in the child had gone off the road. But with the help of the Guyanese driver of that vehicle, we were able to get the people in. Just in case, however, members of the medical team were sent out with the driver on the Jonestown project vehicle. (Pause)
Comrade Frasier and Mrs. Frasier came in with the child. Now Comrade Frasier is the locomotive operator of the train that runs each day, I believe, from Port Kaituma to Matthew’s Ridge, and at this point, I’m going to introduce you to Comrade and Mrs. Frasier, who are in our broadcast room with us now, and let them explain to you what was wrong with Bob, the two-and-a-half year old– their two-and-a-half year old child. Comrade Frasier.
Frasier: Good morning, Comrade. Yesterday afternoon it was very– uh, it was a very grievous afternoon for me. My only son, Bob, two-and-a-half years old– myself and his mother was– was out to home. We leave him with his sisters and one of his aunts. Really to be honest, I don’t know what got into his head, but he took a soursop seed and pushed it right through into his nose. When I went to him, I met them was trying to get it out, but as they did not know how to operate on the thing, he got further down into his nostril and stake [stuck]. I then decided that I must have to seek medical attention immediately. I contacted Comrade Phillip– George Phillips at Port Kaituma for the arrangement on transportation. This he– he willfully and freely gave to me. But on the way through, the road was very wet coming– coming through to Jonestown, through the bad weather. We stopped (unintelligible) half the road. I had to get out of the vehicle. On my way running through to come, I met Comrade– Comrade–
(voices in background; inaudible)
Frasier: Johnny Jones. He was heading towards me with the first aid because he had expected us coming. He had got his information. So after he didn’t see us in such a hurry time, he was coming with his vehicle behind him. When his vehicle get there, it had a full medical staff and everything fully equipped. We took the child into the– into the uh, vehicle that came first, right away into the hospital. The doctors tried to (Unintelligible word) operation, with the help of the staff and many good friends around. It took about nearly two and a half hours before they have got a seed out. The doctor have did his best. Co– Com– Comrade– Comrade Father Jones, he was there too, and he have give me all the assurance that the seed would be out early. Soon as he said this word to us, the seed was out from the baby head. I was so grateful, and I must be so thankful and even the words that I wanted to use to– to them for the kind cooperation that they have given me, I cannot find it to put it here. But I hope in this, everybody around here will be very grateful in case anything should happen to them, and they would be able and willingly to take their child or children or even their family there to uh– (Pause) to Jonestown where they will be having full medical attention. I thank you.
Announcer: Thank you very much, Comrade Frasier. And Comrade Johnny Jones who’s in the broadcast room with us too, would like to add a word about the uh, incident with the vehicle before they came into the uh, clinic.
Johnny Jones: I’d just like to say that uh, Comrade Frasier mentioned that I was running down the road. The only reason I was running down because earlier my dad, Jim Jones had instructed me to– to go down to– to meet the vehicle, ‘cause he said he felt that our assistance would be needed.
Announcer: Thank– thank you, uh, Johnny. According to the medical staff, I understand that the seed, the soursop seed was lodged in a very dangerous position in Bobby’s uh, upper– in his nose area, very far up, and if it was not dislodged, it could have cost his life, because it was a possibility that it could have worked its way into its lungs, and according to the uh, nurse practitioner, it could have resulted in cardiac arrest. The medical staff, as Comrade Frasier explained, worked for several hours to remove the seed and used several complicated procedures, uh, but they were not completely optimistic uh, through these procedures. There was uh, difficulty in doing that, and I want to reiterate what uh, Comrade Frasier had said that something very extraordinary happened, when all seemed to be of no avail, Jim Jones, who has a quite widespread reputation in the United States for gifts of what is termed “spiritual healing” as well as for his work for social justice and humanitarianism, Comrade Jones came into the medical office. And this was quite late. It was about one o’clock in the morning. His staff was exhausted. They had been working very, very hard to remove the seed from Bobby. He had not been there at all– just briefly– just a moment, when the seed came right out with very little trouble, and I wish to say at this point that we have no precise, exact way to explain this phenomenon, except as an extraordinary dimension of the mind, perhaps in the realm of what is referred to as faith, and indeed, we have seen this ex– extra– extra dimensional faculty work repeatedly through Comrade Jones over many years. In any case, the seed came right out, and this morning we are very, very grateful, very, very happy, all of us, that Bobby is doing fine, he looks absolutely well as if nothing at all had happened. And, because of the hour, it was so late last night that Comrade and Mrs. Frasier and Bobby stayed over at the project, and I understand that this morning you had a chance to look around the community and see uh, Jonestown. Uh– I think this is your first time there. And I would– I would uh, like to just ask you, Comrade Frasier, if you could maybe give us some of your reactions, uh, about what you saw and about the community uh, in general. Thank you.
