I had been concerned since October
1992 about his final place in Guyana's history. I had advised him
that it was time to leave politics; he had done his historical part
with great distinction and he could leave contented. In fact, it
would have been better for him to leave in October 1992 or shortly
thereafter. I believed then that he could have left on the basis of
that beautiful piece entitled Desmond Hoyte, statesman that had been
done by Ian McDonald on October 11, 1992 in the Stabroek News.
I told him that if he stayed on he
risked having his legacy seriously tarnished. I recalled what the
Nigerian Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, had written about one of his
country's presidents - that, when the story was told of that period
of Nigerian history, all the president would deserve would be the
dot in the exclamation mark in a footnote! Admittedly, I was
exaggerating to make a case. I wanted to drive home a message. Alas,
he never heeded my concern.
The basis for that concern was the
nature of Guyana's politics and its political discourse. Guyana's
political culture has spawned a politics of deformation and
degeneration, manifested currently in a politics of extreme
partisanship, pettiness, retribution and vindictiveness. Sadly, in
most instances, the political discourse today mirrors this quality
of politics. In such a context, Mr Hoyte could only ultimately be
Then, I got a call asking me to do
this obituary. I immediately asked myself: what is an obituary all
about? I really have never seen it in terms of the dictionary
definition as a notice of death. Rather, I see it as the celebration
of a life lived.
It was then that the following words
of Martin Carter in the poem Death of a Comrade also came to mind:
For eighteen months between April
1991 and October 1992, I was privileged to be closely, centrally and
intimately involved in the grand project of political and economic
transformation that President Hoyte had launched. Both then and in
the subsequent years, I spent numerous hours alone with him and
clearly saw his aspirations for Guyana and its people, as well as
some of the personal driving forces that influenced the way he went
about the awesome challenge of national regeneration.
He was all too human. That is not
meant as a criticism because ultimately in real life, we are all
imperfect human beings, prone to make mistakes. But I want to argue
that, in the final reckoning, his imperfections, his inadequacies,
his human frailties wither away in face of his larger selfless
contribution to national purpose and regeneration that marked his
tenure as President.
This was an incorruptible man. This
was a man who sought neither honours nor monuments. This was a man
for whom the material luxuries of life held no enticements. This was
a moral and honourable man. This was a simple man, a man of culture
and taste. And this was a man driven by the highest ideals of
national service and sacrifice.
He sought to balance the call to
national service with his deep and passionate commitment to family.
As we all know, tragically he paid the heaviest price of all between
these two transcending powerful forces.
It was not easy to form intense
personal relations with Mr Hoyte. He himself admitted that he was
instinctively a private and introspective person. And that is why my
many intimate private conversations with him have been and will
continue to be taboo. I will honour him by fully respecting his
He had a temper - an explosive temper
at that. While there was general agreement that over the years he
was less and less prone to eruptions of anger, it still happened on
occasion. These could be particularly ugly moments and many public
officers and his political colleagues felt the whiplash of his
tongue in open forum to their utter chagrin and embarrassment.
There was another unflattering side
to him. There were those who crossed him so terribly that they
incurred his animosity for good and in such instances he could be
He was intolerant of, and impatient
with poor performance, incompetence and inefficiency. He demanded
the highest standards of performance.
He insisted that the work environment
should be aesthetically pleasant. He was observant of the smallest
unpleasing detail and he made sure that you were aware of it.
While I was his Head of the
Presidential Secretariat, I found our post-work Saturday encounters
especially good. This was when we avoided work, when we did not talk
shop, when we spoke on personal and other matters. It was when he
would let down his guard a bit and when I got somewhat of a glimpse
into his carefully guarded persona. It was when a level of touching
humanity was revealed.
Mr Hoyte was a lover of sport, music
and literature. He was a well-read man, his literary tastes roving
far and wide. I pride myself on being a connoisseur of world
literature, but he opened many new literary vistas to me.
Every week he wanted to know what new
book I had read and while we didn't have the time for any extended
literary discussions, on occasion we did indulge. It was he who
pointed me to Japanese literature when he introduced Murasaki
Shibuki's classic The Tale of Genji.
It is thus no accident that one of
his lasting legacies to Guyana and Caribbean artistic creativity is
the annual Guyana Prize for Literature which he was instrumental in
introducing in 1987. I believe that the words of the American
President, John Kennedy, aptly sum up the role of the arts in Mr
Hoyte's case: "When power leads men towards arrogance, poetry
reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of
man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of
his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art
establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone
of our judgment."
