On Thursday 22 March 2018, OC0.03 in the Oculus was formally named as “The Yesu Persaud Lecture Theatre”.
Dr Persaud is a Guyanese philanthropist and businessman who has been a long-standing supporter of our Centre for Caribbean Studies, which has grown to become one of Europe’s leading institutions for Caribbean scholarship. In 2008 he was awarded an honorary degree for his extensive individual achievements. His philanthropic contributions to Warwick total over £750,000, including a gift of £550,000 to re-name the Centre for Caribbean Studies on its 25th anniversary in 2010.
The naming of the lecture theatre was timed to coincide with the centenary of the birth of Cheddi Jagon, former President and founding father of modern Guyana. Jagon was central to the establishment of the University of Guyana, and the unveiling was attended by their current Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith.
About Yesu Persaud
Dr Persaud has risen from working in the sugar cane fields of Guyana as a rat catcher to become one of the Caribbean’s most influential business leaders. In the 1950s Yesu emigrated to Britain where he worked in the Heinz factory in Manchester, and then for British Rail as a baggage handler. He then returned to his homeland to launch Demerara Rum (later Demerara Distillers Group) which he established as a leading brand across the Caribbean diaspora.
He is the founder and Chairman of the Institute of Private Enterprise Development in Guyana, which finances entrepreneurs and small businesses through micro-financing. He founded Guyana's first indigenous private sector bank, Demerara Bank Ltd and was the Chairman of the Private Sector Commission of Guyana, past President of the Guyana Manufacturers Association and the Vice President of the West Indies Rum and Spirits Association.
He has received several international and national awards including: the Gandhi Organisation Plaque for his contribution to promoting Indian culture in Guyana, the Cacique Crown of Honour for the development of new industries in Guyana in 1983, and the Glory of India Award and Certificate of Excellence by the India International Friendship Society in 2005. In 2006 India honoured him with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman for his outstanding contributions in business and Indian history and culture. Dr Persaud is a founding member of Guyana’s Indian Arrival Committee which was later converted into the Indian Commemoration Trust. He is one of the main people responsible for creating the Monument Garden which marks the arrival of the first batch of Indian indentured labourers to Guyana in 1838.