|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|
10 January 1918|
Windsor Forest, West Demerara, British Guiana
|Died||23 June 2008
Bel Air Springs, Guyana
Arthur Chung (January 10, 1918 – June 23, 2008) was the first President of Guyana from 1970 to 1980. He was the first ethnic Chinese (Hakka) 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 awarded Guyana's highest national award, the Order of Excellence (O.E.).
Chung was born at Windsor Forest, West Coast Demerara in Guyana; he was the youngest of Joseph and Lucy Chung's eight children. He was educated at Windsor Forest, Blankenburg and Modern High School.
Career in Land Surveying and Law
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. In 1954, he became a magistrate and in 1960 a senior magistrate. In 1954, Chung married another native of Windsor Forest, Doreen Pamela Ng-See-Quan, with whom he had one daughter and one son. He 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, Anthur Chung made world history when National Assembly elected Chung as the country's first President; he took office on March 17, 1970. Ten years later, a constitutional revision transformed the presidency into an executive position and Burnham succeeded Chung as President on October 6, 1980.
Leader of the main opposition party, the PNCR, Robert Corbin, said that Chung would be remembered for the level of dignity and stature that he brought to the post, especially at the time when Guyana was crossing the hurdle from Monarchial status to that of Republican State. He also said that Chung brought to the country a sense of stability at a time in Guyana’s history when the country was plagued with ethnic conflicts, among other things. He has left a legacy of rich service to this nation and set a noble precedent of the dignity required of the. During his tenure, President Chung served with distinction during the period of the greatest post-independence transformation of Guyana, its society and economy, “His Presidency also enriched the history of Guyana as the first ethnic Chinese President.” “The story of his life is immortalized in our country’s history; the name Arthur Chung will forever be associated with our history, not only because he was our first President, but equally through the exemplary manner in which he carried out his constitutional duties.”
- "Guyana’s Governor General dies", GINA, June 23, 2008.
- Obituary – Arthur Chung
- "Guyana’s first president Arthur Chung dies", Starbroek News, June 24, 2008.
- President Arthur Chung laid to rest at Seven Ponds