Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Today the Chronicle publishes an obituary of Desmond Hoyte by Moses Nagamootoo, former PPP minister; the Stabroek News carries messages of condolence from various political & civic groups, including the Guyana Human Rights Association, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, the African Cultural & Development Association & the Muslim Youth League (no links, because Stabroek has no online archive).

Outside Guyana, the Observer's editorial today offers a carefully balanced assessment of Hoyte's political legacy, & suggests that "While we mourn Mr. Hoyte, and hold his memory in absolute respect, we believe that his passing, as difficult as it will be for many, opens a window of opportunity for Guyana." The Guardian reminds us that, though Hoyte bravely cleared the way for the first fair elections in Guyana in 30 years, as opposition leader his unwillingness to accept defeat was a major factor in his country's troubles over the last decade (no link, because the Guardian has no online archive):

"His deep dislike for Janet Jagan, who was made President on the death of Cheddi Jagan, fuelled Mr. Hoyte’s obstructionism. He launched a vicious campaign after losing the 1997 election, and promised to make Guyana ungovernable.

"Even after Mrs. Jagan’s resignation, Mr. Hoyte remained ready to condone political rioting and violence, and he kept the PNC out of Parliament.

"The overall result of Mr. Hoyte’s political policies, which remained to the end subject to his explosive temper, contributed significantly to keeping the society ethnically polarised.

"Unable to sail with the winds of change, he tried to hold them back. It was a mistake for which Guyana continues to pay dearly."

The UK Guardian also runs an obituary today.

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