Prime Minister Lester Bird Pays Tribute to Desmond Hoyte

St. John's, 23rd December - Antigua and Barbuda's Prime Minister the Hon. Lester Bird has paid tribute to Desmond Hoyte, the former President of Guyana and Leader of the Minority Party in Parliament.

Mr. Hoyte died suddenly yesterday morning at his home in Georgetown.

"I worked closely with Desmond Hoyte in the Councils of the Caribbean Community when he was President of Guyana between 1985 and 1992. He always conducted himself with quiet dignity and great responsibility. While his name was not associated with the great initiatives in regional integration, he played an important role during those seven years in helping to solidify the institutions of the Community.

"He was a man of great political courage who preceded Mikhail Gorbachev in the dismantling of the socialist system as a method of governance. He will be rembered for his resolve to open up the Guyana economy, to achieve racial harmony and to strengthen democracy.

"I remember well his participation in a CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in St. Lucia when, along with Janet Jagan who was President of Guyana at the time, we grappled with finding a way to solve the political impasse after the 1997 general election.

The situation in Guyana was very tense. If Desmond Hoyte was not willing to work with us for a solution, the country could have collapsed into anarchy. Fortunately, he put Guyana's interests first.

I mourn his passing, and, on behalf of the people and Government of Antigua and Barbuda, I extend deepest sympathy to his wife, Joyce, to the members and supporters of the Peoples National Congress that he led for 17 years, and to the people of Guyana."