PRESS RELEASE STATEMENT BY THE PEOPLE’S NATIONAL CONGRESS REFORM ON THE OCCASION OF THE BIRTH ANNIVERSARY OF MR. HUGH DESMOND HOYTE, SC, FORMER LEADER OF THE PARTY AND PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC People’s National Congress Reform Congress Place, Soph




Today is the Birth Anniversary of the second Leader of the People’s National Congress, now People’s National Congress Reform, since its establishment some 48 years ago. Had he been alive today Mr. Hoyte would have been celebrating his 76th birthday. For this reason the occasion is tinged with sadness but presents an opportunity for reflection on his achievements as President of Guyana, as a Leader of the PNCR and as a Statesman.

Mr. Hugh Desmond Hoyte is best remembered as a man steeped in humane values, which were nourished by a variety of interests. Reading, the love of music and a passion for an understanding of the human condition fed the tree of his life. His was by no means a selfish life. On the contrary his was a life in the service of his family, his Party and his country. Mr. Hoyte’s life is demonstrative of the high value that he placed on improving the lives of his fellow citizens. Politics, indeed occupied a central position in his life on this earth. But not merely politics but the non-racial brand of politics.

As the late Dr Tyrone Ferguson stated in the inaugural Desmond Hoyte Memorial Lecture:

“He was tremendously sensitive to the consequences of our race-based politics. He thus practiced a race-blind politics. Among some of his supporters he was unflatteringly known as “Desmond Persaud”. His profound ideological approach to a non-ethnic or non-racial governance is powerfully captured in his own words in an address he gave entitled, Defining the Future in 1997: ‘Guyana belongs to all of us who are citizens. To us of the People’s National Congress, therefore, all the people of this country are equally important. To us, our fellow citizens are Guyanese, first and last, whatever their ethnic, cultural or religious background …..In the national scheme of things, our diversity is merely an incidental matter which should be subsumed in our Guyaneseness. As we seek to strengthen our society and secure the future of our nation, we will have the best chance of success if we do it together as one people – and, that is, a Guyanese people. To us in the People’s National Congress, this principle is axiomatic and must overarch all of our thinking, our policies, programmes and our practices”.

As Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform, a position to which he was elected after the unexpected demise of the Founder Leader, Mr. L. F. S. Burnham, he sought to make the Party responsive, not only to the changing dynamics of the world situation, but also to the new developments within Guyana itself. This was a period during which external as well as internal developments demanded that the Party re-position itself to take on the challenges of the new dispensation of globalization and liberalization.

It was in this context that Mr Hoyte reformed the Party and gave greater emphasis and focus to market oriented policies. It was also in this context that, in conjunction with his Party, he crafted the Economic Recovery Programme (ERP), which was the impetus for sustained economic development between 1989 and 1997. Indeed, during the period 1989 and 1992 Guyanese witnessed expanded investments, a surge in employment, and, most importantly, the restoration of a sense of hope and faith in the future.

The PNCR has always been inspired by the legacy of its Leaders who have been outstanding in their contributions towards guiding the Party at different points in its history. Mr. Burnham took us into Independence and Republican Status and imbued the Party and the Nation with a sense of confidence, which rested on the twin pillars of national cohesion and self sufficiency. Basing himself on this legacy, Mr. Hoyte brought about a major economic transformation in Guyana which benefited all Guyanese regardless of race, ethnicity or class.

The People’s National Congress Reform is deeply grateful for the dedicated service that Mr. Hoyte gave to the Party and the Nation and wishes to acknowledge the lasting contribution he has made to the development of the Party and the country. The Party is both thankful for and blessed by his memory.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown
March 8, 2005