A Guyanese Icon – Tributes pour in for the late Dr Yesu Persaud

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Dr Yesu Persaud

President Dr Irfaan Ali

Guyana has lost an outstanding soul in Dr. Yesu Persaud, a true son of the soil. It is with great sadness I learnt, moments ago, about his passing. To his family, friends, management and staff of DDL and Demerara Bank, and the wider Private sector , I join with you in prayers at this time. May his soul find eternal peace.

Institute of Private Enterprise Development

The entire IPED family mourns the passing of Dr. Yesu Persaud CCH, our founder, leader, mentor, guide and friend.

While Dr Persaud’s achievements as a business executive, and as a person, make for an astonishing list, in the IPED family he will be mostly remembered for his vision that led to the direct transformation of thousands of families all across Guyana.

In the most difficult of times Dr Persaud understood that it was necessary to find ways to recreate and nurture small and micro businesses in the country. While his business acumen is unchallenged Dr. Persaud’s greatest desire was to help people to help themselves.

The small and micro businesses that needed financing and guidance were mostly in families and so his understanding at the business level and the passion in his heart for people were combined into the Institute of Private Enterprise Development Limited that is still thriving and helping people today.

Dr Yesu Persaud has left the IPED family with a sustainable organisation and with a network of almost 5000 small and micro enterprises that are themselves sustainable. Many of these businesses are fulfilling his vision every day as they take advantage of every new opportunity to grow.

As we extend our sincerest heartfelt condolences to his immediate family, they can be assured that Dr Yesu Persaud will forever be alive in businesses across the length and breadth of Guyana, with future generations paying tribute to him long after this generation, like him, falls silent.

The Board, Management, and Staff of IPED.

Demerara Distillers Limited

Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) joins the family, friends, nation, and international community in mourning the loss of our former Chairman, Dr. Yesu Persaud. He lived a life which brought to the fore the best possibilities which often were invisible to others. His revolutionary initiatives quite often challenged convention but were extraordinarily successful as is evidenced by what DDL is today.

The DDL we know today owes a great debt of gratitude to Yesu Persaud, for his bold and imaginative leadership for over four decades. Present and future generations of employees are and will be thankful for the strong foundation that he has built to make our company succeed. We will forever be appreciative for the career opportunities we enjoy today, which are all possible because of the carefully constructed foundation designed by a master architect, the late Dr. Yesu Persaud.

During his years at DDL, Dr. Persaud was at the forefront of innovation, modernization, and diversification. He was a champion for causes of our employees, customers, and shareholders. He always displayed abiding humility and understanding, while at the same time promoting the highest levels of discipline, honesty, and productivity.

One of the things we will always remember about Dr. Persaud is his unending philanthropy.

DDL’s journey over the years was not without its challenges, particularly in its early years. However, Dr. Persaud’s leadership was robust and exemplary.

As we mourn Dr. Persaud’s passing, DDL will continue to draw on the life of this national treasure; his unmatched approach to governance, and his staunch commitment to doing what is right. The Board of Directors, Management, and staff at DDL extend to his bereaved wife and children and all his loved ones, our sincerest condolences on this great loss. We hope you can find comfort in the extraordinary achievements of his lifetime and the very impactful contribution which he made.

Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union 

The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) was saddened to learn of the passing of Dr Yesu Persaud, former Chairman of the Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL).

GAWU and Dr Persaud’s relations span several decades and begun during his stint in the sugar industry. As one of the bargaining agents of the DDL, our relations were consolidated and undoubtedly his involvement led to several improvements to the workers conditions-of-work.

We have always admired his humility and his desire to ensure that workers were treated fairly. We believe this must have been influenced by his own life on the sugar plantation. The GAWU sees this as one of the many outstanding qualities of the late Dr Persaud.

The GAWU recollects his support to the sugar industry. He was among those who brought the industry into the hands of the State. Later, he denounced efforts to privatize it during the Hoyte Administration. His contribution to the restoration of democracy is also remembered at this time. Indeed, this was yet one of his many contributions to the Guyanese people.

At this time, the GAWU extends its sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Dr Yesu Persaud. We also send our sympathies to the Management and Staff of the DDL and the other organisations to which he was affiliated. Certainly, our country has lost another outstanding son of the soil.

Private Sector Commission

The Private Sector Commission (PSC) is deeply saddened and shaken at the passing of its Founding Chairman, Dr. Yesu Persaud.

