Keeping it in the Family

For decades, perhaps in some cases even close to a century, family businesses have formed the backbone of the Guyana economy. Some of these, like Psaila Bros., Rodrigues Limited, the Wright Brothers (Russian Bear) Bettencourts, Elias and Sons, D. M. Fernandes Ltd., R. B. Gajraj and Sons Limited, Jaikaran’s Drug Store, may have faded out of national memory. Some are in transition such as A. Mazaharally & Sons Ltd., A. Amerally and Sons Ltd., Toolsie Persaud Limited., A.H. & L. Kissoon Ltd. and Rahaman Soda Factory Ltd. We recall too the name B. & J. Khan and Daughters suggesting no sons.

Then there are a few family businesses which have survived but are not particularly active such as C.R. Jacobs and Ltd. and Central Garage Ltd. Of the still surviving and active family businesses John Fernandes Limited is perhaps the most successful, and prominent, growing into, by acquisition and organic growth into a conglomerate although A. Gafoor & Sons Limited has grown into a huge operation in its chosen line of business. And let us remember too that Banks DIH Ltd started as D’Aguiar Bros Limited and that Bookers itself that once was the B in British Guiana was once Booker Bros.

Why some of those family businesses succeeded while others failed requires much more than a newspaper column and would make an interesting study for the resourceful student of the University of Guyana. Indeed, such a study would make for a good book.

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