This tape was transcribed by Jason Dikes. The editors gratefully acknowledge his invaluable assistance. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
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[Editorial note: Parts of this tape are repeated, probably from the dubbing process. As a result, the same voices overlap themselves throughout the tape. There are also several bursts of sped up music throughout most of the tape.]
Johnny Jones: Uh, good afternoon. My name is Johnny Jones from Peoples Temple Agricultural Project. And uh, this Sunday afternoon we have with us Herbie Thomas who is the uh, administrator of the Port Kaituma area for Mordecai [phonetic] uh, from the Ministry of Regional Development, and also his wife, Mrs. Thomas. And I’d just uh, like to ask you, Comrade Thomas, uh, your impression of Jonestown.
Herbie Thomas: Uh, thank you, Johnny, for asking me here, and as matter of fact I should’ve said thank you for welcoming me here. Uh. You know I’ve always been impressed with Jonestown. I’ve been around the project and uh, their agricultural program is tremendous. Uh, (long pause) my wife also feels very, very much impressed with everything that she has seen here. And I know that Jonestown has a long way to go.
Johnny Jones: Uh, Mrs. Thomas, do you have anything to say?
Mrs. Thomas: I am very happy to be here at Jonestown. This is my fourth visit and I’m much impressed with everything, and I am certain that it’s (several voices overlap, unintelligible)
Richard Tropp: I was just uh, listening, uh, thinking about– of the idea that we’ve been here for a few years and I was wondering when– when, uh, Peoples Temple first started the project here in Jonestown, you were here, uh, Mr. Thomas, is that correct, in the uh, region? What did you think of it at that time? Did you think that this was, uh, gonna be a program that really was going to work or did you look at it with some kind of skepticism? Or, you know, maybe you had some reflection of how it looked at that time and maybe how it– how it has come along this– this far. We’ve been here now I guess, about four years or so.
Herbie Thomas: Uh, of course I had my doubts (pause) because I felt at the time (pause) being Americans and (pause) coming to Guyana, in the raw jungle, you might not have been able to, let’s say, survive, with the type of work that (unintelligible phrase) would entail. But, over the years, I have noticed that– you, know, a tremendous uh, improvement and people here all– are working all the time. Uh, (pause) they never really give up, they just keep working, keep working. Hard work I think is the motto of Peoples Temple. And by this, I am sure that success is bound to happen.
Tropp: Thank you very much, uh– Johnny, did you uh, have anything else you wanted to say? I’m very– I just wanted to s– say I’m very grateful too and glad that you could come and visit with us at the Project, and– and uh, I hope along with everyone else that– that the Jonestown community can really, you know, become a very integral part of this whole region, that we can all work together cooperatively, and in a spirit of uh, concern for one another and help for one another so that the uh, development of this region will really move forward and progress. Uh– We are very grateful to be able to help in what way we can and to achieve those– that development.
Johnny Jones: Thank you, Dick. Uh, Dick Tropp is uh, our acting headmaster of our school that we have here in uh, Jonestown. Herbie, I’d also like to get your impression of our medical program. As you know, quite a few of our neighbors come in from time to time to see uh, our licensed people that we have in our clinic. Uh– Do you have any, any comment on that?
Herbie Thomas: Your doctor [Laurence Schacht] has been doing a very good job here, Johnny. As a matter of fact right now there are about three teachers here that’s awaiting to be attended. Uh, children also from Port Kaituma have been coming in here and are well taken care of. Ah, words are not easy for me to– to explain– to express myself really about the goodness being done by your doctor here. All I can hope is that he keeps the good work up.
Johnny Jones: Uh, thank you very much.
(28 seconds tape edits and bursts of sped up music)
Johnny Jones: Good afternoon, my name is Johnny Jones of Peoples Temple Agricultural Project. And in the room we have Sharon Amos, Dick Tropp, Gladys and Bunny Boyer, and I’d like to ask uh, Gladys her impressions of Jonestown.
Gladys Boyer: Good afternoon. This is Gladys Boyer. My impression of Jonestown, it’s very, very good. I was here twice for medical to my baby. He had all the attention you can find from the nurses in here and also the doctor. And also, many friends I meet in Jonestown, they’re very, very nice. I was out on the flight from Jonestown, and uh, went to Georgetown, spent three months uh, caring for my babies there, at their headquarters. I was well-treated, and everything that I need, I get. And also, I– I met– They are very, very nice people. They are most people I ever seen that in Guyana, I never see before. They work together, play together, eat together, cook together, almost everything together. I wasn’t a stranger anymore after spending such a long time, I become a part of their family there. (Small laugh)
Sharon Amos: Also, Gladys, uh, you rode on our uh, on our mercy– mercy boat uh, going into Georgetown and– and back out again. Isn’t that uh, true?
Gladys Boyer: I went there uh, from Matthews Ridge by plane, then came back by Cudjoe.
Amos: Oh, that’s right. Uh, that was a plane that we paid for and uh, made the arrangements for you to– to fly into Georgetown, isn’t that true?
