Arthur Raymond Chung (10 January 1918 – 23 June 2008) was the first President of Guyana from 1970 to 1980. He was the first ethnic Chinese (Hakka Han) head of state in a non-Asian country. During his time as President of Guyana, the office was that of a ceremonial head of state, with real power in the hands of Prime Minister Forbes Burnham. He was honoured with Guyana's highest national honour, the Order of Excellence (O.E.).
Arthur Raymond Chung
|1st President of Guyana|
17 March 1970 – 6 October 1980
|Prime Minister||Forbes Burnham|
|Preceded by||Edward Luckhoo (Acting)|
|Succeeded by||Forbes Burnham|
|Born||10 January 1918|
Windsor Forest, Demerara, British Guiana (present-day West Demerara, Guyana)
|Died||23 June 2008 (aged 90)|
Bel Air Gardens, Demerara-Mahaica, Guyana
|Spouse(s)||Doreen Chung (1954–2008; his death)|
|Alma mater||Middle Temple|
Early life and careerEdit
Chung was born into Chinese Guyanese family at Windsor Forest, West Coast Demerara in British Guiana; he was the youngest of Joseph and Lucy Chung's eight children. He was educated at Windsor Forest, Blankenburg, and Modern High School. In 1954, Chung married another native of Windsor Forest, Doreen Pamela Ng-See-Quan, with whom he had one daughter and one son.
Before civic service, Chung was an apprentice surveyor and sworn land surveyor. In the early 1940s, Chung entered the Middle Temple of London, England and qualified as a barrister in 1947. He returned to Guyana and was later appointed an acting magistrate. He became a magistrate in 1954 and a senior magistrate in 1960. Chung also served as Registrar of Deeds and of the Supreme Court. He then became a puisne judge and finally an Appeal Court Judge in 1963.
When Guyana became a republic under the leadership of Forbes Burnham in 1970, the National Assembly elected Chung as the country's first President; he took office on 17 March 1970. Ten years later, a constitutional revision transformed the presidency into an executive position, and Burnham succeeded Chung as President on 6 October 1980.
In 2015, it was announced that the Guyana International Conference Centre (GICC) would be renamed the "Arthur Chung Convention Centre", and newly elected President David A. Granger stated: "I would like the first President in this country to be remembered. ... this is the 45th anniversary year of becoming a Republic and Mr Chung was the first person of Chinese descent who was President in a non-Asian country and it was historic." After undergoing rehabilitative work, the Arthur Chung Convention Centre was recommissioned in June 2018.
- "Guyana’s first President dies" Archived 14 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine, GINA, 23 June 2008.
- Obituary – Arthur Chung
- "Guyana’s first president Arthur Chung dies", Starbroek News, 24 June 2008.
- "International Conference Centre to be renamed in honour of first President", Guyana Times International, 22 May 2018.
- "Rehabilitated Arthur Chung Centre recommissioned", Ministry of Public telecommunications, 8 June 2018.