International Reaction to the Death of Mr. Hugh Desmond Hoyte

Prime Minister Lester Bird Pays Tribute to Desmond Hoyte

St. John's, 23rd December - Antigua and Barbuda's Prime Minister the Hon. Lester Bird has paid tribute to Desmond Hoyte, the former President of Guyana and Leader of the Minority Party in Parliament.

Mr. Hoyte died suddenly yesterday morning at his home in Georgetown.

"I worked closely with Desmond Hoyte in the Councils of the Caribbean Community when he was President of Guyana between 1985 and 1992. He always conducted himself with quiet dignity and great responsibility. While his name was not associated with the great initiatives in regional integration, he played an important role during those seven years in helping to solidify the institutions of the Community.

"He was a man of great political courage who preceded Mikhail Gorbachev in the dismantling of the socialist system as a method of governance. He will be rembered for his resolve to open up the Guyana economy, to achieve racial harmony and to strengthen democracy.

"I remember well his participation in a CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in St. Lucia when, along with Janet Jagan who was President of Guyana at the time, we grappled with finding a way to solve the political impasse after the 1997 general election.

The situation in Guyana was very tense. If Desmond Hoyte was not willing to work with us for a solution, the country could have collapsed into anarchy. Fortunately, he put Guyana's interests first.

I mourn his passing, and, on behalf of the people and Government of Antigua and Barbuda, I extend deepest sympathy to his wife, Joyce, to the members and supporters of the Peoples National Congress that he led for 17 years, and to the people of Guyana."


Prime Minister Keith Mitchell has expressed condolences

The text of the letter, reads as follows:

The sudden passing of H. E. Desmond Hoyte, former President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, has filled us with sadness.

On behalf of the Government and people of Grenada, and on my own behalf, I wish to express sincere condolences to the Government and people of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and, also, to the Hoyte family on their loss.

During his political career, Mr. Hoyte’s consistent advocacy for regional integration inspired many persons, past and present, to embrace this noble ideal.

As the people of Guyana reflect upon the passing of Mr. Hoyte, it is our hope that they will continue to pursue the process of national unity in their Country and the overall integration of the Caribbean Community. 
Hon. Dr. Keith Mitchell
Prime Minister of Grenada


Desmond Hoyte mourned across the Commonwealth
Publication date: 23/12/2002

The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Mr Don McKinnon, today sent a letter of
condolence to the President of Guyana, HE Mr Bharrat Jagdeo, on hearing of the
death of former President of Guyana, Mr Desmond Hoyte.
The letter of condolence said:

"I have received with great shock and sadness the news of the death of Mr
Desmond Hoyte, former President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and
Leader of the Opposition People's National Congress/Reform party at his home
yesterday, 22 December, 2002. I write to offer you and the people of Guyana my
heartfelt condolences.

Mr Hoyte will be remembered as a man whose life was devoted to public service
and whose term in office was marked by his determination to return Guyana to
the path of democracy. He will be much remembered and mourned in the Caribbean
region. He will also be remembered in the Commonwealth for offering the
pristine rain forest of Iwokrama to the Commonwealth Heads of Government
Meeting in Kuala Lumpur in 1989 for research, rehabilitation and sustainable
utilisation. The present reputation of Iwokrama as a multidisciplinary
international centre for the study of the environment is testimony to his
considerable foresight and statesmanship.

As the people of Guyana mourn the passing of Mr Hoyte, I pray that the
opportunity will be taken on all sides to resolve solemnly to work with
renewed momentum towards peace, stability and prosperity for all Guyanese. My
thoughts and those of my colleagues in Marlborough House are with you at this
difficult time.

 am writing separately to Mrs Hoyte to extend my sincere condolences to her
and the rest of the bereaved family."

Mr Hoyte was 73 years of age when he died.


Knight says Hoyte will be missed by the Caribbean
Observer Reporter
The Jamaica Observer - Tuesday, December 24, 2002

FOREIGN minister K D Knight yesterday expressed regrets at the passing of Desmond Hoyte, former president of Guyana and president of the People's National Congress and Leader of the Opposition.

"The name Desmond Hoyte is synonymous with post-colonial Guyana. He was unrelenting in his opposition to British colonial rule and equally forthright in his determination to achieve an independent Guyana," Knight said in a statement yesterday.

He added: "Quiet and unassuming, he rose through the ranks of his party to become its leader and the President of Guyana from 1985-1992. During the period of his presidency, he demonstrated in Caricom meetings his desire for more unified and focused approach to matters of interest to the people of the Caribbean. He always believed that a strong regional approach was the best way of leveraging the strengths of the Caribbean."

Hoyte, Knight said, will be severely missed by the Caribbean fraternity.