The late Dr. Persaud was the architect of the rebirth of the private sector after decades of state control and state monopoly of business in Guyana.

The business community will forever be grateful for the astute and wise leadership he provided in the early days during the return of democracy to Guyana and particularly his role in the birth of the Private Sector Commission.

Dr. Persaud’s role in the restoration of democracy in Guyana in 1992 is legendary. His forging of the Philosophy of Private Public Partnership became the foundation and principle of the PSC and will forever be etched in our own relationship with Government.
The PSC remembers him for standing firm in his beliefs and always playing his part with dignity.

Dr. Persaud, who died early Monday, January 17 at the age of 93, was an astute businessman who held several positions of business and innovation including Executive Chairman of Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) and founder of the Institute of Private Enterprise Development (IPED).

The PSC expresses condolences to Persaud’s family, friends, staff of DDL and the entire business community on the passing of this business icon.

We shall be forever grateful for his contribution towards the development of Guyana.

Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association

The Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) wishes to express its deepest condolences on the passing of Dr. Yesu Persaud, a true visionary and an ardent humanitarian. Indeed, Guyana has lost a great soul.

Dr. Yesu Persaud has contributed immeasurably to the growth and reputation of his nation. His life and legacy is as inspiring as it is decorated. Dr. Persaud had forged the company of Demerara Distillers Ltd. (DDL) into a Guyanese institution with products of international recognition and praise, he envisaged and founded Guyana’s first indigenous bank, Demerara Bank Ltd. and was the architect of the Institute of Private Enterprise Development (IPED), an organisation that supported the development of thousands of small businesses across Guyana. Moreover, his philanthropic legacy extends far and wide, even beyond the reaches of the land in which he was born.

Dr. Yesu Persaud served as president of the GMSA, then known as the Guyana Manufacturers Association (GMA) in 1992 where he brought his skills and experience and worked tirelessly for Guyanese manufacturers. He was also one of the initial conceivers of a single Private Sector Commission that would represent and further the interests of local private sector and function as the interface with the Government and International Funding agencies.

His work for Private Sector development was instrumental and his contributions to the development of Guyanese society remains unparalleled. He truly led a life worthy of emulation, one that will inspire many for generations to come.

In his memory, we wish to echo some words that he had shared with the GMSA a few years ago: “Whatever you do must be done well or don’t do it at all.” – This was his mantra. “I am my own person. I think I know what is good for the development of my country and I will pursue it to my end.”

We once again express our deepest sympathies to Dr. Persaud’s family, friends, co-workers and all others whom he would have touched over the span of his long and fruitful life.

The Alliance for Change

The Alliance For Change extends deepest sympathy to the family of the late Yesu Persaud. Dr. Persaud was an outstanding man whose footprint can be found in every continent – emodied in the work and lives of the thousands who were fortunate to benefit from his generosity, mentoring, and the various programmes, causes and initiatives he championed such as in education and health services.

Apart from being the driving force and business tycoon behind Demerara Distilleries Ltd, (DDL), and its world renowned El Dorado rum, the Institute for Private Enterprise Development (IPED), the Demerara Bank and the Diamond Fire and Life Insurance Co., Dr. Persaud used his quite influence and diplomacy to promote and foster good governance, stronger democratic princliples and social cohesion here in his beloved Guyana. On an individual level, he offered himself as a mentor to anyone willing to take time to learn from his many struggles and achievements that were endured and earned through many decades of experienced life.

Not many Guyanese can claim to possess the qualities and achievements of a man who we call a National Hero. Quiet, humble, confident and unassuming, Yesu Persaud was a true giant among men.

The AFC salutes the passing of a true hero and once again calls on the government to formulate strict and transparent guidelines for the awarding of National Hero status on deserving sons as daughters such as Dr. Yesu Persaud.

Opposition Leader

It is with great sadness we learnt today of the passing of Dr. Yesu Persaud a true icon and son of the soil.

Dr, Persaud was a businessman who always distinguished himself with his successful business ventures and highly impactful civic and philanthropic works; he was celebrated for his outstanding contributions to business and philanthropy, in Guyana and abroad.

Dr, Persaud a Golden Arrow of Achievement recipient for his works in developing and expanding the Distilling Industry in Guyana and the Cacique Crown of Honour recipient for development of new industries has truly left his mark on the landscape of this country, and Guyanese will always remember him as an innovator and one that gave selflessly to his country.

The APNU+AFC would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Yesu Persaud during what must be a difficult time.