Desmond Hoyte

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Desmond Hoyte
Desmond Hoyte.jpg
Hoyte in 1997
3rd President of Guyana
In office
6 August 1985 – 9 October 1992
Prime MinisterHamilton Green
Vice PresidentHamilton Green
Mohamed Shahabuddeen
Ranji Chandisingh
Viola Burnham
Preceded byForbes Burnham
Succeeded byCheddi Jagan
3rd Prime Minister and First Vice President of Guyana
In office
16 August 1984 – 6 August 1985
PresidentForbes Burnham
Preceded byPtolemy Reid
Succeeded byHamilton Green
Personal details
Born(1929-03-09)9 March 1929
Georgetown, British Guiana
Died22 December 2002(2002-12-22) (aged 73)
Georgetown, Guyana
Resting placethe Botanical Gardens
Political partyPeople's National Congress
SpouseJoyce Hoyte

Hugh Desmond Hoyte (9 March 1929 – 22 December 2002) was a Guyanese politician who served as Prime Minister of Guyana from 1984 to 1985 and President of Guyana from 1985 until 1992.

Personal Life and Education[edit]

Hoyte was born on 9 March 1929[1] in Georgetown, which was the capital of British Guiana (as it was then called). He was educated at St Barnabas Anglican School and Progressive High School, then entered public service as a teacher in Guyana and Grenada. While he was working, Hoyte earned an external B.A. from the University of London in 1950. In 1959, he went to the UK to pass his bar exams at the Middle Temple and earn an LL.B.[1] [2] In 1960 he set up private practice and became one of the leaders of the Guyana Bar Association.[3] He married Joyce De Freitas in 1965.[4]


He entered Parliament as a member of the People's National Congress in 1968 and soon began serving in the cabinet. He was Home Affairs Minister from 1969 to 1970, Finance Minister from 1970 to 1972,[5] Works and Communications Minister from 1972 to 1974, and Economic Development Minister in 1974 to 1980. Hoyte concentrated on economic affairs during his political career[citation needed].

Following the December 1980 election he became one of five vice-presidents, with responsibility for economic planning, finance, and regional development.[6]

Hoyte suffered a personal tragedy in 1985 when his two daughters Amanda and Maxine died in a car crash while traveling on April 30 to hear him deliver the May Day address in the town of Linden. His sister-in-law and his driver also died; his wife Joyce was the lone survivor.[7]


Shortly before Burnham's death, he and other members of the PNC had embarked on talks with the opposition People's Progressive Party attempting to achieve a national unity formula to deal with the country's problems[citation needed]. Hoyte announced his willingness to continue the dialogue, but also announced that a general election would be held on 9 December. Responding to criticisms of previous elections as fraudulent, he agreed to certain reforms.[8]

In July 1987, he hosted the President of the African National Congress, Oliver Tambo, for a four-day visit, highlighting the close links Guyana maintained with the liberation struggle in Southern Africa.[9]

Hoyte was also Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1990 until 1992.


The October 1992 election was won by the People's Progressive Party, led by Cheddi Jagan; Hoyte conceded defeat.[10] Hoyte remained leader of the PNC until his death,[11] and also Minority Leader and Leader of the Opposition.[12]

He also was the PNC candidate in the presidential elections of 1996 and 2001. He received second place both times (40.6% in 1996 and 41.7% in 2001). The PNC never regained the power that it had under the Burnham administration and his own administration. He died in Georgetown, Guyana on 22 December 2002, aged 73. His tomb is at the Botanical Gardens.[13]


  1. ^ a b Fraser, Peter D. (23 December 2002). "Obituary: Desmond Hoyte". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 10 September 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  2. ^ Levy, Owen Lancelot; Jacobs, Hedley Powell (1971). "Guyana". Personalities Caribbean 1971–1972. Kingston, Jamaica: Personalities Ltd. p. 288.
  3. ^ Keith A. P. Sandiford, A Black Studies Primer: Heroes and Heroines of the African Diaspora, Hansib Publications, 2008, p. 214.
  4. ^ "Former First Lady gets moving send off". Kaieteur News. 20 February 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  5. ^ Bidwell, Robin (24 October 2018). Guide to Government Ministers: The British Empire and Successor States 1900–1972. Routledge. ISBN 9781317792260 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ Historical information events and dates on the Parliament of Guyana from 1718 to 2006 Parliament of Guyana[full citation needed]
  7. ^ "Mrs. Joyce Hoyte, a gracious lady". Guyana Chronicle. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  8. ^ Treaster, Joseph B. (9 December 1985). "FRAUD IS TOP ISSUE AS GUYANA VOTES (Published 1985)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 3 March 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ David A. Granger. "Forbes Burnham and the Liberation of Southern Africa" (PDF). Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  10. ^ "Cheddi Jagan Elected As Guyana's President", The New York Times, 8 October 1992.
  11. ^ Hoyte, Desmond (24 December 2002). "Obituary Desmond Hoyte". The Independent. Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  12. ^ Historical information events and dates on the Parliament of Guyana from 1718 to 2009 Parliament of Guyana[full citation needed]
  13. ^ "Former President Desmond Hoyte remembered as patriot". News Room Guyana. 22 December 2019. the 17th death anniversary of the late former President Hugh Desmond Hoyte at the Mausoleum, Place of Heroes in the Botanical Gardens....President David Granger lays a floral tribute on the tomb of the late President Hugh Desmond Hoyte.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Prime Minister of Guyana
Succeeded by
Preceded by Leader of the People's National Congress
Succeeded by