Jan 18, 2022 News
Kaieteur News – His was a classic Guyanese success story. Born October 18, 1928 at the Diamond Sugar Plantation, Dr. Yesu Persaud at the age of 16, set out to find a job as his parents were unable to find the money to finance his studies. In 1955, with a little money from his wife, Premkowarie Singh, he left for England, where he became an associate member of the ACCA and where he also elevated himself as a senior auditor in a large professional accounting firm.
He also spent some time in Canada, where he did well in investments as a consultant.
However, yearnings to return to his homeland caused him to return to Guyana in 1966, when he joined the public service as an Inspector of Taxes. A few months later, he joined the staff of Sandbach Parker and Company, the oldest British company in Guyana, where he was appointed Group Finance Director only after four years, a position which had so far been opened only to qualified expatriates.
When the Guyanese Government decided to nationalise the Demerara Sandbach Group in 1975, Yesu was one of the three negotiators. At that time, he refused a tempting offer in the UK of two years’ tax free salary. The Guyana Government offered Yesu the position of Executive Chairman of the Diamond Liquors Limited (DLL) as well as Managing Director of the Demerara Sugar Company, together with other companies in the former Sandbach Group.
Yesu led DLL and developed it into the Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), churning out the El Dorado rums and diversifying it into production of some of the world’s choicest soft drinks, like Pepsi, 7UP, Mountain Dew, Gatorade, fruit juices and water. Other companies, which he spearheaded were the Demerara Shipping Company, CO2 Gas Company, Tropical Orchards, Demerara Contractors and Engineers Ltd, BEV Processors Inc. – a shrimp procession plant, and Distribution Services Ltd, which represents Nestle, and Johnson and Johnson. The company also has its subsidiaries in Holland, UK, USA, and St. Kitts, and operates a joint venture in India, as well as distribution arrangement in Asia. Yesu was also the brain behind the formation of the first indigenous private sector bank, Demerara Bank Limited, which started in 1994. Yesu held numerous positions in other organisations. He was the Chairman of Trust Company (Guyana) Limited, and Guyana Unit Trust — a mutual fund — and was the man behind Diamond Fire and General Insurance Company.
In 1988, Yesu gained further recognition as he lobbied to the then President, Desmond Hoyte, for approval to celebrate 150 years of East Indian Arrival in Guyana. . It was not an easy task, but he won over Hoyte.
He is also one of the founding members of the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), which was established in New York in 1989. In addition to being Vice President of GOPIO International, he is also Vice President of GOPIO’s Caribbean Chapter.
He has been serving as the Honorary Consul for the Republic of Chile for many years.
Against his list of achievements and the numerous positions that he holds among the many companies and organisations, it has been widely accepted that there can be no doubt that Yesu is a representative of the Caribbean people. In 1981, he was awarded the Golden Arrow of Achievement, a national honour, for the expansion of the distilling industry in Guyana. In 1983, he received the Cacique Crown of Honour for developing many new industries. He also bagged the Gandhi Organisation Plaque and other awards for his contribution to the Hindu Dharma, and the list goes on.
Of special mention, though, was the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas award presented by India’s President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to Yesu on January 9, 2006.
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