Apr 05, 2011 News
Business magnate, Dr Yesu Persaud, yesterday bemoaned the migration of entrepreneurs he helped breed through the Institute of Private Enterprise Development (IPED). He also said that the political directorate needs to ensure security and allow free speech.
Speaking at a celebration of IPED’s 25 anniversary last evening, Persaud spoke of the need for Guyanese to be secured in their homes and for them to enjoy the same security when they walk on the streets.
He added that all must have the ability to express themselves whenever they want to and not fear the repercussions if they do.
“These days as soon as you say something, it goes back and you’re castigated or you’re called names,” Persaud told a gathering that included Prime Minister Samuel Hinds at the Pegasus Hotel.
“You must have the ability to express yourself when you want to; you shouldn’t be walking and turning behind your back to see who’s going to be listening to take it back,” Persaud said.
“That’s not how you build a nation, Sir,” he said to the Prime Minister. “You build a nation by getting the people to work with you, not against you.”
Persaud said that this sort of fear is “not what some of us fought for” in the period running up to the restoration of democracy in 1992 and said he hoped the Prime Minister had not forgotten those years.
Persaud chronicled the life of IPED, pointing out that in its 25 years it has produced successful entrepreneurs, some of whom have migrated after finding success.
Over the years, he said that IPED has disbursed 78,134 loans with a total value of $16.8 billion. This, he said, has resulted in the start up of more than 30,000 micro and small businesses.
He said that IPED started with just one member of staff to help those who were willing to help themselves, and with the aid of foreign donors and the government has been able to turn around the lives of many.
“We got entrepreneurs going and kept their enterprises growing. We have proven that if given the opportunity, people will work hard in helping themselves out of poverty,” Persaud noted in his annual report.
Persaud said that IPED started when the government was in control of the bulk of the economy and so the idea was to rejuvenate the culture of entrepreneurship. He said micro and small enterprises are important to the success of the economy.
IPED is proud of what it has been able to achieve over the years and there are many examples to point to.
Leslyn Small, a New Amsterdam retail vendor, started borrowing from IPED back in 2003 to expand her business. She sells clothing and footwear at Pitt Street in New Amsterdam and in the evening she sells beverages on Main Street, also in New Asmterdam.
Despite losses over the years and personal tragedy when she lost her husband and sister to death, Small continues her business and with IPED’s help keeps going. Another of IPED’s clients, Premchand Budhu, is seeing success. He worked as a “Tapir” operator, but when harassment by traffic ranks and a major surgery forced him to stop, he looked to IPED to get a poultry business started so he could have a steady income to maintain his family.
“Truly, IPED has made a difference in my life,” Budhu says.
“I got a daughter going to UG, one in high school and one in primary school; so I am living a comfortable life.”
The United States Government was among the first international donors to support IPED. Last evening, U.S. Embassy Charge d’ Affaires, Tom Pierce, commended IPED for its success over the year.
“IPED has recognised that access to credit is one of the factors in fostering a vibrant private sector that creates jobs,” he said.
Pierce quoted US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as saying that one of biggest obstacles to making the most of everyone’s talent and hard work is a financial system that leaves out three billion disadvantaged persons, including rural farmers, people with disabilities, women, and small business owners.
“Without loans, farmers can’t buy seeds or fertilisers and small businesses can’t grow and expand,” Piece said, adding that this is the task IPED undertook to change 25 years ago.
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds commended Dr Persaud for boldly taking the lead back in 1986 to bring about IPED.
He said that from the inception, IPED generated enthusiasm and he recalled reading of success stories of entrepreneurs who were “finding their feet.”
He said the government today continues to stress the need for the spirit of enterprise and innovation that started when then President Desmond Hoyte started to shift away from a policy where government controlled more enterprises to giving way for private sector development.
“We do not see a Guyana that is as prosperous as it can be without every Guyanese giving play to the spirit of initiative, innovation and enterprise that lies in every one of us,” Hinds stated.
Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Lawrence Carrington said IPED’s celebration of its 25 anniversary was not just a ritual of celebrating milestones, since the celebration was justified.
“It is justified in the fact that the service that we celebrate is service to the salt of the earth – service to people – who have to be our primary concern in the development of Guyana both as the beneficiaries and drivers,” he said.
Carrington hailed IPED as an instrument of value to the development of Guyana.
Ramesh Persaud, the Chief Executive of IPED, said among IPED’s clients are those with HIV, and women who are abused in the home.
As a result, he said oftentimes, officers of IPED become social workers as they seek to help their clients make a success of their business.
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