Frasier: Well– (Unintelligible word), I went through around the community this morning. (Stumbles over words) (Pause) The community is very wide, and you’re doing lots of wonderful work. Lots of planting. Lots of– lots of cleaning up and whole sort of thing. They’re having some beautiful schools. The children, I saw, went to school, and they were well being taught and they’re going fine. Everybody looks to be happy to me, because I can see this from what I have seen going around. I take my breakfast this morning with the community, and it was very pleasing and uh, nice for me, myself, Bob, and my wife Ernestine, and I am very thankful for this.
Announcer: Thank you very much, Comrade Frasier. In closing, I would like to just say that situations like this are not unusual. Medical emergencies happen frequently, and we are very happy to be able to get something done about them, and in several cases, the services we’ve been able to provide in Jonestown have meant a difference. Well, Comrade and Mrs. Frasier, we want to thank you very much for coming here to the broadcast room to speak with us about your experience.
Frasier: Thank you, comrades, in the broadcast room. I am very grateful for this.
Mrs. Frasier: Thank you very much, comrades and friends.
Announcer: Good afternoon. Here in our broadcast room at the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project near Port Kaituma in the Northwest region, we have several people who have come to visit our medical clinic today. I’m going to be talking with them in just a minute. First I would like to say how much all of us at the community here – and there are over a thousand – are so very happy and proud to be able to be here in Guyana. Comrades, this is a beautiful country, and the Northwest region is particularly beautiful. This is a land of possibility, of promise, and we are busy building this project, expanding and developing in many directions. Just now, our brick-making factory and soap factory are getting underway, and every day something new is happening. New seeds planted, new land cleared, perhaps new animals added to our livestock center, a new dwelling under construction. We are all working in a spirit of joy and socialist cooperation, knowing that as we grow and develop, the region is developing and, by extension, the nation. So we see ourselves as an integral part of a much larger process, and that process is the cooperative spirit: socialism. We’re a community that is motivated by this ideal of service and cooperation which has been so clearly exemplified by our project leader and founder, Comrade Jim Jones. It is due to his leadership that our community has become a reality, and it is due also to the spirit of friendship that the government of this great nation and our Guyanese comrades have extended to us, making us feel welcome and right at home here. Our medical clinic, perhaps, is a symbol of what we are all about, caring and helping. We are very happy to be able to be of service in giving medical assistance to all who come and who have need. It is our way of making a contribution here, and we are confident that we can contribute in many other ways as our community develops. So, on behalf of all the residents here in Jonestown, young and old, let me just say, thank you, Guyanese comrades. We are so happy to be here and to be a part of this growing nation.
Here in our broadcast room this afternoon, three staff members and one of the students from the Burnham Agricultural Institute nearby have come to Jonestown to spend a few hours with us. With them are two members of our agricultural staff. Comrade Russell Moton, one of our agronomists, and Comrade Gene Chaikin, who is the manager of our citrus project. I’d like to introduce at this time Vincent Hudson, who is a student at the Burnham Agricultural Institute, and Comrade Johnny Phillips, Comrade Arthur Cameron, and Comrade Maureen Terrell who are all on the staff at the institute. Welcome to Jonestown. (tape edit) –your impressions of the project. First, we have Vincent Hudson.
Hudson: Well, I find the Jonestown settlement a good one for the development of the area. I think the venture is a good one for the people of the Northwest and in Guyana as a whole. There’re plants being planted, a different sort of crops, something will help in their feeding of the people of the Northwest and maybe possibly in later days the people of Guyana. (Pause)
Announcer: Thanks. Thank you, Comrade Hudson. And now I’d like to ask one of the staff members on the Burnham Institute, Comrade Arthur Cameron, a question. Now Comrade Cameron, uh, could you just give me maybe some of your impressions of the uh, Jonestown project, uh, what you thought of uh, the kind of work that’s going on here? Coming in– I think, is this– is this your first time here?
(voice in background, barely audible)
Announcer: Second time. Maybe you can just say a few words of uh, how you uh– what you thought of uh, what was going on, what some of your impressions are.
Cameron: (Speaks slowly, with many long pauses) Well, I like Jonestown. (Unintelligible word) I feel from the time uh, you started here at Jonestown, I feel the great– quite a (unintelligible). I think they have done a lot of good. They have culti– cultivated a lot of the earth, planting various cropses, enough to feed their selves.
Announcer: Also with us is Comrade Johnny Phillips, who’s also on the staff at the Burnham Institute. Uh, Comrade Phillips, maybe you’d like to just say a few words about your impressions of the community here.
Phillips: Uh, I (unintelligible) I was very much impressed about this project, and believe it is moving forward tremendously. I’ve been here for quite amount of times, in and out a few times. On my first visit here, there were a lot of– the buildings weren’t wooden– they were just this (unintelligible) and a few shacks and so on, and another few months, I come back here and I have noticed a lot of wooden buildings and so on. And I can see there was tremendous improvement, moving forward, very quickly. Uh, I was very grateful for the Peoples Temple project being here, because they are enlightening this Northwest region very much, and I would also like to mention the hospitality which is very good. I did not expect such hospitality when I first arrived here, but I’ve seen (unintelligible) automatically as in Peoples Temple residents. I feel very much comfortable here, and I must commend about it, because it is very good.
