Well-known businessman and owner of the Denmor Garment Factory, Dennis Morgan, 64, died yesterday afternoon at a city hospital after suffering a heart attack, his daughter Upasna Morgan confirmed yesterday.
Upasna said that her father complained about chest pains and was taken to the hospital where he later died.
Clinton Urling, the President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, spoke of Morgan being an entrepreneur who revolutionised garment manufacturing in Guyana.
“It is with the deepest sympathies to the family of Mr. Morgan and personal grief that I write this,” said Urling. “Dennis was a remarkable entrepreneur who revolutionalized the clothing and textile industry in Guyana.
He was an astute businessman with an enormous heart and social conscience. Moreover, he was a true patriot who was willing to give his time to the development of Guyana and served in many advisory capacities on important policy bodies and forums,” he said.
Urling continued, “I remember his role as a facilitator at the Presidential Summit, which led to the development of the national competitiveness strategy. I also remember his contributions to an entrepreneurial development group where on a regular monthly basis he shared his insights, experiences and offered tremendous advice to young entrepreneurs, like myself, who were in attendance. Guyana has lost a great citizen and businessman and one whose business legacy will live on.”
Former Chairman of the Private Sector Commission Ramesh Dookhoo said in his tribute that Morgan has made a tremendous contribution to the private sector and to manufacturing.
“Dennis has been a longstanding member of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA),” he said. “Through the Caribbean Basin Initiative he put Guyana on the map as an industry leader in garment manufacturing,” Dookhoo said. “His loss is a severe blow to the manufacturing industry in Guyana. Our deepest sympathies to his family and friends,” said Dookhoo, calling Morgan an extremely friendly and affable person.
Morgan was born in 1949 and was the eldest of five brothers. His father worked at the Enmore Sugar Estate.
Morgan’s start in the garment business came when he got a job at Lysons Knitwear, which was at the time the time the largest garment manufacturer in the Caribbean.
According to a business feature carried in Stabroek Business on May 1, 2002, Morgan started “at the bottom” sweeping the factory floor and doing other menial jobs for which he was paid $18 a week. Morgan learned to drive and started doing delivery work taking garments up to the airport. The owners of that business M.V. Yassin and Omar Yassin took an interest in Morgan and took him under their wing, teaching him about the business and pushing him into various positions.
After fourteen years Morgan became that company’s Secretary Director. However, the two brothers died suddenly both within a year of each other and the business started to fall apart and Morgan was forced to leave.
By that time, Morgan had married his wife Sultana and had two young daughters to take care of.
He eventually went into partnership with Dennis Beepat, having built up a reputation in the business community which led to him receiving various offers. Beepat had a small garment factory in Barbados and Morgan worked there for a few years before returning and setting up Beesons Garment Exporters on Regent Street.
The US Caribbean Basin Initiative during this time gave preferential treatment to the Region under the 807 Contracts arrangement. But it was not easy for the company to find buyers willing to do business with Guyana. By 1992 when the economy picked up and Beepat wanted more room for its distribution business, the two men reportedly made an amicable agreement to close the garment manufacturing business.
It was at this time that Morgan approached the Government for land at the then new industrial estate at Coldingen to build a factory. He approached one bank and when the financing deal was close to being signed, he got news that the foreign business partners pulled the plug saying that the venture was too risky.
He approached the administration for help and received it and then on July 3, 1997 Denmor started manufacturing. He eventually expanded the factory three fold to 100,000 sq ft and producing for clothing lines and stores such as Russell Athletics, Victoria Secret, JC Penny, Walmart and Target among others. His factory was also certified for good employment practices as part of the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership. n addition to him being a businessman, Morgan also held the position of Chairman of the Police Service Commission for many years.