He was a master of the English
language and insisted on precision, correctness and style of usage.
At a time when we can only lament the poverty of the written and
spoken word at all levels of Guyanese society, his oratorical
skills, while not of the spell-binding kind, while not of the uplift
of a Burnham, were of top quality.
When Mr Hoyte offered me the post of
Head of the Presidential Secretariat (HPS) in early 1991, he clearly
stated the qualities he wanted in his HPS. He wanted the best
professional public officer to run his office, to lead the public
service reform programme that had just started and to set the
highest and most impeccable standards of technical competence and
efficiency for the new public administration that we were embarking
A few weeks into my stewardship as
HPS, as we got to know each other better and became more comfortable
with each other, he told me the following story which was to my mind
so instructive of the fundamental new departures he envisaged for
the public service. He had consulted with several of his colleagues
at cabinet and party levels to get their views on me as a suitable
candidate for this most demanding of jobs. Many of them strongly
opposed my appointment on the grounds that I was no friend of the
PNC, in other words, that my politics were questionable.
The fact that he nonetheless went
ahead and made the offer speaks volumes about where he stood on this
matter. In fact, as I have had occasion to state before, when he
offered me the job, he laid on me a fundamental stricture in terms
of my functions. He told me unambiguously that I had no political
role, that I should not be politically influenced in the performance
of my duties.
Yet we still hear the nonsense about
the existence of party paramountcy in the Hoyte era. This is part of
the degenerative politics of the times - the dishonesty and myths of
political discourse. Party paramountcy, as associated with the PNC,
was dead by the time I became HPS. President Hoyte had killed it.
The person occupying the position of
HPS has to enjoy the fullest and unqualified confidence of the
President. It is a position of tremendous influence - and a position
of power for anyone driven by power urges. All he wanted was the
best professional officer. Mr Hoyte did not care about your politics
once you were prepared to serve professionally in fulfilment of the
larger national purpose.
But, this outlook went beyond me.
Over that period, I would hear repeated criticisms of the so-called
three Doctors - Kenneth King, Cedric Grant and myself - who were
said to be the key influences around him. We in fact represented his
earnest search for the best minds to help in his programme of
I know he courted many more highly
qualified Guyanese for service, but alas, and understandably, so
many people worried about Guyana's politics. His doors were readily
open to young and bright people.
This leads me to consider Mr Hoyte,
the public man. For more than three decades, he was actively and
centrally involved in Guyana's politics. I do not intend to spend
time reviewing his public service credentials and record. I am sure
others will do so.
He was a politician, I believe, not
by choice, but by the call to duty imposed on him by President
Burnham. But once he accepted that call, he gave it his all,
devoting his energies, his talent, his time and ultimately his life
in service to Guyana because I know that he would have been alive
today hadn't he felt compelled to remain at the helm of his party at
this dangerous historical moment.
Mr Hoyte was not a natural or normal
politician as were the other two pre-eminent leaders of
post-colonial Guyana, Forbes Burnham and Cheddi Jagan. He wasn't a
politician, in Lamming's words "with a taste for crowds" -
the politician's natural habitat. He couldn't work a crowd; he
looked awkward kissing the kids; he was too aloof and unapproachable
to elicit the passionate allegiance of the masses. There was always
more of an intellectual force and quality to his public speeches,
appealing more to reason and strength of argument, as against the
emotional inducements of the charismatic or messianic political
But, paradoxically, this was no
weakness or limitation. In fact, I am profoundly convinced that he
was the man for our season, for Guyana's season; that he was ideally
suited for the imperative of societal renewal.
I do not believe that any of the
available leaders then or now had it in them to do what he did. I do
not believe that any of them had the qualities of vision, boldness,
single-mindedness of purpose, steadfastness and the will to personal
political sacrifice that he displayed and that are so necessary to
the task of national regeneration.
