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MP Hamilton talks about the House of Israel

Screen shot 2014-06-02 at 9.36.26 PMJoseph Hamilton now serves as a Parliamentarian with the ruling PPP; but back in the late 70s at the height of Dr Walter Rodney’s political activism, he was connected to the then PNC government of Forbes Burnham, but more so to the House of Israel, for which he served as a priest. Fronting itself as a religious organization which used the Bible as the source of its teachings, Hamilton said the organization was used as repressive tool by the Burnham government to terrorise and silence dissenting views. Specifically, Hamilton said he was among a gang used to disrupt meetings being held by the WPA, the party Dr Walter Rodney set up and advocated opposition to Burnham’s policies. Hamilton testified about the methods used to disrupt meetings, apart from the normal practice of seizing sound equipment.

From that state of violence, Hamilton said on one occasion, Robert Corbin, a former PNC leader, who was then associated with the youth arm of the ruling PNC, handed six 9mm pistols to the leadership of the House of Israel.

Hamilton said that as the House of Israel pursued its activities to silence opponents of the Burnham government, they received specific instructions not to harm Dr Cheddi Jagan, the leader of the then main opposition PPP for fear of an ethnic war. Also, Hamilton said the House of Israel was not to touch Eusi Kwayana, who although being a close associated of Dr Rodney, was widely respected as a leader in Black communities. Besides Cheddi Jagan and Eusi Kwayana, the House of Israel could use their violence against everyone other oppose, including Dr Walter Rodney.

Mr Hamilton will continue his testimony at another date, as the Commission will Tuesday hear from Major General Norman McLean. The Commission of Inquiry has been set up to determine the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr Walter Rodney, a renowned scholar and politician. He was killed when a walkie talkie he was carrying exploded on June 13, 1980.

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