Announcer: Thank you very much, uh, Comrade Phillips. Uh, Comrade Maureen Terrell is out of the broadcast room right now. She’ll be back in just a few minutes. I notice uh, Comrade uh, Russell Moton, that you and Comrade Chaikin and our friends from the Burnham Institute were chatting over in the pavilion area just a few minutes ago about a very important topic in this region: cassava. Would you like to maybe uh, tell us a little bit about your discussion?
Moton: Yes, uh, that’s true. We were chatting about cassava and uh– uh, we know for instance, that there’s a new uh, building or– that’s been de– been built recently in this area to uh, process the cassava, and we were trying to figure out how much it would take to uh– to keep it running on a regular basis. Uh, we were just talking about uh, how we had been talking to uh– uh, to a man by the name of Neville uh, who is uh– was telling us about the uh, new type of cassava that will produce in– the (Unintelligible word) cassava will produce in six months. Uh, we were laughing because uh, uh, we understood that it was going to be producing anywhere between fifteen to twenty uh, thousand pounds of cassava uh, per acre. (Laughs) Uh–
Announcer: What’s the uh– the uh, the usual rate of production for cassava? Is that– (Stumbles over words) I would imagine it’s quite a bit lower than that.
Moton: Uh, yes it is. Uh, much, much lower than that. More like, uh, I guess maybe two thousand pounds would be an average.
Hudson: Well I think that– that the yield per acre for cassava might be that much higher as the university over at uh– eight to twelve hundred pounds, taking into consideration the– the variety that’s being grown and the sort of land that you have available and its preparation, whereby you either get a good year or (Unintelligible word) a drop from time to time.
Chaikin: I think that everyone who farms uh, here in the Northwest region is very concerned about the production of cassava, not only because we have the new cassava factory here at Port Kaituma, but also because we understand that it’s an essential part of the national development that uh, the uh, cassava starch is required for the production of uh, bauxite which is one of the mainstays of our– our economy here in Guyana and for this region. For this reason uh, many of us are consistently concerned with the development of cassava production here, and the kind of chat we have is something which you’d hear very frequently, but I just wonder if anyone else has any comments about what we might do to improve our production or how we feel the– the price structure deals with what we can do with the like uh– Comrade Phillips? You have something you could say about that?
Phillips: As far as the price is concerned, I think that it’s uh, a bit low because I’ve done some farming uh, in my time, and the work that has to be put into cassava and the yield you get, it isn’t profitable at ten cents a pound, and I– I don’t know how it is they arrive at this price when really it should be something more than that (Unintelligible word) the ten cents they put forward to us.
Moton: Uh, one thing that uh, we have been discussing is the need to uh, develop and improve varieties of cassava. Uh– We find that– well, that some varieties appear to be more leafy than others and realizing that the more leafier you have, the more uh, starch production or sugar or starch production of any particular plant you’re going to get. Uh, so we– Realizing that some varieties have more leaves uh, we’re going to see if they’ll produce more tuber than uh, some of the less leafier varieties, as well as even uh, plot– setting aside certain plot areas and seeing uh, how for instance the amount of shell will influence it uh, versus uh, lack of shell or maybe the amount of uh, urea or maybe a full dose of urea, PSPN and uh, potash. Uh, it’s– We’re going to try different techniques and just see possibly what would be the best way to get the best yield uh, with the least amount of cost.
Cameron: I think (unintelligible) cassava production is doing a lot. Cassava– and soils. Cassava crops in with– the month after periods rotating crops. Every crop of cassava now, they take it out, they put it in a crop of legume. I think it’s a constant (unintelligible) on that. A crop of cassava, a crop of legume.
Chaikin: I know that in my reading, uh, Comrade, I’ve read in places in Africa and Asia where they grow cassava, and they mix it uh, with the legumes. They’ll actually plant them at the same time like uh, maybe a couple of uh, beans of one variety or another next to the cassava sticks, and I wonder if either of you can enlighten me as to whether or not that’s been tried here, and if so, if it’s had any success.
Hudson: Uh– Personally, I’m not aware of– that– that– that system has been tried here but uh, but uh, what I will suggest is that cassava, after one or two crops a year, will certainly drop, and that there is some need for improvement of the soil, and I would like to suggest probably fertilizers and uh, probably shells or something like that, and supposed to improve the soil and possibly legumes also. But uh, I would more agree to– to the uh, the old system in which most of the local farmers use which is cutting and burning and then moving to another area to cut another new farm, but at– at this uh, environment here is not possible because farmers is concentrated on mostly on the one area.
Announcer: Comrades, we’ve just been chatting here in our broadcast room at the Jonestown Agricultural Project of Peoples Temple with some of our guests who’ve come in today from the Burnham Institute to spend some time with us about cassava, and obviously from the conversation, we can see that there is a great deal of interest and a great deal of study going on, which we all, we are sure, enable our region – beautiful Northwest region – to be more productive and to be a greater contribution– to make a greater contribution to the overall growth and development of Guyana.
Tape originally posted March 2009