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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 new ideas.

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 potential.

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]


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Last update: 03/19/12

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