Yesu Persaud’s life achievements celebrated

first_imgThe life and achievements of local business tycoon and philanthropist, Dr Yesu Persaud, is being celebrated as the University of Guyana (UG) kicks off a lecture series in his honour.The lecture series will highlight Dr Persaud’s seminal contributions to Guyana through his audacious authenticity in business, entrepreneurship and civic contributions.The work of the local business tycoon, who recently celebrated his 90th birthday, spans many continents, two centuries and several successful business ventures, while his civic and philanthropic work has been and continues to be highly impactful.At Tuesday’s launch of the inaugural symposium, a long list of close associates of Dr Persaud lined up to speak and reflect on the various aspects of his life to a packed gathering.Recalling his childhood on the Diamond Estate, retired Major General Joe Singh spoke of the challenges Dr Persaud faced growing up and the resilience displayed on his journey to become one of Guyana’s top entrepreneurs.“Growing up on a sugar estate at that time, experiencing all of the challenges that is associated with a stratified society, the colour-bar, discriminatory employment practices and poverty, it would have been a miracle if the young Yesu Persaud envisaged that he would rise to the zenith of the business world. Many in his position would have given up… His ambition to rise above his circumstances through education and qualifications was complemented by his adaptability, his versatility, his courage, his loyalty and commitment, and his deep spiritual and family values,” Singh stated, as he read excerpts from Dr Persaud’s autobiography Reaching for the Stars – The life of Yesu Persaud.The Guyanese icon is currently working on his second book, a continuation of his autobiography. Dr Persaud’s entrepreneurial skills is evident in the highly successful Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), which produces the international-award winning brand – El Dorado Rum.The company’s current Chairman, Komal Samaroo, who has worked under Dr Persaud for several years before becoming his successor in 2014, reflected on the leadership style and visions of the business tycoon.After achieving a business miracle when he took over a bankrupted DDL andYesu Persaud shares a light moment at Tuesday’s inaugural symposium alongside UG’s Vice Chancellor Ivelaw Griffith; and Deputy VC on Philanthropy, Alumni and Civic Engagement, Paloma Mohamed-Martintransformed it into a successful company, Dr Persaud was the brain behind the first-ever Indigenous private bank – Demerara Bank Limited, which he still chairs – and also paved the way for small businesses to thrive in the country with the establishment of the Institute of Private Enterprise Development (IPED), which finances and trains entrepreneurs.While Dr Persaud was a trail blazer in Guyana, his impeccable work was far-reaching with impacts on both the Caribbean and Latin American regions.Highlighting this aspect of his work, former Barbadian Senator, Maxine McClean, described Dr Persaud as a true exemplar of a committed entrepreneur and businessman, adding that his contributions in business, banking, civil society and philanthropy clearly demonstrates his business acumen and civil consciousness.McClean, who is also a professor, further noted that much can be learned from Dr Persaud’s work.“We need to utilise the full essence, the wealth of information that really dwells in your contribution because in the end of the day, what this country, this Region, this world can learn from your experience, your success, your contribution is capturing a wide-ranging foci,” says the Barbadian Professor as she calls on institutions to draw on his wealth of contributions.Among the other speakers, who highlight key aspects of the life of Guyanese icon were: Professor David Dabydeen; Chief Executive Officer of IPED, Ramesh Persaud and local businessman Stanley Ming.Over the years, Dr Persaud has collected a number of national and international awards for his work and contributions including: the Gandhi Organisation Plaque for his contribution in promoting Indian culture in Guyana; the Glory of India Award and Certificate of Excellence by the India International Friendship Society in 2005 and the following year, he was honoured in India with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman for his outstanding contributions in business and Indian history and culture.Nationally, Dr Persaud is the recipient of Guyana’s Cacique Crown of Honour for the development of new industries in Guyana in 1983 and the Golden Arrow of Achievement for his work in developing and expanding the distillery industry in Guyana. In addition, he also received the Pepsi Cola International – Slice and the Caribbean Network Enterprises Inc inaugural Indo Caribbean Male Lifetime Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievements in New York.Moreover, the diversity of his contributions, the calibre of his leadership and the values he laid down as the sine cos for success in business, good governance and democracy, and philanthropy have all been recognised by tertiary educational institutions such as University of Warwick, University of the West Indies (UWI) and more recently University of Guyana (UG). (Vahnu Manikchand)last_img

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