The House of Israel was a “hit squad” with links to the police and the then PNC Government and among its members was the prime suspect in the 1980 murder of Dr. Walter Rodney, Gregory Smith, Lawrence Edward Rodney yesterday testified during day two of the Commission of Inquiry set up to probe the death.
The 73 year old spoke a lot about the House of Israel; the building which housed its headquarters still at the junction of Light and Sixth Streets, Alberttown.
Led by the commission’s lead counsel Glen Hanoman, the elder Rodney said that the police were used by government to intimidate the working people, later adding that many strike actions by the working class were broken up by members of the House of Israel.
He identified one of the members of the House of Israel as Joe Hamilton who he said was a “kind of deacon…a senior member”. He said that Hamilton had influence.
He said that the House of Israel operated as a religious grouping with a kind of “hit squad” and was linked to the knifing to death of Father Bernard Darke in 1979. He said that those who killed Darke were proven House of Israel members.
According to Lawrence the House of Israel opened its own radio programme, “Voice of Prophecy”, adding that the PPP was not allowed to have a radio programme of its own.
He said that no outsider could get information about the Rabbi Washington-led grouping.
Lawrence also identified Smith as being a member of the House of Israel. Asked how he knew this, he told the commission that he saw Smith in the black, green and red uniform of the grouping and he was at the time walking down Russell Street in the company of a woman and a child.
He went on to describe how members of group would sometimes break up meetings by cutting the wires to the speaker system
Lawrence detailed his brother’s political career and described him as someone who displayed potential from the early stages of his life, later excelling in education and adulthood.
At several points during the testimony, attorney at law Basil Williams who is representing the interest of the PNC expressed concern that Lawrence was being forced to reach the conclusions of Hanoman as opposed to being allowed to give his evidence freely.
Lawrence will return at a later stage to complete his testimony.