Yesu Persaud, producer of world famous El Dorado rum, dies at 93

Yesu Persaud

Well-known as a giant in business and philanthropy, Yesu Persaud, 93, died early Monday.

Guyana President Dr Irfaan Ali described Persaud as a “true son of the soil.”

“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,” Dr Ali wrote.

Persaud passed away at his East Bank Demerara home; reports indicate that he was not in the best of health for a period of time.

Yesu Persaud had a long and distinguished career that spans many continents, two centuries and several successful business ventures and highly impactful civic and philanthropic works.

The Institute of Private Enterprise Development (IPED) last year unveiled a life-sized bust of Persaud, who is the Founding Chairman of IPED and served the institution from October 1985 to January 2018.

Persaud was a chartered accountant and a master entrepreneur who dedicated his life to recreating and nurturing the small and micro business sector in Guyana. His vision led to the creation of IPED and his leadership has ensured improved livelihoods and sustainable micro and small enterprises for over 4000 entrepreneurs across Guyana.

Some of his regional achievements include him becoming a Trustee of the Caribbean Latin American Action (CLAA) that looks after the interest of the Caribbean and Latin American countries and he is past President and Executive Member of this institute, which includes all CARICOM countries and is one of the most influential business organizations in the region.

Dr Persaud is also a past Chairman of the West Indies Spirits Producers Association which is one of the oldest and most respected organizations in the region.

At his 90th birthday celebration in October 2018, Persaud’s colleague, Mr Komal Samaroo, serving CEO of Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) recalled how two companies came together to form this national brand, popularly known for its El Dorado rums, under the Chairmanship of Dr Persaud.

He was hailed by Mr Samaroo for his corporate restructuring and people-focused style of management which led the company in the right direction in a business environment that Mr Samaroo recalls as having been challenging.

He recalled how bold Persaud was at times when it was necessary to stand up to politicians and challenged them when many others feared to do so.

He was particularly known for his many wise and profitable investments and for conceptualizing and building of key institutions that now serve Guyana’s banking and financial sectors well.

Some highlights include his service as Executive Chairman of Diamond Liquors Limited and the Managing Director of Demerara Sugar Company. He is being credited with achieving a business miracle with regards to Demerara Distillers Limited which stands out in the economic history of Guyana.

Nationally, he was awarded the Golden Arrow of Achievement for his works in developing and expanding the Distilling Industry in Guyana and the Cacique Crown of Honour for the development of new industries.

Internationally, Persaud also received several awards including the Pepsi Cola International-Slice, the Gandhi Organization Plaque, the inaugural Indo Male Lifetime Award and the Glory of India Award and Certificate of Excellence.

Described as an innovative leader and results-focused person, the University of Guyana launched an inaugural lecture series to mark Dr Persaud’s influential contributions to Guyana.