Gladys Boyer: Yes, it is. Flight– my flight was paid, and my transportation was waiting for me at Timehri, but I didn’t land there, I landed over– I was well-taken care of there until they reached (unintelligible place name)
Tropp: (clears throat) I understand that uh, you came back on a boat, is that right?
Gladys Boyer: Yeah, I did. I had a ride on the Cudjoe after (unintelligible word) and went home by the tractor also– also was the Peoples Temple tractor.
Amos: I wanted to say that, uh, those of us who stayed with uh, Gladys in Georgetown had a wonderful experience because uh, she uh, became just like a sister to her, and that’s been true of all the people that’ve stayed with us, uh, the people from the surrounding areas that we’ve brought in on our mercy ship and stayed with us, and it’s been a very good experience, I think, for all of us.
Johnny Jones: Bunny, uh, do you have anything you’d like to say about Jonestown?
Bunny Boyer: This is my second visit to George– Jonestown. When I was here the first time, there was development, but when I come this time, there were much bigger and better (unintelligible word) and the right (unintelligible)
The people– the people– the people of– (stumbles over words) Jonestown are very friendly, they– they meet you, they talk to you, you– you talk to each other as– like brothers and sisters, ‘cause you been known for a long time. They’re very, very nice people and they works very hard and they are doing a very good job here.
Amos: Uh, wh– what are some of the things you’ve seen today? You were in the herb, uh, experimental herb, uh, uh, building today, is that right, and wha– anything else you might want to comment about?
Gladys Boyer: Uh, yes, I have, I have experience in different herbs and different other areas, I went in this uh, nursery. They were very nice.
Amos: (off mic) The baby nursery?
Gladys Boyer: Baby nursery, (pause) very nice and I went all the way around Jonestown. The sawmill is very nice, making a lot of different things inside there. Uh, I also went to see right away– Well, not directly right away, but most of the places that they usually have around there.
Johnny Jones: Okay, thank you very much.
(tape edit; 90 second pause)
Tropp: Good evening. My name is Dick Tropp and I’m here at the Peoples Agricultural– Peoples Temple Agricultural Project, Jonestown. We’re in the radio room here, and there are several people here who have come in to visit Jonestown, to be with us this evening. We have uh, Trenton London, who’s an industrial arts instructor and a civil engineering instructor at the Port Kaituma Community School and Rafael Lucas who’s also at the Port Kaituma school, and he’s working as a basic science instructor, and Colin McAllister who’s on study leave, and he is employed with the Guyana National Engineering Corporation. These three gentlemen came in today, uh, I believe for the purpose of getting a physical examination and uh, we’d just like to hear some of their impressions and comments about Jonestown. I– I think they had some time to go around and see the different parts of the community and uh, that’s what we’ll do, I’ll just ask them to make a few comments and uh, perhaps we’ll hear also from Sharon Amos, who’s also with us in the radio room with– with our project staff. Okay, Trenton?
Trenton: I remember when I first came to the gate (pause) and we were proceeding down the trail into Jonestown. I remember looking at (pause) you know, a very good impression at the layout of the farm, the very straight rows of cassava, and to me everything looked neat and tidy and, you know, very efficient. We came in, we were taken on a tour around the whole compound, saw how everything worked, (pause) and how the people lived. And now I’m here to take a med– a physical examination, and well, I can tell you that I never had a physical examination that was so thorough. I mean, the doctor just examines– examined everything, you know, he doesn’t leave any– anything out. I– It would be very right for me to say that not leaving anything out, he took everything in. Well, uh, (pause) to me, the project that’s going on here now still has a long way to go, and they have problems, but I could see that (pause) from the people I’ve met in here, they will overcome these problems as time goes by.
Amos: Thank you very much, Trenton. Uh– Now the other– this other gentleman with us is Rafael, and uh, is this your first visit to Jonestown today?
Rafael: Well, uh, not exactly. This– In fact this has been my second visit to Jonestown because, uh, last (pause) Easter, that is Easter Sunday gone, a group of teachers from the Port Kaituma– Port Kaituma Community High School, we were in Jonestown, and we spent entire day here, uh, having a good look around at the various projects and the various ways in which things are being im– implemented in Jonestown. In fact, today, myself and two other friends, we came in to have a medical examination.
Amos: Did you uh, find, uh, uh, many changes since you had been here the last time, Rafael?
Rafael: Uh, from the last time to now (pause) one thing I have observed (pause) is that (clears throat) the roads seem– seems to be a little muddy. And uh, I guess this is because of the rain. Because the immediate surroundings around the buildings, et cetera, where the tractor does not drive, I find it is fairly okay to walk and so on. It is only the roads coming in, because probably of the tractor.
Amos: Colin, uh, uh, you are a visitor from uh, Georgetown, and you’re spending a couple of weeks here for some exams, is it– uh, as I understand. Uh, why don’t you tell us, uh, some of your impressions, and I understand you had quite a dramatic little uh, (pause) medical uh, test today and maybe you could tell us about that?
Colin: Uh, good evening. I’m tremendously impressed in what I have seen here today in Jonestown. As a matter of fact, I think I’m truly in the middle of true socialism. And I would really like to know that this spreads from, not only Jonestown to the immediate surroundings in Port Kaituma throughout the whole of Guyana. Uh, with relations to my medical test, it was dynamic, something was done to me that has never been done. For three years, I’ve had a cyst (pause) three years. And it was taken out today. Thank you.
