In a separate interview, Barker said: "I know there were some rumors there, especially people of the opposition. It was felt that an investigation was needed. I never felt professionally that there was any need."
Asked what lasting impact the deaths at Jonestown had had on Guyana, Barker said that before the tragedy, Guyana was so little known that the U.S. Postal Service often sent letters addressed for this country to Africa, the clerks apparently thinking the country name sounded African. "After the Jonestown incident, people were getting their letters properly," he said.
Still, Guyana would like to be known for its spectacular Kaieteur Falls, or the ornate wooden buildings of its capital. Instead, Guyanese are haunted by Jim Jones.
"They groan every time Jonestown is mentioned," said a foreign diplomat in Georgetown. "I think it has proved to be a major embarrassment to the country."
The main long-term impact of Jonestown on Guyana may have been to dampen development of the country's interior, according to Courtney Gibson, a journalist who once edited the governing party's newspaper.
"If Jonestown had gone well, if that disaster had not happened, I think the government's hinterland development project would be moving at a much more rapid rate," he said.
Patrick Denny, an Information Ministry official, said the government kept military or police guards at Jonestown until at least 1983.
"They were just minding some goats and things like that," he said, but no revival of the agricultural project was attempted.
"I think the real idea was to just let the jungle take it back, because you certainly weren't going to get any Guyanese to go in there and live," Denny said.
Why not? " Jumbies ," he said, smiling.
As the 10th anniversary of the tragedy approached, the government acknowledged outside interest with apparent resignation and lowered the barriers that had made it difficult to reach Jonestown. The airstrip at Port Kaituma was unofficially reopened, and a government plane was made available for trips in.
Only Remnants Left
After riding on a tractor over a rarely used track through the jungle from the airstrip to Jonestown, one group of visitors spent nearly three hours looking around the site. Spread through the weeds and brush of the biggest clearing were the rusted shells of two trucks, a dismembered tractor, a shoe-making machine, a wood-milling machine, a large storage tank, a concrete mixer, an air compressor, several engine blocks, pieces of aluminum roofing and a generator. The visitors found what was left of the pavilion, then the area of the married couples' cottages.
Finding a large metal object, someone used a machete to hack some weeds away. "It's a filing cabinet," Gouveia announced. Jim Jones' filing cabinet, now empty, broken and rusted. Not much more was left.