It was these qualities that led then
Prime Minister John Major of Great Britain to praise him in a letter
of June 20, 1991, in these words: "You have shown great resolve
in implementing the programme (ERP) under difficult
It is clear that Mr Hoyte assumed the
presidency in 1985 with the firm conviction of the necessity for
wide-ranging change. The dramatic and encompassing scale of what he
embarked on is effectively captured in McDonald's piece Sharing the
future in the Stabroek News of October 5, 1993: "The new
policies signalled the end of paramountcy, the return of pluralism
of opinion, windows of opportunity for private enterprise, the
easing of victimization, a return to international respectability,
the start of economic recovery and an intention to reinstitute
discipline and accountability in public affairs and moral standards
in private behaviour. The new course also opened the way at last to
I know from my numerous conversations
with him that that was what drove him above all. He committed to it;
he initiated it and he marvellously sustained it without deviation
for the duration of his tenure as President. And that was truly
amazing for various reasons.
The pitfalls and setbacks are many
and in most cases unexpected; the pressures are intense and come
from so many directions, both internal and external; the opponents
are legion; the praise, if any, is faint and generally silent.
Support is rare. But what you can be assured of is that at minimum
your party will be hardly in the vanguard of public endorsement and
more likely will do everything in its power to subvert your efforts.
While he was mindful of the serious
internal opposition within his party to his new policies, he fought
it off and to Guyana's benefit he continually deepened and expanded
the scope of national renewal.
I have argued elsewhere that Mr Hoyte
was a national politician. In the normal course of things, like all
of us individually, politicians have to decide what to do with the
hand that the fates have dealt them. In Mr Hoyte's case, he was
dealt the hand of a society deeply polarized on the basis of race,
an economy in tatters and protracted crisis and a severely aberrant
And it is here that Mr Hoyte showed
his transcendent national purpose. From both the political and
economic angles, by virtue of the nature of the structural features
of Guyana's political economy, the twin reform process carried to
its logical conclusion could only have resulted in the political
dispossession of the PNC's racial core base and in a worsening of
its economic fate.
At the highest level of national
purpose and achievement, Mr Hoyte's enduring legacy will thus be
associated with his courageous enterprise of democratic and economic
transformation. And for those who wanted a mea culpa from the PNC
with regard to the nation's affairs, Mr Hoyte was big enough to give
He did so in various ways for all
those who wished to hear and see. What could be clearer than these
words in his July 18, 1991, address on Freedom, Democracy and
Development in Guyana: "Inevitably, we have made mistakes...
What is most important, however, is that during this period of time,
we have learnt from our experiences, and we have shown that we have
the intelligence and the will to correct our mistakes and chart new
and more appropriate courses."
His legacy is also etched in other
significant ways, including the Guyana Prize for Literature. There
is one other area that I feel stands out in this regard. This is
His concern for environmental
sustainability is seen in his association with the Commonwealth
Human Ecology Council and the role he played as CARICOM spokesperson
on the environment in the early 1990s. But it was his initiative on
Guyana's behalf at the 1989 Commonwealth Summit in Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia, to set aside a significant portion of the country's
rainforest for an experiment in sustainable tropical forestry
management and biodiversity conservation that led to the Iwokrama
International Research Project that attracts a place of historical
recognition in international environmental councils.
Unlike Forbes Burnham, Mr Hoyte did
not pay that much attention to diplomacy. He did not revel in
diplomacy nor did he have a hands-on approach to its conduct as
Burnham did. This is not the same as saying that he neglected
Guyana's diplomacy. That would be far from the truth.
Guyana's diplomacy remained of the
highest calibre during his administration. In the councils of the
world, in our bilateral enterprises, in our regional and Third World
diplomacy, Guyana remained active, influential and highly respected.
And, above all, Guyana's diplomacy continued in the same vein as
during the Burnham era to defend and protect our national
sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Because he was temperamentally a
'loner' the burden was doubly compounded for Mr Hoyte. As I know
from my conversations with him, he was always sensitive to the pain
and sacrifices that the reform process entailed for the Guyanese
people and his supporters, but he was convinced that it was
necessary. He simply steeled himself against the harsh criticisms
that he had to endure.
This was a perspective of the
presidency that perfectly understood the loneliness and
responsibility of the office, but at the same time saw the necessity
for courageousness and steadfastness of policy and action. He
rejected pandering to the plaudits of the crowd. He understood
clearly that ultimately those plaudits are ephemeral and could just
as rapidly dissipate in times of stress and discontent.
