Prime Minister of Guyana

The prime minister of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana is an elected member of the National Assembly of Guyana who is the principal assistant and advisor to the president as well as the leader of government business in the Assembly, but is not the head of government in Guyana. The prime minister assumes the office of president if the presidency becomes vacant.

Prime Minister of the
Co-operative Republic of Guyana
Office of the Prime Minister Guyana.svg
Seal of the Office of the Prime Minister of Guyana
Flag of Guyana.svg
Flag of Guyana
Hon. Brigadier (ret'd) Mark Anthony Phillips, M.S.S., M.P..jpg
Mark Phillips

since 2 August 2020
Cabinet of Guyana
StyleThe Honourable
ResidencePrime Minister's Residence, Main Street, Georgetown
AppointerPresident of Guyana
Term length5 years,
Formation26 May 1966
First holderForbes Burnham
SuccessionAny Minister of Government as designated by the President


The office of Prime Minister of Guyana was established in 1966 upon Guyana becoming independent. The office is the direct successor to that of the Premier and Chief Minister of British Guiana. In 1964 the last elections in British Guiana was held, and with the next elections slated to occur after independence, the Premier of British Guiana automatically became Prime Minister of Guyana on independence day.

From 1966 to 1980 the Prime Minister was the Head of Government who exercised executive power and general direction and control of the government. During this time the country’s Head of State was Elizabeth II (represented by a Governor-General) from 1966 to 1970, and then a ceremonial President from 1970 to 1980 after Guyana became a republic.

The 1980 constitution abolished the ceremonial presidency and created an Executive President who became Head of State and Head of Government. Under the constitution the Prime Minister before the commencement of the constitution became the President with full executive powers.[1] The office of Prime Minister was retained and now included the permanent subsidiary office of First Vice-President to further highlight the constitutional role of the Prime Minister as the President’s successor.[2] However the powers and influence of the office and of individual Prime Ministers has varied depending on the responsibilities delegated by the President.

Appointment and responsibilitiesEdit

The Prime Minister is appointed by the President from among the elected members of the National Assembly of Guyana. As a result of the political structure of the government of Guyana where an election for the members of the National Assembly concurrently serves as an election of the President, the Prime Minister is always drawn from the party or coalition the President belongs to. Despite it being the practice of almost all political parties or coalitions to designate a Presidential and Prime Ministerial candidate in the event they secure the most votes over any other parties or coalitions in the election, only a Presidential candidate is legally required[3] to be designated in advance of the election.

The selection, appointment, and removal of the Prime Minister is therefore constitutionally at the discretion of the President, however only a member of the National Assembly who is eligible to become President may be appointed Prime Minister.[4] This ensures that the requirements for a person to become President is met in case circumstances result in the Prime Minister having to accede to the office.

Under Article 101 of the Constitution of Guyana, the Prime Minister is described as the President’s principal assistant in the discharge of the functions of the President. The responsibilities of the Prime Minister include:[4]

  • Serving as Acting President whenever the President is temporarily absent or unable discharge the functions of the office.[5]
  • Acceding to the Presidency on the event of the death, removal, or resignation of a President.
  • Chairing the meetings of the Cabinet in the absence of the President.[6]
  • Serving as the Leader of Government Business in the National Assembly[4] (this is a legislative role and not akin to being Head of Government).
  • Heading the office of the Prime Minister and having oversight of the subordinate agencies of that office.
  • Serving as the subject Minister of any additional ministerial portfolios designated by the President.[7]

The Constitution also mandates that the Prime Minister – being First Vice-President – has precedence over any additional Vice President(s).[4]

Oath of officeEdit

Prior to the appointment of a Prime Minister, the President will issue an ‘Instrument Appointing a Prime Minister’ under the Seal of Guyana which sets out the name of the person to be appointed, and the section of the constitution utilized to make the appointment.

