Hon. Desmond Hoyte: March 9, 1929 – December 22, 2002

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Hon. Desmond Hoyte

Hugh Desmond Hoyte, President August 1985 - October 1992, was born in Georgetown, Guyana in March 1929. Mr. Hoyte received the B.A. and LL.B. degrees from the University of London. He became a Barrister-at-Law of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple and a Member of the Guyana Bar. He was appointed to Queens Council in 1969, which designation was changed to Senior Counsel in 1970 when Guyana became a Republic.

Mr. Hoyte became the Chairman of the Legal Practitioners Committee, a statutory body which deals with disciplinary matters relating to members of the legal profession; Chairman of the Timber Grants Wages Council; Chairman of the Customs Tariff Appeals Tribunal; and a member of the Elections Commission, among other offices. He was also deeply involved in the Trade Union Movement and was Legal Adviser to the Trades Union Congress and several member Unions.

Mr. Hoyte held many Ministerial posts including those of Home Affairs, Finance, Works and Communications, and Economic Development. As a Minister of Government, he had at various times responsibility for African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) affairs under the Lome Convention and was the ACP spokesman on sugar for 1981 to 1983. His portfolio also included Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Affairs. As a member of its Conference, the Heads of Government of CARICOM charged him with responsibility for promoting freedom of movement within the Community and for co-ordinating Caricom's policy on the environment for the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 and generally. He was also nominated Caricom spokesman on sugar.

In his ministerial capacity, Mr. Hoyte served as Guyana's Governor on the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank and headed many delegations to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Caribbean Committee for Development and Cooperation, the Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting, ACP/EEC Meetings and other regional and international conferences on economic, financial and developmental issues. He was Guyana's chief representative at the deliberations which led to the establishment of the Latin American Economic System (SELA) and was a member of the Latin American Council from 1975 to 1983. He maintained a strong interest in regional and hemispheric affairs and has spoken and written widely on this subject.

Mr. Hoyte had a keen interest in ecological and environmental matters. In this area, he worked closely with the London-based Commonwealth Human Ecology Council and has written and spoken on these issues, both locally and internationally. He was the architect of the Iwokrama International Rainforest Project in Guyana, which he initiated at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1989.

Mr. Hoyte was a Life Senator and a member of the Supreme Council of the Presidency of the International Parliament for Safety and Peace, which had observer status with the United Nations; a member of the Advisory Board of the Women's Federation for World Peace; a member of the international Advisory Board of the Hemispheric Congress of Tourism; and an Honorary member of the Board of The Americas United Foundation. He was also a Patron of the Errol Barrow Memorial Trust Fund (a regional Trust established in honour of the late Barbadian Prime Minister) and a Patron of the Commonwealth Human Ecology Foundation based in London.

In 1984 Mr. Hoyte became First Vice President and Prime Minister, and served as President of the Republic from August 1985 to October 1992. During his Presidency, he initiated far-reaching electoral and economic reforms which strengthened the bases of the democratic culture of Guyana, promoted market-oriented policies and stimulated economic growth.

Hugh Desmond Hoyte died on Sunday, December 22, 2002. His body was laid to rest at the Place of the Seven Ponds in the Botanic Gardens on December 30, 2002.

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