|Leadership Role Models
Mr. Hoyte Was An Embodiment Of Duty To His Country And People
By Faith A. Harding Ed.D
Hugh Desmond Hoyte was one of the most spotless and dignified characters
of Guyana and when the history of this country is written he will also be
acknowledged as one of the sincerest patriots of the nation. The defining
characterization of his life was an embodiment of love and duty to his
country and people. With him, it was always honour and duty to nation before
self. I searched deep into his personality to discern how someone could be
so selfless and honourable.
As I searched I found a man who operated at an extraordinary high level
of consciousness. I believe that it is the gravity and nobility of his
character, his perceptiveness and his mental vigour that commended him to
his colleagues. These attributes made him the preferred one to be entrusted
with the responsibility and command of the nation as Executive President.
What I admired most about him was his will power and his passionate
admiration for young people with new creative ideas. He never tired of
listening to us younger ones articulating our dreams and ideas, some
utopian, yet welcomed by him.
Shortly after I had remigrated from the USA, I heard that Vice President
Desmond Hoyte was seeking young persons with doctorate degrees for a United
Nations funded project. I was bold enough to call the Vice-President
directly, and to my surprise, he accepted my call and an appointment was
made for our discussion.
When I met him, Vice President Hoyte just seemed to stand taller than
anyone else in the society with a quiet, gentle firmness unseen in others.
He was most engaging as he defined the project and sought to elicit my
ideals and values for Guyana. My overall impressions were of a man dedicated
to the tasks of nation building, a man who cared for the social conditions
of the people of his country. He gave me the distinct feeling that he was a
constructive leader; a statesman.
Although the project was not fully funded, I was still fortunate to work
at an agency that fell within the cluster of Vice President Hoyte's
responsibility, the State Planning Secretariat. While I was head of the
department of Social Infrastructure at the State Planning Secretariat, he
consistently sought my views during the formulation of the guiding
principles for the preparation of the annual national budget.
Mr. Hoyte seemed to be always looking for a new conceptual reality - one
that would forge growth on the economic and social fronts. He desired
economic progress and all the social improvements to which a nation had a
right to aspire, and to this, his search in the younger generation seemed to
be focused. He appeared motivated by young thinkers, always in the quest for
In establishing the Public Service of his administration when he became
President, Mr. Hoyte's mandate to me, on appointment as Minister, was to
reform the public service. He expressed a determined will that under his
stewardship, disorder, laziness, ostentation, incompetence and corruption
had no place. In our discussions he stressed an insatiable desire to bring
about an efficient and effective public service that represented a free and
open government that ensured the well being of the nation. It was this
vision of a public service of good governance that led to his piloting of a
new era of leaders and leadership by example.
I found it extremely inspiring to work under the leadership of Mr. Hoyte.
He was a Renaissance man. His mind was the repository of a vast fund of
valuable learning, quotable quotes and humourous anecdotes. Even more than
that, he had this liberating influence that made me comfortable expressing
my views on national and political issues freely.
His encouragement of free expression was a part of his economic concept
of the free market. Mr. Hoyte perceived free markets as the great engines of
economic development, and likewise, he envisioned freedom of expression as
the engine of social growth and development. These 'freedoms', so to speak,
would bring about a source of economic and social wealth, and aid the
hopeful nation as it grasped at the opportunity to realize its much-touted
Hugh Desmond Hoyte, a patriot, a thoughtful man, I will miss him dearly.
[Editor's note: This personal tribute previously appeared in the Stabroek
News. It has been edited and reprinted with Dr. Harding's permission]