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On what would have been Dr. Yesu Persaud 95th birthday, Wednesday the second volume of his autobiography, “Reaching For The Stars – The Life of Yesu Persaud Volume 2,” was launched at the Demerara Bank Head Office, Lot 24 Camp Street, Georgetown. The book, edited by
Professor David Dabydeen and Lynne Macedo, an honourary research fellow of Persaud, narrated his extraordinary life journey.
The launch was attended by notable figures including: the Ambassador of Chile to Guyana, H.E. Ambassador Francisco Sepúlveda, Komal Samaroo; Chairman of Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), Mr. Hemraj Kissoon; the Director of Demerara Bank Limited, Mr. Pravinchandra Dave; CEO of Demerara Bank and Dr. Paloma Mohamed; Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana (UG)
In this second volume, Dr. Persaud provides a deeper insight into his life, both in the professional and personal spheres. His story is one of resilience, entrepreneurial spirit, and unwavering dedication to the development of Guyana’s private sector. The book also offers a unique perspective on the political landscape of Guyana over the past seven decades, as Dr. Persaud shares his candid and sometimes humorous encounters with key figures in the country’s history.
Professor Dabydeen noted, “Some of the best parts of the book are about his friendships and acknowledging the role of his team in making things happen” Dr. Yesu Persaud, one of Guyana’s most powerful business leaders, is celebrated for his remarkable achievements in building Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) from the ground up and making the El Dorado brand an award-winning, world-renowned spirit. His vision extended to the founding of Demerara Bank Limited and the Institute of Private Enterprise
Development (IPED), further solidifying his position as a prominent figure in the country’s private sector. The first part of Dr. Persaud’s autobiography was launched on May 14, 2014, and received resounding praise for its unique portrayal of a rags-to-riches story. This second volume, arriving posthumously, provides readers with an intimate look at the life of a man who continued to make significant contributions to business and philanthropy until his passing on January 16, 2022, at the age of 93.
Notably, Chairman Samaroo has penned a heartfelt tribute to Dr. Persaud within the pages of the autobiography. In his tribute, Mr. Samaroo reflects on Dr. Persaud’s enduring legacy and the profound impact he made on the business landscape of Guyana, adding, “Dr Persaud was a people-oriented business leader – an indefatigable promoter of people-centred policies”. His words pay homage to a visionary leader who has left an indelible mark on DDL and the entire nation.
Sharing his thoughts on the launch, he expressed, “This is an occasion to do some reflection on the 45 years that I have had the privilege of working alongside Dr. Yesu Persaud.” He added, “On the occasion of his 95th birthday, it is appropriate that we reflect on his work during his life, some of which are recorded in volume 2 of ‘‘Reaching for the Stars’.
Ms. Urmie Persaud, the daughter of Persaud was also in attendance and spoke on behalf of the family. Urmie described her father as a humble man – one ahead of his time. She expressed, “he was an extremely unique person who thought of the big picture and not just of himself and or of his own family, but of the country as a whole” Mr. Pravinchandra Dave, CEO of Demerara Bank described Dr. Persaud as disciplined, humble and courageous, “He embodied simplicity and humility and was fearless when it came to taking risks and extending himself”
Dr. Paloma Mohamed, Vice Chancellor of UG expressed, “this story is a multifaceted, monumental story of a human being who is close to what I consider to be a saint.” she added that Dr. Persaud was a genuinely humble, decent and caring human being who, “lives through his work and the lives that he has touched”
Volume One of Dr. Persaud’s memoirs recounted the struggles of his family during and after the abolition of indentureship in British Guiana. In Volume Two, he delves into his life from the mid-1970s, providing a detailed account of his business and professional life, as well as his personal experiences among family and friends.
Sharon Sue-Hang, Director of Technical Services, DDL and Vasudeo Singh, Group Finance Director/Deputy Chief Executive Officer, DDL were also in attendance.
This autobiography is a significant contribution to Guyana’s historical and cultural narrative, and a tribute to the rich legacy of Dr. Yesu Persaud.