He was a man of prodigious physical
energy. For eighteen months, I fought to keep up with his unending
schedule of formal meetings, appointments with groups and
individuals - and he saw virtually everyone who requested an
appointment - our daily one-on-one meetings, his travel schedule
throughout the length and breadth of Guyana, drafting speeches for
his numerous public appearances, his inevitable and unavoidable
social schedule (the area where I cheated a bit), his numerous
overseas travels - and bear in mind I had my own professional
schedule to do as HPS. It was non-stop activity and action, constant
As I observed him then on a daily
basis, I became increasingly concerned about his physical health. I
believed that for him, health was never uppermost in his mind. I
always incurred his grumblings when I would use the occasion of his
overseas visits to arrange medical check-ups. I never consulted him
on this because I knew he would say an emphatic "no."
I courted his displeasure some time
in late 1991 or early 1992 (as I write this, my records are not
immediately at hand) when I conspired with Mrs Hoyte to arrange for
him to go off on leave for some much-needed and well-earned rest and
recreation. I wanted him to go abroad and I wanted him to spend at
least two weeks.
In face of his evident displeasure, I
had to compromise. He agreed to go off for one week, but not outside
Guyana. He spent those days in the interior with Mrs Hoyte. I never
contacted him once and I am sure that it was Mrs Hoyte who ensured
he never contacted me once.
I believe that the failure of his
successors to match his strong commitment to a national-oriented
purpose was a source of profound disappointment to Mr Hoyte. The
descent once again into the politics of partisanship and retribution
over the past decade has been a betrayal of his national vision and
the political sacrifices he incurred on behalf of national
It is to this last period of his
national service that I would now like to turn. As I stated earlier,
in my view this was a major mistake on Mr Hoyte's part. He should
have withdrawn from national politics in my mind ideally in October
1992, but at least in 1995. The degenerative politics of this period
could only have diminished him, as far as I could see. It is not a
politics of transcending national essence; it is not demanding of
high ideals, of elevating ethical standards and of selfless
commitment to service.
For this non-violent man to be
accused of encouraging his supporters to engage in acts of violent
destruction, and for this race-blind man to be accused of
instigating racial conflict had to be the most hurtful things for
him. I vividly recall being with him in his office at Sophia one day
after the 1997 elections when a major PNC-led demonstration was
taking place and he got news that East Indians were being attacked
in Georgetown. And I saw the collapse of his body and the pain on
his face. That was not what he stood for nor what he was about.
For this man who could in no way be
seen to be power-driven to be accused of staying on too long was
particularly galling. Why did he court such indignities? I believe
in his own way he rationalized it on the grounds of national
service, that Guyana and his party and his supporters needed him. I
suspect, however, that deeper hurts and disappointments impelled him
in those last years. He had to be hurt by the public vilification to
which he was constantly exposed, to the realization that his
political sacrifice was all for naught, the sense that those
sacrifices were placing his supporters in increasing jeopardy and
One of my greatest disappointments in
my relationship with Mr Hoyte had to do with something that I
desperately wanted him to do. I said to him that he had a wonderful
story to tell and I implored him on many occasions to tell that
story. I offered to help him in such a project. But he always found
a reason not to do it - and none of those reasons were ever
convincing to me. I believed that it was in the nature of the man
himself, that in his view he had more transcending projects of great
national purpose and consequence. I never agreed with him then and I
still do not agree with him now.
But I take comfort in the certain
knowledge that, notwithstanding the naysayers and detractors, it is
largely because of Mr Hoyte that Guyana has not descended into the
abyss of destructive ethnic conflict. We can only hope that, as the
nation ponders on and mourns his passing, the elevating national
purpose that he personified in life will inspire a new politics.
My final tribute to Mr Hoyte is
encapsulated in the words of the Wisdom of Solomon:
For though they be punished in the
sight of men, yet is their hope full of immortality.
When Desmond Hoyte acceded to the
presidency on August 5, 1985, he had made a remarkable journey from
humble origins to the dignity of the highest position in the land.
This consummation of his career was a direct result of hard work,
discipline, commitment, vision and stamina. Born on March 9, 1929,
he grew up in Charlotte Street, Georgetown, the son of George
Alphonso and Gladys Maria Hoyte. As he related to me on several
occasions he grew up in a home in which the values of decency,
courtesy, financial prudence and tidiness were inculcated. This was
to have a lasting impact on the development of his personality. To
the very end he was likely to lose his temper when confronted by
sloppy work, untidiness and irregular habits. Desmond Hoyte brought
the same sense of perfection to his writing and his work. Any
document he was in the process of crafting could go through several
drafts and occupy many hours before its completion. I have watched
him put his papers, documents and files in good order before
starting the working day.
