Guyana Elections: Dr. Yesu Persaud wants to see change urges Constitution reform

Dr. Yesu Persaud wants to see change urges Constitution reform

April 19, 2015 | By KNews | Filed Under News

Dr. Yesu Persaud

Dr. Yesu Persaud

One of the country’s most prominent businessmen, Dr. Yesu Persaud, believes that the time has come for a change and for the country’s Constitution to be reformed.

Dr. Yesu Persaud, who built the Demerara Distillers Limited into a powerhouse with its world renowned, award winning El Dorado rum line and soft drinks and created Demerara Bank and the Institute of Private Enterprise Development (IPED), has been critical for some time about the Constitution which he argued gives the Government too much power without accountability.

In return, he has also been scathingly criticized by the ruling People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) for his comments. 

The businessman, who has also been instrumental in establishing the Private Sector Commission (PSC), and setting up the Caribbean Containers Inc., helped to change the Government in 1992 when the PPP/C swept to victory amidst widespread calls for a new Government.
Now more than 22 years later, it seems his decision to urge for change then has taken him full circle.

The 87-year-old made it clear that while he is not endorsing any political party, he believes that a change in Government is necessary.

“I hope there is a change because change is inevitable…and if you have a change, you have to have a Government that is determined… (and has) unquestionable sincerity in what they do.  Otherwise we going nowhere,” he said during an exclusive interview with this newspaper.

Dr. Persaud, who has received a national award in Guyana and several from the region and even from India for his contributions, warned the Opposition to step up their campaign to get their message out if they intend to win the elections on May 11.

Guyana is heading to early polls after President Donald Ramotar suspended Parliament in the face of a no-confidence motion against his Government late last year.

Making it clear that he is no politician and even from the days of The Guyanese Action for Reform and Democracy (GUARD), Persaud said he has no such ambition. GUARD had been vocal in the lead-up of the 1992 elections, drawing large crowds at meetings in the city.
“I never endorsed anyone, even during GUARD… All we wanted was a change…We ourselves could not make changes. We were never politicians.”

The businessman, who has also been a vocal human rights advocate, noted that elections create an atmosphere where people expect to better off than before.
Issues like salaries and education all play a big role in allowing voters to make up their minds in these elections.

Among some of the biggest tasks of a new Government will be tackling corruption. Dr. Persaud believed that mechanisms will have to be put into to stamp it out.
Acknowledging that corruption exists in other countries, the businessman made comparisons to other jurisdictions like the Arab states where tough actions, even beheadings, are taken against thieves.
A “ruthless” stance has to be taken here too.
The issue of corruption has been major one for consecutive PPP/C administrations. However, Government has yet to take a tough stance.

Guyana could do well to look towards neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago where female Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, has sacked more than a dozen ministers in recent years.

Dr. Persaud was also convinced that businesses are operating on an uneven playing field.
He would be referring, of course, to complaints by businesses of a few operations which have been given granted generous tax breaks, among other unfair benefits.

With regard to the Constitution, Dr. Persaud explained that he had been advocating for its change for years now. He had even approached former President Cheddi Jagan to scrap it and start the reformation process.

He believes that Guyana can pattern its laws (the Constitution) after that of India which has rigid systems in place.
The coming elections have been described as a tough for the incumbent PPP/C because of the dynamics involved. Not only have accusations of corruption been rife against Government officials, but angry rice farmers and gold miners and the swing votes from the youth votes are likely to be the major catalyst.

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  • rennydiokno2015  On 04/19/2015 at 1:41 am

    Reblogged this on

  • de castro  On 04/19/2015 at 5:58 am

    An honest and truthful assessment of Guyana s political dilemma facing its future leaders. We can but hope that they listen to this wise old Guyanese.
    Modi is faced with a similar dilemma in India where corruption is endemic and the class structure of India society ever present.
    Born a coolie die a coolie….
    One must be able to move “class” economically/socially if everyone in their society is to benefit.
    The more viable a middle class in society the “fairer” that society.
    USA is an example of how “richness” distorts equality Big eats up Smaller.
    China is still experimenting with capitalism.
    Russia s capitalism fed by greed/corruption.

    Can go on and on but as an observer of “protocol” in politics will
    end by thanking the learned gentleman for an opinion I share.

    Sir kamtan of cherin by appointment to HRH QE2 UKPLC

  • Deen  On 04/19/2015 at 11:29 am

    Dr. Yesu Persaud’s appeal for change and constitutional reform highlights the main issues that are priorities to be address for Guyana to return to the road of recovery. Corruption and bribery coupled with political arrogance have placed Guyana at the base of moral codes. Strong and dynamic leadership with the courage to face and remedy the moral infractions in Guyana is key to dramatic change. The continuity of poor leadership, political division, mismanagement and corruption have all contributed to the prevailing poor economic status of Guyana.
    Of course there is corruption everywhere, but the incidence of corruption in Guyana based on its small population of less than a million people (784,000 approx) is comparatively high.
    Guyana, a country of 83,000 square miles blessed with great natural resources has adequate wealth to enrich it’s small population of 784,000. All that is needed is a democratic and moral process with effective leadership, efficient management and good governance that are devoted to the welfare of the people and not themselves.
    Hopefully, the upcoming elections will bring about the much needed change for a new beginning in Guyana.

  • ndtewarie  On 08/19/2017 at 7:36 am

    I have to quote this gentleman who asked, “How do we mould a country?” Imagination, intelligence and integrity, sometimes simple decency, it works as well. Talking about gossip he remarked, “We can’t afford it; we’re a little nation. We need to think and act outside of our skins. Every day must be about excellence without let-up, until we drop; where every person feels like a leader because every person is a leader.” He said that even a man who has a family is a leader, but stops being a leader when he beats his wife. “Then he becomes a word; coward, a coward. You can’t build a nation from cowardice, you can’t do it; you destroy it like that. Our country can be a very, very special place, but we need to take practical steps to make it real.”


    Lets get to the very real story
    And review our sorry history
    Firstly our leaders vied for Independence
    Its our right its to get rid of our hindrance
    Promising progress with very lofty idealism
    Then the Big Two accused us of Communism
    Got instead a lukewarm brand of Socialism
    Those were the hot days of Cold Wars’ ism
    We ended up with a big dose of corruption
    Racialism, bloodshed and sheer destruction
    The people run away from their beloved Guyana
    To England and to the cold harsh North America
    Causing a huge brain drain leaving Guyana rudderless
    Various parties struggling they too come up clueless
    The good ol’ days when rigged ballots rained
    And at the same time coffers were drained
    As the other parties jump and take over
    So did the people as some run for cover
    But a simple Guyanese people we are
    Don’t want to relive another Wismar
    After 51 years we still have a chance
    We’ve to stop this bias racial dance
    Sadly politicians would never change
    Its like telling a dog it has bad mange
    The two races have to come together
    Live again like sister and like brother
    We have to be Guyanese again not a black man
    Think like a Guyanese and not like a coolie man
    Be accepted as real down earth Guyanese
    You be Chinese, Amer-Indian or Portuguese
    Maybe our last chance to make it
    Or hate will drive us out of our wit
    And politicians on both sides please pard!
    Stop hiding, reciting playing the race card
    There are some things we have to eradicate
    Stop fighting one another and stop the hate
    Talk to one another stop deny we’re steeped in racialism
    Stop lying, face the fact, we have far too much nepotism
    Govern for everyone bring back equality
    Or drop the darn “e” and focus on quality
    Pray to the one Above
    For all we need is Love
    Listen people take heed
    For Love is all you need.

Leave a Reply to rennydiokno2015 Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s