The Prime Minister designate then takes the following oath of office of the form specified in the Schedule to the Constitution of Guyana:

I (name) do hereby solemnly declare that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the People of Guyana that I will faithfully execute the office of Prime Minister of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana without fear or favour, affection or ill-will and that in the execution of the functions of that office I will honour, uphold, and preserve the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.

The phrase 'so help me God' is not specified in the constitution, but may be added at the end of the oath on the personal discretion of the Prime Minister.

The oath is then signed by the Prime Minister and countersigned by the President, after which, the Instrument of Appointment is handed over to the Prime Minister.[8]

Symbols of officeEdit

There are no distinctive symbols of the office of Prime Minister as the coat of arms of Guyana is used. The Prime Minister is one of only two officials in Guyana – the other being the President – who do not use regular vehicle plates. The vehicle containing the Prime Minister displays a gold image of the coat of arms of Guyana.

List of prime ministersEdit

This is a list of the prime ministers of Guyana, from the establishment of the office of Chief Minister of British Guiana in 1953 to the present day. After the creation of the vice presidency in 1980, the title became the Prime Minister and First Vice President of Guyana.

Chief minister of British GuianaEdit

No. Portrait Name
Term of office Political party Monarch(s)
Took office Left office Time in office
1   Cheddi Jagan
30 May 1953 9 October 1953 132 days People's Progressive Party Elizabeth II
(1)   Cheddi Jagan
21 August 1957[9] 5 September 1961 3 years, 261 days People's Progressive Party

Premiers of British GuianaEdit

No. Portrait Name
Term of office Political party Monarch(s)
Took office Left office Time in office
1   Cheddi Jagan
5 September 1961 12 December 1964 3 years, 98 days People's Progressive Party Elizabeth II
2   Forbes Burnham
12 December 1964 26 May 1966 1 year, 165 days People's National Congress

Prime ministers of GuyanaEdit

No. Portrait Name
Term of office Political party Head(s) of state
Took office Left office Time in office
Guyana (Commonwealth realm)
1   Forbes Burnham
26 May 1966 23 February 1970 3 years, 273 days People's National Congress Elizabeth II
Co-operative Republic of Guyana
(1)   Forbes Burnham
23 February 1970 6 October 1980 10 years, 226 days People's National Congress Luckhoo
2   Ptolemy Reid
6 October 1980 16 August 1984 3 years, 315 days People's National Congress Burnham
3   Desmond Hoyte
16 August 1984 6 August 1985 355 days People's National Congress
4   Hamilton Green
(born 1934)
6 August 1985 9 October 1992 7 years, 64 days People's National Congress Hoyte
5   Sam Hinds
(born 1945)
9 October 1992 17 March 1997 4 years, 159 days People's Progressive Party C. Jagan
6   Janet Jagan
17 March 1997 19 December 1997 277 days People's Progressive Party Hinds
(5)   Sam Hinds
(born 1945)
19 December 1997 9 August 1999 1 year, 233 days People's Progressive Party J. Jagan
7   Bharrat Jagdeo
(born 1964)
9 August 1999 11 August 1999 2 days People's Progressive Party
(5)   Sam Hinds
(born 1945)
11 August 1999 20 May 2015 15 years, 282 days People's Progressive Party Jagdeo
8   Moses Nagamootoo
(born 1947)
20 May 2015 2 August 2020 5 years, 74 days Alliance for Change
9   Mark Phillips
(born 1961)
2 August 2020 Incumbent 2 years, 15 days People's Progressive Party Ali

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Constitution 2012, p. 9.
  2. ^[bare URL PDF]
  3. ^ Constitution 2012, p. 143.
  4. ^ a b c d Constitution 2012, p. 59.
  5. ^ Constitution 2012, p. 57.
  6. ^ Constitution 2012, p. 61.
  7. ^ "Prime Minister to oversee energy, telecoms, information, CDC and other portfolios". 5 August 2020.
  8. ^ "Reg. 5 Chambers of Commerce congratulates Prime Minister Phillips". 13 August 2020.
  9. ^[bare URL PDF]


External linksEdit