Amos: We might describe, uh, a little bit about the cyst. Uh, Dick, you had some background on uh, the exact, uh, kind of cyst he had. Uh, uh, do you want to go into that?
Tropp: (Clears throat) Well, from what I understand that, there was a uh– these were cysts on the inside of his lip. And uh, the contents were removed uh, from his cysts, uh, and we’re very hopeful that uh, this will be an end of uh, the problem for him. And uh, he also– I believe Colin, was– Was it you, Colin, that was tested for glaucoma or was it–
Colin: (off mic) Uh, no, it was– (inaudible)
Tropp: Oh, it was Trenton, right. Yeah, like uh, Trenton was tested for glaucoma and uh, as he did say, the medical examinations are quite thorough and uh, Dr. Schacht is uh, more than happy, along with the rest of the medical staff and with the uh, project here at Jonestown to make our facilities available for people who have a medical need and uh, this is the kind of service– of human service, uh, that we believe is the most, uh, effective way for us as human beings to relate to one another, to help one another, to meet one another’s needs. So, uh, we’re very happy that you gentlemen were able to come and visit with us and uh, right now – let’s see – Rafael, did you want to say something?
Rafael: One more thing I would like to say that I have observed in Jonestown is the way that all the citizens are treated. I think (pause) a lot of (clears throat) respect and care is given for the– all the citizens, and I think this is very good. Anybody?
Colin: There is another observation I would like to make. When I came, I saw some retarded kids, and to me, they were treated just like an ordinary kid. I mean, no one was laughing at them, making fun of them. And in this way, a kid will be able to (pause) believe that he belongs somewhere, that he’s accepted, and that there’s nothing wrong with him. See, act normally.
Amos: I want to thank you very much for your kind words. Uh– By the way, our relations uh, ship with– with uh, the Kaituma school and Kaituma has been a great help to us as well, because we have gotten much assistance from advisers from the Kaituma school that’ve helped us greatly. And we uh, share movies with the town of Kaituma. We send them movies in and they share movies with us. And all together, we– we feel a very close relationship uh, with the whole– with all our neighbors in the community. Is there anything else uh, anybody wanted to say? We certainly appreciate these kind words. Any– any oth– other comments? Well, we– we enjoyed the day very much uh, with– with you– all of you and uh, hope to see you again soon.
Tropp: Okay, (clears throat) thank you very much.
(10 second pause)
Tropp: We have with us in the radio room now Mr. David Patrick, who came into our medical facility with his wife, Bella Patrick and their little baby, Arlex. And I believe, uh, they leave– they live at uh, Barima Bridge. And uh, David Patrick works at Arakaka. I’m just gonna ask David uh, to say a couple of words now about why you and your wife and the baby came into the clinic.
David Patrick: Well, to be truthful, uh, I got my brother. Uh, he came and invite me a couple of days ago and he give me all– all encouragement to bring the baby (pause) and see the doctor at uh, Peoples Temple. And I take his– take his advice and I bring the baby to see the doctor.
Tropp: Right. Di– was your bro– did your brother come in and see the doctor himself?
Patrick: (off mic) Yeah, he come himself.
Tropp: And uh, what was– Did he have a– He had a medical problem and–
Patrick: (off mic) Yeah, he had a (on mic) “I’m having a bad time,” uh, so he come himself to see doctor.
Unknown: (off mic) I treated him.
Tropp: OK, very good. Well, we’re glad that you’re able to come in and we certainly hope that uh, the baby’s all right. What was the baby’s uh– been the baby’s problem?
Patrick: He, uh, he’s suffering from f– fever and cold all the time. From the time he born. Fever and cold all the time.
Tropp: How– how old is the baby?
Patrick: Well, he’s now, uh, a year and six months.
Tropp: I see. OK, David, well, we really hope that, uh, can help the baby out so, the problem will be solved. We’ll see what we can do. Okay, very good. Well, thank you very much, David. It was– it’s good to have you come in and uh, hope everything goes all right with you and your family.
Tropp: Uh, Hector Joseph, who lives, uh, is that in, uh– that– that’s six miles, which is, uh, in this, in the area, came in uh, today, also to the medical clinic, uh, and uh, I’ll let him explain why he came.
Joseph: So then I must explain of why I came here to you?
Tropp: (off mic) Right.
Joseph: I came here to the doctor yesterday, and I made an– an appointment for myself and my brother’s baby. So. We get answer to come in here today ten o’clock. And our treatment was very nice from the Peoples Temple here.
Tropp: What was the, uh– the problem that you had that you came in for?
Joseph: I came in here to have a check on my right thumb that (unintelligible word) that accident by the train. And I was very glad for the attendance that we got from the doctor from the Peoples Temple.
Tropp: Thank you very much, uh, Hector and uh, hope that your thumb heals up real good. ‘K.
(click recording off)
Unknown: The broadcast we just did was for May 29th.
(Other voices in background)
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Tape originally posted February 2016