News Releases

The UWI St. Augustine Campus mourns the passing of Honorary Graduate Dr. Yesu Persaud

For Release Upon Receipt - January 24, 2022

St. Augustine

The University of the West Indies (UWI) St Augustine Campus, January 24, 2022. Dr. Yesu Persaud, a leader in the business world, philanthropist by nature, maintained a mantra “to help those who cannot help themselves for as long as I can, wherever and however possible.”  Emerging from growing up on a sugar cane estate to becoming a pioneer in recreating the private sector by developing small and micro businesses in a time when Guyana was undergoing economic dilemmas. He was regarded as a cultural icon, and a man who balanced innovation and development with humility and understanding.

In 2009, Dr. Yesu Persaud was chosen as an Honorary Graduate of The University of The West Indies (The UWI) St. Augustine Campus which he regarded as great honour as the Caribbean was very dear to him. “The University community, of which Dr. Yesu Persaud was a proud member, is saddened by the news of his death and joins his family, friends, and the people of Guyana in mourning,” said Professor Brian Copeland, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal, The UWI St. Augustine Campus. Dr. Persaud also received an Honorary doctorate from the University of Warwick where he was a member for over 12 years lecturing mainly in small and micro-enterprise development, his area of expertise.

Born in October 1928 on Plantation Diamond to Maharanie and Sukhu, he grew up with a strong sense of deprivation and hardship which shaped his acute focus on empowering others. His parents instilled in him that we must always be good to people and to respect everyone and this idea continued with him throughout all of his successes.

Dr. Yesu Persaud was a charted accountant who served as a chairman of several organizations in Guyana including the Institute of Private Enterprise Development (IPED), Demerara Distillers Ltd., Demerara Bank Ltd and the Private Sector Commission. He has also been Chairman of the Caribbean Council for Europe and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) & Companion of the Chartered Management Institute.

One of his most notable accomplishments was the creation of the IPED in response to the economic crisis which Guyana was facing from the early 1970s onwards after the birth of Marxism and Communism in the island and its subsequent attempts to overcome the decline of nationalized industries. Dr. Persaud had the concept of starting a private sector small and micro business to recreate the private sector which required funding but obtained the support of President Hoyte.

He was able, though very difficult at the time, to raise the needed funds by appealing to different agencies for assistance from which he gained support from CIDA (Canadian International Development Agenc) a funding institution, and PADF (Pan American Development Foundation). From then onward the IPED operates as the only not-for-profit organisation in the Caribbean that has funded over 20,000 medium, small, and micro entrepreneurs with over 70,000 loans valued in excess of $15 billion, creating over 30,000 jobs in the process. IPED is totally self-financing and covers the length and breadth of Guyana. From day one he insisted that the board of directors not be paid fees but that they work free, giving back something to the community.

Dr. Persaud was awarded the Golden Arrow of Achievement for his contributions to development and expansion of the Distilling Industry in Guyana and the Cacique Crown of Honour for the development of new industries.  He also received several international recognitions such as 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.

“The UWI celebrates Dr. Yesu Persaud’s legacy as a renowned businessman, pioneer, cultural icon, philanthropist, and an outstanding soul. We extend condolences to his family, and government and people of Guyana,” said Professor Copeland.



About The UWI

The UWI has been and continues to be a pivotal force in every aspect of Caribbean development; residing at the centre of all efforts to improve the well-being of people across the region.

From a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948, The UWI is today an internationally respected, global university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and its Open Campus, and 10 global centres in partnership with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Culture, Creative and Performing Arts, Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences, and Sport. As the Caribbean’s leading university, it possesses the largest pool of Caribbean intellect and expertise committed to confronting the critical issues of our region and wider world.

The UWI has been consistently ranked among the top universities globally by the most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education (THE). In the latest World University Rankings 2022, released in September 2021, The UWI moved up an impressive 94 places from last year. In the current global field of some 30,000 universities and elite research institutes, The UWI stands among the top 1.5%.

The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists since its debut in the rankings in 2018. In addition to its leading position in the Caribbean, it is also in the top 20 for Latin America and the Caribbean and the top 100 global Golden Age universities (between 50 and 80 years old).  The UWI is also featured among the leading universities on THE’s Impact Rankings for its response to the world’s biggest concerns, outlined in the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Good Health and Wellbeing; Gender Equality and Climate Action.

For more, visit

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)