REACHING FOR THE STARS: The Life of Dr Yesu Persaud, Volume TwoProduct no.: HP269
Edited by David Dabydeen and Lynne Macedo
In Volume One of his memoirs, Dr Yesu Persaud wrote movingly about his family and their struggles both during and after the abolition of the indentureship system that had first brought them to what was then British Guiana. In Volume Two, he continues the story of his life from the mid-1970s, and provides a fascinating view of his business and professional life, as well as his philanthropy. Entwined with this story is a more personal account which gives a deeper insight into Dr Persaud’s private life amongst family and friends. Even in the face of adversity, his candour and strong sense of humour always shine through.
Alongside his personal life, he gives an enthralling and detailed account of the political landscape of Guyana over the past seven decades. Never afraid to speak his mind, Dr Persaud weaves his own narrative alongside that of a broader, nationwide perspective, providing the reader with a highly personal insight into many of the country’s key political events. His detailed memories of encounters with those in authority are recounted with a frankness and honesty that bring a new perspective to incidents that have shaped the Guyana of today.
Dr Persaud continued to work tirelessly for both his business and philanthropic interests until his death on 16th January 2022 at the age of 93. He was described by Guyana’s President Dr Irfaan Ali as a “true son of the soil” and will always be remembered for his selfless dedication to the people, students and businesses of the Caribbean.
Yesu Persaud was a businessman, banker and philanthropist. The son of cane workers, he would eventually rise from his humble origins to become one of Guyana’s most successful entrepreneurs. Alongside his business career he freely gave of his time and experience to the many organisations he helped found to assist those less fortunate than himself. Amongst his many philanthropic activities was his keen and continuous support of educational activities at the University of Guyana. This allowed the University to create the Cheddi Jagan Lecture Theatre and, more recently, the Yesu Persaud Medical Training Centre. He was also a Trustee on the new University of Guyana Foundation and served for many years on the University’s Council.
Professor Emeritus David Dabydeen taught at the University of Warwick from 1984-2019. He is a Director of the Ameena Gafoor Institute and was elected an Honorary Fellow of Selwyn College, University of Cambridge in 2021. He served as Guyana’s Ambassador to UNESCO from 1997-2010, and was Guyana’s Ambassador to China from 2010-2015.
Lynne Macedo has a PhD in Caribbean Studies and is an Honorary Research Fellow of the Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies at the University of Warwick. She has previously taught at the Universities of Warwick, Aston and London Metropolitan, and has worked as General Editor for the Caribbean Press. Her publications include The Hook of Desire (Hansib Publications, 2023), Talking Words (UWI Press, 2011), Pak’s Britannica (UWI Press, 2011), No Land, No Mother (Peepal Tree Press, 2007), and Fiction & Film (Dido Press, 2003). She is currently compiling a Bibliography of Indentureship for the Ameena Gafoor Institute.