PRESS RELEASE MARCH 9, 2006 IS THE 77TH BIRTH ANNIVERSARY OF HUGH DESMOND HOYTE. People's National Congress Reform Congress Place, Sophia, Georgetown, Guyana Wednesday, March 08, 2006

On the occasion of his birth anniversary, the PNCR salutes its late Leader and former President of Guyana, Mr. Hugh Desmond Hoyte, for his sterling contribution to the development of his Party, the political culture of his country and his unrivalled achievements in respect of the national economy.

Had he been alive on March 9, 2006, Mr. Hugh Desmond Hoyte would have been 77 years of age. Mr. Hoyte was born on March 9, 1929 and died on December 22, 2002. In his 73 years he accomplished much in the legal profession, in politics and as President of Guyana and Leader of the PNCR. It is necessary therefore to trace the main events of his life.

After studying law in Britain, Mr. Hoyte returned home in the early 60s and joined the firm of Clarke and Martin. This was a turbulent time in Guyana’s history characterized by the 80 day strike of 1962. Many PNC supporters were arrested at this period and Mr. Hoyte had the responsibility of defending them. Before joined the Government Service, he held many public offices such as Chairman of the Customs Tariff Appeals Tribunal and Chairman of the Legal Practitioners’ Committee.

But his relatively quiet existence as a lawyer was soon to come to an end. In 1969, he was persuaded by Mr. Burnham to join his cabinet as Minister of Home Affairs. After this initial Ministerial appointment, he held a succession of important posts, such as Minister of Finance, Works and Communications and Economic Development. In 1984, he became first Vice-President and Prime Minister. With the death of Mr. Burnham on August 6, 1985, he became President, a position he held until October 1992.

During his Ministerial career he had various responsibilities embracing those of Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) under the LOME Convention and was ACP spokesman for sugar. He also oversaw Caribbean Community affairs and was task with responsibility of promoting freedom of movement within the community and coordinating Caricom’s policy on the environment for the Earth Summit in 1992. He was also Caricom’s spokesman on sugar.

Mr. Hoyte’s vast Ministerial experience and his understanding of the major changes in the global environment, enabled him to effect far reaching changes in Guyana’s economic and foreign policy. By the time he became President, the Berlin Wall had fallen and the modern period of globalization was well on its way. Mr. Hoyte made the required policy adjustments. First of all, he changed Guyana’s economic parameters completely reorienting it to market base one. Liberalising the economy, he stimulated production in the agricultural, mining and industrial sectors. Working within the framework of an economic recovery programme, which predated the agreement with the IMF in 1989, Mr. Hoyte was able to attract major investment for Guyana. In 1991, the Inter-American Development Bank would conclude that “Guyana is clearly on the road to recovery.” But Mr. Hoyte did not see economic liberation as separate from political democracy. He it was who sought to create a democratic environment and establish institutions which would ensure that Guyana realize its long deferred potential as a prosperous country.

As President, Mr. Hoyte also caused the legislation to be passed to improve the lives of women, defeat the scourge of drugs, improve law enforcement and generally enhance the tone and quality of the lives of Guyanese. He also maintained a studious interest in ecological matters and became the architect of the Iwokrama Rainforest Conservation Program (IRCP) which he initiated at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1989. A student of history and literature, Mr. Hoyte initiated the Guyana Prize which is still awarded to the writers of the best works of fiction or poetry.

People's National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana
Wednesday, March 08, 2006