The burning desire to excel ensured
his excellence as a student. Attending St Barnabas School and
Progressive High School, he studied hard and generally did work of
the highest quality. By 1950, even though a member of the Civil
Service he was awarded a BA external degree. The teaching profession
beckoned. Desmond Hoyte taught at McAllister's Day High School and
the Grenada Boy's Secondary School. By 1960, he was the proud holder
of the BA and LLB degrees and returned to Guyana to serve. Desmond
Hoyte has told me that there was no doubt in his mind that an
education was the best instrument for service. Joining the firm of
Clark & Martin, he defended several of the supporters of the PNC
after the disturbances of the '60s. He advised the Guyana Labour
Union (GLU) and the Clerical & Commercial Workers Union (CCWU).
More importantly, he played a leading role in the Elections Petition
which the PNC had brought against the then PPP administration in
1961. His performance won the admiration of the then PNC General
Secretary, Dr Ptolemy Reid. Desmond Hoyte was involved in politics
and Trade Unionism from the very inception.
His entry into formal political life
is as amusing as it is interesting. Burnham, then a lawyer with
Clark & Martin, had tried to inveigle him into taking an
official position within the PNC. Mr Hoyte indicated that he was
more interested in pursuing his career in the law. But Forbes
Burnham was not a man to be denied. He waited patiently. And in 1969
when he was on his way to a Common-wealth Heads of Government
Meeting and Sonny Ramphal, who was then Minister of Foreign Affairs
and Attorney- General, was out of the country, Forbes Burnham asked
Hoyte to accompany him out to the airport. As Burnham was about to
leave, he indicated to Desmond Hoyte that he wanted to speak to him.
On reaching where Burnham was, Hoyte was given a bundle of files,
all of which pertained to the work of the Attorney-General Chambers
and the Foreign Ministry. Mr Hoyte told me this story with great
gusto one Sunday afternoon, laughing so hard in the process, his
head tilted back, that I was afraid that he might hurt himself. Then
he sat up and was serious again.
Mr Hoyte has told me that his first
position in the Government was to act as Minister of Foreign Affairs
and Attorney-General. Subsequently, he was appointed Minister of
Works & Communication, Home Affairs, Finance, and Economic
Development. Desmond Hoyte proved to be an efficient minister, much
admired by friend and foe alike. Ill health or the greatest volume
of work did not challenge his stamina. Desmond Hoyte therefore stood
out in the Burnham cabinet as the minister who took his
Desmond Hoyte wanted to see young
people fulfil their ambitions and the old folks live a fruitful
existence, especially after they had given service to the state. A
detail should not escape us here. In 1978, when for some reason Mr
Burnham could not persuade the then Minister of Finance, in grave
economic circumstances, to read the Budget he turned to Desmond
Hoyte. Pushing himself to unacceptable limits, as Mrs Hoyte was
later to relate, Hoyte conceived and crafted a Budget in the
shortest possible time and won Mr Burnham's respect and gratitude.
As Hoyte moved up the ministerial ladder he acquired considerable
experience on the International Financial Institutions and the
politics of the Caribbean Region, having served as Guyana's
representative on the Inter-American Bank (IDB) and spokesperson on
sugar for the Asia Caribbean & Pacific (ACP). Desmond Hoyte was
well prepared for the presidency. Moreover, he came to the office
with a vision. Desmond Hoyte wanted to see Guyana prosper and its
citizens happy. It is an abiding vision.
Desmond Hoyte was a complex man. He
was at different times comradely, stubborn, sensitive, prudent, and
impatient - but always disciplined. Different people therefore saw
these aspects of his character. One particular feature dominated his
being: he was a man of remarkable courage and tenacity. After he
became Leader of the Party, at the next General Council of the PNC
he took on the old system frontally. He told his audience that under
his presidency, there would be no "sacred cows." Any
policy or procedure that stood in the way of the development of the
country would be abolished. There would also be no "soul
brothering" in the field of foreign policy. Policy, domestic or
foreign, would be based on Guyana's national interest. For that time
this was heady stuff.
At the end of the General Council I
asked for an appointment to see him. I hastened to his residence on
North road. Mr Hoyte was in an armchair, relaxing after a hard day.
