Persaud loses battle with cancer

Tributes have begun to pour in for Barbados Companion of Honour awardee Bishnodat Vishnu Persaud who died on Sunday, July 24 at age 82.

The Guyana-born Persaud, a former director of the Central Bank of Barbados and Chief Technical Coordinator of the Caribbean trade negotiating team, passed away in the United Kingdom after a battle with cancer.

A former head of the Eastern Caribbean branch of the Institute of Social and Economic Research of the University of the West Indies (UWI) at Cave Hill and a founding Director of the Centre for the Environment and Development in Jamaica, Persaud received the Companion of Honour in the 2014 Independence Day Honours for his contribution to economic development in the region and internationally.

His passing is a “huge loss to the coterie of outstanding advocates of more equitable international economic relations”, former Secretary General of the Commonwealth Chief Emeka Anyaoku said.

“[He was] a Caribbean scholar whose life had a global reach . . . . His life of service will forever inspire all who the memory of him touches,” added Sir Shridath Ramphal, the first Caribbean national and the second person to serve as Secretary General of the intergovernmental grouping of former British dependents.

Similar tributes came from global and international figures, including academics and diplomats.

UWI Vice-Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles said Persaud had a “brilliant mind” and was a “visionary” leader.

“It is indeed sad when The University and the Caribbean lose such a brilliant mind like Professor Persaud’s. His visionary leadership sought to increase the capacity of our institution to address issues of sustainable development and even as our region continues to grapple with the global economic recession and other sustainability challenges, we hold a deep sense of gratitude for the foundation he created. I am confident that his legacy will live on,” Sir Hilary said.

His son Avinash said the funeral will take place on Friday, August 5 in London. UWI’s flags will fly at half-mast in honour and memory of his contribution.  

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