UG’s management school should be named for Peter D’Aguiar
I write in relation to Freddie Kissoon’s article `Lee and Taylor: Footnotes in the Shakespearean wind’ in the Features section of the Kaieteur News of October 3, 2012. I do not agree with Mr. Kissoon’s interpretation of Guyanese history and many of the opinions he expressed in this article. However, my purpose for writing is not to do battle with Mr. Kissoon but to support the view that the life of Peter D’Aguiar “needs to be kept alive”.
Peter D’Aguiar was a brilliant businessman and possibly the most successful Guyanese businessperson of his time. He was a captain of industry and a champion of the private sector. His skills as a businessperson should be celebrated and emulated and I wish to offer a thought on how this could be achieved for the benefit of the country.
Before I do, however, it must be noted that Mr. D’Aguiar’s fight against perceived communism blinded him to the realities of Guyanese politics and his foray into national politics had disastrous consequences for the country, the effects of which are still being felt to this day. And the PPP too, in sidelining Mr. D’Aguiar and his party, drove him into coalition with the PNC, a move Mr. D’Aguiar later regretted. In fact his statement after he parted company with the PNC and his retreat into solitude point to his disillusionment over the future and what he had helped to create.
I live in Ontario, Canada. Over here all the major, internationally recognised universities have business schools that are named after prominent philanthropists and business leaders, e.g. University of Toronto – Rotman School of Management, York University – Schulich School of Business, University of Western Ontario – Ivey School of Business, University of Windsor – Odette Business School. This has happened because the corporate world recognised that Government alone cannot adequately fund the operation of a university. Consequently, wealthy business families and corporations have been willing to hand over millions of dollars to universities in return for having their names attached to these universities.
If we look closer, we see Mr. Yesu Persaud’s (Chairman of DDL) name is now attached to Warwick University – Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies. The Centre’s website states “In 2010 on its 25th anniversary, the Centre was re-named the Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies in honour of the Guyanese philanthropist and businessman and in recognition of his long association with and support for the Centre…” I believe that “support” included a significant sum of money that was given to Warwick.
Based on the above and being a proud alumnus of the University of Guyana (UG), I strongly urge my high school classmate, Mr. Clifford Reis, Managing Director of Banks DIH, to consider making an appropriate endowment to the University of Guyana in the name of Banks DIH founder, Mr. Peter D’Aguiar, in exchange for Mr. D’Aguiar’s name being conferred on the UG’s school of management and business. Also, I strongly urge the leadership of the UG to be proactive and seek the support of Mr. Reis to make this a reality. This will be a fitting recognition of Mr. D’Aguiar, a man whose ideas and philosophy are now being embraced by both the PPP and the PNC, and a tremendous benefit to Guyana in training future entrepreneurs.