I expressed my concern about what he had said. Desmond Hoyte merely
responded: "I mean everything I said." As is well known,
he proceeded to dismantle an economic system that had become
inhibitive of economic growth. It was the beginning of the process
that led to the ERP and the holding of free and fair elections and
the restoration of Guyana within the comity of democratic nations.
To achieve this, he drove himself mercilessly, outflanking his
enemies, and I wondered then as I do now, if these sustained labours,
the toll of three election campaigns, and the complex task of
holding a party together in opposition, were not simply too much for
one man. One day the stout heart would fail. It did on December 22,
Desmond Hoyte's political and
economic philosophy was not forged overnight. It resulted from a
long process of thinking and reading about the relative merits of
the liberal democratic system and the socialist one. There was no
doubt that he might have thought at one time that the socialist
route was the road to salvation. But certainly as I got to know him
better in the early '80s, it was clear that he had reservations
about what socialism could achieve. I remember distinctly on one
occasion that he had in his hands the book by Rudolph Bahro The
Alternative to Socialism in Eastern Europe. I pointed out to him
that the book had concluded that socialism would fail. He chuckled
and said: "I know."
And let me say here for the record
that it tends to be forgotten that before Desmond Hoyte took his
radical measures against the existing socialist system, he had had a
long discussion in 1983 at the MMA with the then President Burnham
during a Heads of Mission Conference at which no one else was
present. It was a time when even President Burnham was forced to do
major rethinking and had mandated the then Minister of Finance Carl
Greenidge, to mend fences with the IMF. President Burnham had
pointedly interrupted the proceedings of the Heads of Mission
Conference so that he could speak to Desmond Hoyte in private. It is
generally believed that at that meeting President Burnham and
Desmond Hoyte discussed alternatives for Guyana. Later during our
rather long friendship, I asked him what was said at that meeting
but could get nothing out of him. This was so typical of the man;
reticence was often an effective armour. Now both men have taken
that particular secret to their graves.
The period after Desmond Hoyte
demitted the presidency was a difficult one. He had taken the
decision to separate the party from the state and as he settled into
the position of opposition leader, the full consequences dawned on
him. One day sitting with him in his office, when he was not in the
best frame of mind or mood, in 1994, he told me that holding the
party together was the most challenging task he had undertaken.
Desmond Hoyte wanted the PNC to be a self-sufficient and
self-sustaining force, and as Opposition Leader, he felt strongly
about representing his supporters effectively.
I know from talking to Desmond Hoyte
that he had absolutely no fear of death. He was quite stoical. We
often discussed the subject, especially when a close colleague had
gone to the shades. When Kester Alves died in June of this year,
Desmond Hoyte, who had known him for a long period of time and had
been a colleague of his, had remarked on the fact that death could
be unexpected and sudden. He said to me: "If you had asked me
who among us would suffer from a heart attack, Kester would have
been the last person I would have thought of." This stoicism
made him almost immune to threats against his life. In 1992, he
brushed off the tearful entreaties of his wife and the anxieties of
the security services to attend a 'Thank You' meeting at the Well in
East La Penitence. The talk at the time was that he would be
assassinated at that meeting. I am therefore sure that he met death
Sunday last with typical fortitude and resignation.
There was also courage of another
kind. Once you had earned Desmond Hoyte's trust, he would never let
you down and would even take you into his confidence about matters
which were close to his heart. And once that trust was established
he showed his respect for friendship in numerous ways. He would
always bring back a CD or a book that I had mentioned during a
previous conversation that I had sometimes already forgotten. And
then one day as I rose to leave his home after a long talk, he
placed his right hand on my shoulder and told me to take good care
of myself. And so in spite of the faults he had as any human being
would, I respond to the memory of his death with thoughts which are
rich, abiding and made tender with myriad acts of kindness.
Taken in the round, Desmond Hoyte was a sophisticated politician, a cultivated and ascetic man, whose activities in the political and personal domain were governed by deeply held principles. He was a devoted husband who was ever grateful for the healing and stable environment provided by his wife. Joyce Noreen Hoyte was a tower of strength behind her husband. She once gave me the clue as to how he survived so many ups and downs in his life, so many difficulties and challenges. I asker her once how he coped with these situations. Her response was revealing. Mrs Hoyte said that whatever mood of life her husband was in, whatever challenges and problems were exercising his mind, "he always slept like a baby."