Support for a Peter D’Aguiar School of Business
I endorse the view expressed by Mr. Harry Hergash (KN Oct 6) that the contributions made by Mr. Peter D’Aguiar, the deceased founder and leader of the capitalist United Force party, should be recognized with his name emblazoned on a business institute at U.G. He has left lasting impressions on our country.
Mr. D’Aguiar was a controversial personality in our politics but he also made positive contributions. Yes, D’Aguiar was partly responsible for the violence of the 1960s that left untold death and destruction when he teamed up with Burnham, the CIA, the Christian Churches, British Intelligence, and the labour movement (funded by the AFL-CIO, AIFLD, etc.) to undermine Jagan’s left wing government.
Every political leader of that era was responsible for the dozens killed and the millions of dollars of property that were destroyed. But D’Aguiar recognized his errors of the 1960s and came to terms with them.
He expressed regrets for trusting Burnham who back stabbed him and he was disappointed in those who betrayed his party by crossing over to Burnham, But D’Aguiar also made many positive contributions to society that we (including the left wingers) benefit from up till this day.
The businesses D’Aguiar started some sixty years ago have kept growing and have created jobs for hundreds. Those businesses have contributed enormously to our GDP.
It was a tragic blunder by the government of the day to virtually drive out of Guyana the D’Aguiar family and other wealthy and professional Portuguese. Other countries have become the beneficiaries of their largesse and entrepreneurial skills.
They started businesses in Barbados and Canada. Their Banks beer and soft drinks are selling well in Barbados and neighboring islands as well as in Guyanese clubs in North America and throughout the Caribbean.
The Portuguese supporters of D’Aguiar’s party, virtually all of whom have migrated, can be found all over the Caribbean, Canada, the US, and New Zealand.
In my travel earlier this year I met a few and discussed politics with them while I was visiting Aruba, St. Maarten, Antigua, Barbados, Tahiti, and New Zealand.
They reminisced about the good life in Guyana before the struggle for power began to take a toll on the nation. And they talked about the progress Guyana would have made under D’Aguiar had he been given an opportunity or had Burnham not pursued power and instead worked with D’Aguiar.
The governments of the 1960s made a terrible mistake in not utilizing the entrepreneurial skills of D’Aguiar to transform the country. Instead of battling over which ideology was better suited for Guyana and attacking D’Aguiar’s bourgeois positions, they should have engaged D’Aguiar on how to grow the economy – we would have become a Singapore or a Taiwan long before those countries achieved developed status.
Today, both major parties have embraced capitalism which is no longer a dirty word in Guyana.
Everyone, including the communists, are pursuing wealth and one is loved and embraced in Guyana for displaying bourgeois propensities.
Ever since the collapse of the economy during the 1980s, people have been looking at D’Aguiar as a role model and yearn for a leader of his business caliber to rescue the country. Although Guyana has done well over the last 20 years, the country could have done a lot better had D’Aguiar been around or his ideas used to manage the economy.
D’Aguiar’s businesses stand out in Guyana. His economic philosophy of free enterprise has been taking root after they were condemned just two decades earlier. As a captain of industry, he ought to be recognized.
Banks DIH should act on Hergash’s advice and create an endowment at UG for this outstanding deceased businessman. A Peter D’Aguiar School of Business & Management will train the future entrepreneurs to transform our economy and perhaps one day turn us into a Singapore.