Assistant Secretary General Luigi Einaudi has written to Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rudy Insanally, expressing the condolences of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Sunday’s passing of Desmond Hoyte, a former president of Guyana, who was leader of the opposition Peoples National Congress/Reform at the time of his death.

Speaking as well on the Secretary General’s behalf, Ambassador Einaudi recalled that Hoyte assumed the mantle of the Presidency of Guyana in 1985 at a critical time in the country’s history, asserting that he would be remembered for his courage in changing the economic and political system.

In the letter to the Guyanese Foreign Affairs Minister, Einaudi went on to note that despite resistance from members of his own political party, Hoyte’s “great courage” led him to champion those changes, which culminated with the historic elections of October 5, 1992.

He said Hoyte had “traveled the same road taken by the giants of Caribbean statehood and political leadership, many of whom are recalled for their contribution to the struggle for the self-determination of the peoples of the Caribbean.

“We join the people of Guyana in mourning the loss of the former President and leader of the Peoples National Congress/Reform, the Hon. Hugh Desmond Hoyte.” 

Organization of American States
December 24, 2002


Seize the grief at Hoyte’s passing to chart course for peace, prosperity
-Ronald Sanders

Stabroeknews - Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Sir Ronald Sanders, Chief Foreign Affairs Representative of Antigua and Barbuda, has expressed sadness on the passing of PNCR Leader Desmond Hoyte and has extended his sympathy to his wife, Joyce.

According to a release from the Antigua and Barbuda High Commission in London, Sanders noted it would be a fitting tribute to the late leader, “if all parties could seize the grief at his passing as an opportunity for charting a course that would take the entire nation forward to the peace and prosperity the people deserve.”

The period of his presidency witnessed changes in the economic and political orthodoxy of the government he inherited, Sanders said. And championing those changes despite resistance from within his own party took great courage, but many of those changes benefited Guyana, Sanders said.

Sanders noted also that it was Hoyte’s administration that began the opening-up of the media and allowed elections that were judged to be free. Commentators on his stewardship of Guyana’s affairs will undoubtedly be critical, but his positive contributions should not be denied, Sanders asserted.

He observed also that Hoyte had many personal tragedies in his life, yet he did not permit them to turn him away from his duties to the State. “If anything, his life was committed to duty to Guyana.

While there was disagreement with his policies in government and opposition, there can be no disagreement that he was a true Guyanese patriot,” Sanders declared. 


Carrington expresses deep sadness at Hoyte’s death
Stabroeknews - Wednesday December 25, 2002

CARICOM Secretary-General Edwin Carrington says it was with great shock and deep sadness that he and the staff of the CARICOM Secretariat learnt of the sudden passing of former President of Guyana and leader of the Opposition People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Hugh Desmond Hoyte.
In a message of condolence to the Government and people of Guyana, Carrington extended sympathies to the Guyanese people and the bereaved family of Hoyte, whom he described as “an eminent and distinguished statesman, who served his country and the Caribbean Community with distinction.”
Carrington said that as a member of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community during Hoyte’s tenure of President (1985-1992), the region was honoured in finding him a committed proponent of the regional integration movement, devoted to advancing the aspirations for a strong and viable community.
Meanwhile, in a message to the PNCR, Carrington noted that Hoyte could not be faulted for his commitment to his country nor to the region as reflected by the Herdmanston Accord and the St Lucia Statement.
“Among his many speeches, we perhaps remember him most for the one delivered in Grenada in July 1989.., In that speech he not only declared himself a committed integrationist, but contended that a `successful integration movement depends upon how people within the Region interact with and regard one another...I do believe that success of our efforts at regional integration and unity will depend upon strong bonds of friendship and mutual respect being forged among our peoples’”.
The message added that Hoyte, a teacher by vocation, had argued continuously that through education we need to imbue our children with a knowledge and respect of our Caribbean heroes: “As we seek to strengthen our integration movement, we must rescue our great men and women from the obscurity which lamentably seems to be their lot, give them their due meed (reward or portion) of honour and hold them up as permanent models to inspire our children with the ambition not only to achieve, but to put their talents at the service of the Caribbean people,” Hoyte is quoted as having said. “Desmond Hoyte certainly put his talents at the service of the Caribbean people and deserves his meed of honour,” Carrington’s message stated.


Hoyte’s death a great loss - Baroness Amos
Stabroeknews - Wednesday December 25, 2002

UK Foreign Office Minister Baroness Valerie Amos has expressed her regret at the death of former President Hugh Desmond Hoyte. She described Hoyte’s death at this time as a “great loss to [Guyana]”. According to Amos “Hoyte’s integrity as a statesman and politician contributed greatly to Guyana’s political and social development over the last forty years. He has bequeathed much to the nation and will long be remembered”. She expressed the hope that all Guyanese continue his work of building a “just, inclusive and prosperous Guyana”.