Hoyte for burial at Seven Ponds Day of National Mourning declared By Patrick Denny Stabroeknews - Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Former Executive President of Guyana and PNCR Leader Desmond Hoyte, will be laid to rest at The Seven Ponds, Place of Heroes in the Botanic Gardens on Monday following the State Ceremony at the Public Buildings.

Monday has also been declared a Day of National Mourning.

Hoyte will join Sir David Rose, the first Guianese to be appointed Governor General of the then British Guiana and Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham OE SC, Guyana’s first President with executive power and Hoyte’s predecessor at the State and party levels.
Stabroek News understands that the State Funeral will follow the normal format with Hoyte’s body being borne on a gun carriage that would be escorted by a detachment from the Guyana Defence Force Coast Guard. A detachment of soldiers under a senior officer will also be on parade. Hoyte’s body will be borne on the gun carriage from the Square of the Revolution where it will lie in state for public viewing from 9 a.m. - 12 noon. The route of the cortege from the Square of the Revolution to Public Buildings and from there to the Botanic Gardens will be announced later. The ceremony at Public Buildings is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. and should last two hours.

The proceedings Stabroek News understands will include prayers by representatives of the three main religions in Guyana, presentations by representatives of the parliamentary political parties, and one by President Bharrat Jagdeo.

Stabroek News understands that a meeting yesterday between PNCR and government representatives was meant to finalise those details.

The details for the Party’s own farewell to Hoyte, its leader of seventeen years, are being finalised by a committee chaired by party Vice Chairman Vincent Alexander. Some of the items that will form part of the programme include a tribute by PNCR chairman Robert Corbin; a closing statement by PNCR general secretary, Oscar Clarke; performances by First Born, the Yoruba Singers and Jean Roberts; tributes from the Guyana Labour Union, the Guyana Teachers Union and the Union of Agricultural and Allied Workers Union; and burial rites by the Rose Summer Lodge No 1, of which Hoyte’s grandfather was the first Grandmaster.

Alexander said that there are provisions on the programme for floral tributes and for tributes by members of the public during the viewing of the body. The body will be available for viewing between 11 am - 1 pm and from 3 - 4 pm.
From Friday evening until Sunday evening, as happened from last Sunday until Tuesday, party members will be gathering at Congress Place for the traditional wake. Wakes will be held in the other party regions.

Hoyte died suddenly on Sunday at his North Road, Lacytown residence presumably of a heart attack. He had triple by-pass surgery nine years ago in the US and he travelled annually for check-ups. The PNCR is yet to indicate the cause of death as given by Hoyte’s doctors.

Hoyte was President for Guyana for seven years during which he made some sweeping changes to the country’s electoral process paving the way for a return to free and fair elections and introducing in 1989, the Economic Recovery Programme, which, though its immediate effects were harsh, even his critics say laid the foundation for the country’s economic recovery.

Hoyte also took some bold initiatives in changing the PNC’s philosophical outlook, which until 1985 was underpinned by the socialist ideology in order to embrace a market-oriented approach to the economy. In the last few months he also signalled a new direction for the party, dropping his opposition to shared governance and initiated a debate within the party and nationally on its concept of this new form of governance.

With Hoyte’s death, Robert Corbin as the party’s chairman is performing the functions of leader as stipulated by the party’s constitution. He will continue to do so until the next general council of the party - which must be held within sixty days of Hoyte’s death - elects an interim leader to lead the party until the next biennial congress which is not due until 2004. Stabroek News understands that in the period until the next Congress, there is every likelihood that Corbin will be prevailed upon to remain at the helm.