President David Granger paid his final respects to the late Mr. William Haslyn Parris,
CCH, the former Deputy Prime Minister of Guyana, at a funeral service held at the St. Anthony’s of Padua Parish in Buxton.
Several Ministers of the Government, including Minister of State, Joseph Harmon; Minister of Education, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Carl Greenidge; Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland; former President Donald Ramotar and former Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, all turned out to pay their last respects.
Earlier yesterday, citizens from all walks of life, Cabinet members, family, relatives and friends paid their final respects to Cacique Crown of Honour (CCH) recipient and distinguished son of the soil, Haslyn Parris while he lay at the Merriman Funeral Home.
Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo at the well-attended viewing said that Parris’s death quantified to a great loss for Guyana.
“When someone like Haslyn Parris falls, it’s not only a person who falls, it’s what he represented and what his contribution could be for Guyana… The memory I have of him would be the meticulous way in which he went about his work. He doesn’t leave things to chance or areas for doubt,” the Prime Minister said.
Mr Nagamootoo worked with Parris between 1999 and 2001 on the constitutional reform process. Parris then held the post of Executive Secretary whilst Prime Minister was the Chairperson of the oversight Committee on Constitutional reform.
“What we did then was to hone in on all the recommendations that were made and
bring them into a state of legislative drafting with experts and brought those to parliament. In all, we got approximately 167 new changes that were proposed to the constitution,” the Prime Minister recalled.
Parris is remembered as a person with a very meticulous method of work who insisted on research. Where it was not practical to garner the necessary information, he then took to consulting experts in the area.
Based on elevated work ethics, he was credited for successfully re-formulating the 1980 Constitution into a modified version with explanatory notes.
“It was for that reason that I invited Haslyn Parris when I became Prime Minister to serve on a new steering committee on constitutional reform where he served until he died,” the Prime Minister said.
His contributions to this steering committee have produced a range of recommendations on how to proceed to continue the constitutional reform process, dealing with specific issues of concern.
“They were to be brought under Chairperson Nigel Hughes the convenor… the recommendations deal with some specific issues that we said we would deal with during the last election campaign, dealing with the issues of the presidency and the issue of how to devolve power and authority to other organs of the state,” Nagamootoo explained.
After viewing Parris’s body, the Prime Minister said he believes that the country could have benefitted from a few more years of service from him; particularly in an area he has an unenviable command of information and methodology.
“This is for me, personally, a great loss and for Guyana also. We will all miss Haslyn Parris… This very quiet unassuming, always humble, never show off who he is on his sleeve, but an extraordinary Guyanese of modesty and talent at the same time,” the Prime Minister opined.
Parris C.C.H. served as Deputy Chairman of the State Planning Commission and a Commissioner on the Guyana Elections Commission. His career encompassed the positions of Mathematics teacher at Queen’s College (1962 – 1963), Senior Economist at the Central Bank of Guyana (1967 – 1969), Chief Economist of the Central Bank of Guyana (1969 – 1971), Chief Executive Officer, Guybau and subsequently Guymine (1971 – 1981), Chairman of Guyconstruct (1976 – 1980), Chairman of the Bauxite Industry Development Company, BIDCO (1982 – 1983) and Deputy Prime Minister responsible for Planning and Development (1984 -1991).
On May 1, 1991, Parris demitted office as Deputy Prime Minister, at the age of 50. He was the recipient of several academic and other awards, the most prestigious being the Cacique’s Crown of Honour (C.C.H.) in 1980.
He opted to work in the private sector as an author and a consultant.
More recently, Parris has been involved in the negotiations leading to the Herdmanston Accord (Jan 17, 1998); the Constitutional Reform Commission of which he was Secretary (1999); the Oversight Committee on Constitutional Reform (1999-/ 2000) as Coordinator; and the Guyana Elections Commission (2001) as a Commissioner.
He wrote several books since 1991 – Bunaro (a set of essays on economic development relevant to Guyana); two volumes of thought provoking essays entitled “Some (and then some more) of my favourite heresies”; two volumes of short stories entitled “Ribald tales of Guyana”; and “The Constitution of Guyana – What will it Look Like?”