William Haslyn Parris, CCH
Former Deputy Prime Minister, Guyana
William Haslyn Parris was a
former Deputy Prime Minister in Guyana.
William Haslyn Parris was born in Buxton Village, East Coast Demerara, Guyana on 2 March 1941.
Parris was educated at Queen’s College, Georgetown, where he won the Guiana Scholarship in 1959. He attended the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, earning the BSc (Mathematics), 1962 and the London School of Economics, earning the BSc (Economics), 1966 and the MSc (Economics), 1967.
He served as Chief Economist, Bank of Guyana and Head of the State Planning Secretariat. He was also appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Bauxite Company and later, Minister of Planning and Development and Deputy Prime Minister. He was a member of the Guyana Elections Commission and the Constitution Reform Commission.
Parris was Deputy Prime Minister for PNC until 1991.
He was also Deputy Chairman of the State Planning Commission and a commissioner on the Guyana Elections Commission, as well as a member of the Constitution Reform 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).
Early in the 1970s he became a member of the Central Executive of the then ruling People’s National Congress, and continued to formally be a member of that Party and its Central Executive until 1992.
On 1 May 1991, Parris demitted office as Deputy Prime Minister, and opted for a private life in the private sector as an author and a consultant.
More recently, Parris has been involved in the negotiations leading to the Herdmanston Accord (17 Jan 1998); the Constitution 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????”.
Honours and awards
In 1980, Parris was awarded the Cacique’s Crown of Honour (CCH) for his public service.
Harris died at the Balwant Singh Hospital, Georgetown on 28 March 2016, a few weeks after his 75th birthday.