Statement by Ambassador Odeen Ishmael to the OAS Permanent Council on the death of -Desmond Hoyte, Leader of the Opposition of Guyana - 29 January 2003

Posted January 30th. 2003

Mr. Chairman. I thank you for these words of condolence on the passing of Mr. Hugh Desmond Hoyte, the late leader of the opposition and former President of Guyana. I certainly will convey your kind words on behalf of the Permanent Council to his bereaved wife and the leadership of the People's National Congress-Reform (PNC/R), the political party Mr. Hoyte led until his death on December 22 last year.

Without a doubt, Mr. Hoyte played a pivotal role in the political history of Guyana. At his state funeral on December 30, President Bharrat Jagdeo summed up the political qualities of the late opposition leader when he stated that "none dare challenge his patriotism, doubt his resolve, or contest his commitment to serving his country. He was also a fervent Caribbean integrationist, a regional stalwart who has successfully run his course and made his mark."

In the years to come, various analysts will dissect the role of Mr. Hoyte when he strode across the stage of Guyanese history. He can easily be regarded as a leader who presided over a period of political transition. When he was President from 1985 to 1992, he acted to make changes in programs and policies and saw no reason why he should not abandon the traditional means and approaches in dealing with changing times.

In time to come, all Guyanese will examine the historical legacy of the late Mr. Hoyte. In paying tribute to him, President Jagdeo challenged the Guyanese people to:
discard the old and build a political culture that admits competition without spawning enmity; one that allows robust debate without degeneration into hostility; and a political culture that permits the display of magnanimity and grace that must not be confused for weakness nor misconstrued as capitulation.

I am sure that Mr. Hoyte would have agreed with these sentiments.

Thank you very much.

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