Destiny Group of Companies Chairman – David Singh Seeks Opportunities to help Guyanese!!

As appeared in the Kaieteur Newspaper, Guyana, Friday 7th July, 2006

Multi-millionaire to tackle poverty through AFC

• says education and health key factors for development

The Alliance For Change (AFC), with its belief that a change is imperative if Guyana is to move forward, has attracted the attention of several overseas investors from the Guyanese Diaspora, the most recent being Canadian businessman David Singh.

Speaking to Kaieteur News from his Queen Elizabeth Suite at Le Meridien Pegasus yesterday, Singh said that an educated, healthy and united people are the key to a prosperous nation, and he believes that the AFC has the right approach to garnering such results.

He said that after chatting with party leaders Raphael Trotman and Khemraj Ramjattan at a recent meeting in Toronto, he became motivated to travel to Guyana to render his support, hence his arrival on Wednesday.

Born and raised in Guyana , Singh departed Guyana some 32 years ago to successfully establish a line of businesses. He is currently the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Destiny Group of Companies in Canada .

Singh said that he has embarked on numerous ventures in many countries to provide and foster education and health with the aim of reducing poverty.

As a great reader, Singh said that he was driven to counter poverty after reading an ingenious book: ‘ The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid. Eradicating Poverty through profits’ , written by C. K. Prahalad.

With the knowledge acquired from that book, Singh said that he developed a great passion to help people deemed to be at the bottom of the pyramid, or less fortunate. “Ninety per cent of the world’s population just want food and a little money to take care of themselves and families, and to be able to have some dignity.”

He observed that the most successful countries do not care for the bottom stratum of people, and they are therefore neglected, thus setting the precedent for crime, racial hatred and other associated upheavals, Guyana being no exception.

This, Singh related, could only be rectified if people are educated and healthy, and are given a chance to uncover sustainable means of earning.

He disclosed that, while he had attempted in the past to embark on initiatives to combat the poverty situation in Guyana , his efforts were not readily accepted. But with the AFC’s stated endeavours, Singh said that he knows that the time is right to render the assistance he can afford to the land of his birth.

While his efforts will not be associated with the AFC’s campaign intents, Singh said that he will be standing in the party’s corner and fully supports the party’s way forward.

“I like the AFC platform, ideas and strategies and I embrace them wholly,” he disclosed. He said that he intends to work closely with the AFC, and would take cues and feedback from the AFC leaders on what areas the greatest help is needed in the various regions in Guyana .

As early as next week Singh said that he will tackle the education sector with a donation of computers, starting with his alma mater, West Demerara Secondary School .

He said that it is his belief that computer literacy is not very predominant in Guyana when compared to Barbados , where he has rendered much assistance. The health sector is also high on the agenda of assistance, Singh revealed.

He said that he has streamlined plans to donate a significant amount of antiretroviral to the local health sector in an attempt to assist the fight against HIV/AIDS, since Guyana accounts for the second highest incidence of the disease in the Caribbean .

Singh, who is also the owner of a Bank, said that he is prepared to supply people with small loans to create small businesses geared at providing them with a means of providing for their families.

While the assistance to be rendered has not yet been quantified, Singh said that, with the assistance of other business owners, fundraisers will be held to garner the necessary funding.

Singh noted, though, that while the initiative will serve to initiate a needful change, he intends to stay on board to ensure that the change is sustainable. AFC Vice Chairman Sheila Holder described Singh as ‘God-sent’, adding that there have been lots of misconceptions of the party’s source of funding.

“We have kept far from illicit or dirty money…the Guyanese Diaspora in Canada has responded tremendously, and similar support was forthcoming from New York ,” Holder related.

• She said the AFC recognises the significance and quality of the support it has gained, and is determined to put such expertise to work, not merely to raise funds, to build a reformed Guyana .

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