Too many people mistakenly believe that the only time they need to see a dentist is if they are experiencing excruciating pain or, for some reason, believe that something is wrong. But often times,
they’re missing the bigger picture. According to Cobeer ‘Anand’ Persaud, a dental visit can mean the difference between treating a simple toothache or detecting, at an early stage, an extremely complex oral
problem. As such, dental health care should always be taken seriously. Many Guyanese patients who have visited the C. Persaud Dental Lab and Clinic Inc. at 14 Peter’s Hall Public Road, East Bank Demerara (E.B.D) would have heard this lesson explained to them time and again. At this illustrious organization, patients are not only given the best in oral health care but a lesson on the importance of putting oral health care first.
At the youthful age of 53, Mr. Persaud says that being able to develop the family tradition of dental health care and a reputation of changing lives are just two of his most remarkable accomplishments. He would not have it any other way. In an exclusive interview with the Guyana Inc. Magazine, Mr. Persaud, born September 18, 1965 at Lot 28 Peter’s Hall Backstreet, shared extensively about his love for life, family and dental health care.
No shame in working for an honest dollar
Born as the last of eight children to Liloutie Persaud and now deceased, Harry Persaud, Anand shared a home with his five sisters and two brothers. He recalled that in his earlier years, because of lack of finances, he would usually go to the ‘back dam’ to help his mother where she planted crops. Meanwhile, on weekends, he would go to Nandy Park and weed the yards of people who needed the assistance.
“We would even help to empty their garbage bins or clean their septic tanks for a dollar. There was no shame for us in working to earn an honest dollar,” he said, adding that, “Even when I was in school, on Fridays, I remember that the Neighbourhood Democratic Council tractor used to pass to throw off garbage and we would follow it. When they dumped the garbage, we would forage through it to see what we could find. Those were very tough times.” Persaud said that his upbringing taught him to always be honest and not exploit people. He urged, “Don’t always think about money.” While Persaud’s mother did what she needed
to do in order to make ends meet, it was his father, although lacking the necessary qualifications, who
was part of the dental care industry. Persaud shared that his interest in dental care was sparked when he was sent, at the age of 12, to live with his dad. At the time, his father worked as a dental care personnel in Herstelling. It was while living there that he actually developed the skill of making dentures. Persaud
recalled, however, that he was not encouraged along that path by his father. He said that the unfortunate lack of backing in the home to adopt the “family trade” led to many of his “rebellious boyish” moments. In this regard, Persaud shared that he often got away from home and went with the boys to catch fish and crab. He surmised that he enjoyed a regular childhood until his father passed away in 1981.
Time to be my own man; my own Boss
After making his wedding vows in 1983, Mr. Persaud got his first child in 1985. At that time, he had secured employment at the Guyana Stock Fields Limited as a Livestock Assistant. But on the ninth day of his child being in this world, Persaud decided that that was the last time he was working for someone else. “It was time to be my own man and my own boss,” he told this magazine.
Despite his determination, it took Persaud three years to get his business up and running. Among his many challenges was the lack of the necessary tools for the trade.
“That was a huge problem for me at the time. But, I have to thank the people of Linden, because my dad did a lot of house-to-house work in that area and since he died, the people of Linden became my first set of customers when I started up. As for the tools, I have a good friend whose mother gave me the tools and I worked and paid her back for them. So that worked out.” After defying the financial odds, another concern for Persaud was the space to house his business. He recalled that he lived out of a 12ft x12ft room with his wife and child, but was never discouraged by his circumstances. Persaud proudly stated that he took steps to expand until he was able to buy a property for the business. He worked single-handedly before taking on other staff. After coming through trying times, Persaud said that his successful establishment is at its peak. It aims to provide high quality Dentistry at an affordable cost to all Guyanese. Persaud said that it was never a ‘get rich quick’ task for him; it was always about making his custom Assistants, two Dental Nurses and 26 Dental Technicians. His is one of the biggest dental facilities in the Caribbean.
Unlike other places, Persaud shared that customers can get a consultation for free with accompanying educational guidelines on oral hygiene. This is the only company as well that has a layaway plan where customers can make down payments for services offered and pay the balance over a period of time.
Additionally, Persaud shared that among the services offered is the making and repair of porcelain and acrylic crowns and bridges, while matching the shade of the customer’s own teeth. The business offers X-rays on the spot and does normal dental extractions and whitening, while making and repairing gold caps/
crowns for all sizes and styles.
There are services for the natural teeth or dentures, which include full mouth cleaning and polishing. This can be done on the same day of visit.
Offering his opinion on the business environment in Guyana, Persaud said that one of the problems with the dental care industry is that most of the dentists just work for a few hours in the day and the money that is charged is representative of exploitation. Persaud believes that because of his difference in approach,
people flock to his establishment by the hundreds, coming from various countries across the world.
He sincerely believes that there is a need for fairness from all practitioners.
Apart from the high-quality work that Persaud and his team delivers, he said that the hallmark of his business is customer service and how comfortable each client is made to feel. “I am always open to suggestions about how I can improve my business and make customers feel as though they are in a pleasant environment. I always tell my staff that they must treat our clients with the utmost respect and care because, at the end of the day, they are not obligated to bring their business here.” “So they are our priority and they must be treated as such. They choose to come here and we should be thankful for them. It is our duty to take care of them. I also tell them that honesty is the best policy and to never try to rob the customer, always make sure they are satisfied.”
Persaud always had dreams of becoming a police officer. But although this did not materialise, he has made
significant strides in the active role he plays in communitypolicing. In fact, Persaud shared that it was through the community policing initiative that he was able to elevate himself. Persaud became the only civilian in this country to have 16 awards for his outstanding performance. Healso served as Treasurer for the A Division for seven years.
It is a movement that he loves and is still a part of. With that aside, Persaud is also a proud family man. He
has four children; three girls and one boy. He disclosed to the Guyana Inc. Magazine that his four wonderful children were the product of the 26 years of marriage that he shared with Jasmatti Persaud. As fate would have it, however, that marriage ended in divorce ten years ago. Not allowing himself to be deterred by this rough patch though, Persaud remarried Sandra Vijaylaxmi Tiwari. Their union is currently in its fifth year.
Amid chuckles, Persaud said that marriage has taught him to be a better man and to work harder. “It is not going to be easy, but it will be worth it. Trust me on that.” Asked to state what his most valuable lesson to date has been, Persaud categorically stated, “Honesty is the best policy.” His advice to the newer generation of dentists is to never stop learning. He said, “Dentistry is not static. It’s always moving. It’s always hanging. They need to continue to learn and grow as Dentistry grows.”
Additionally, Persaud believes that no one should wait for opportunities but should create them. “If you are just waiting around and waiting for people to knock on your door, you’re gonna go broke. You need to create opportunities and when you get those opportunities; you need to really take advantage of them.”
Reflecting on his career, Persaud said that he feels like the luckiest man in the world, having gotten so much out of dentistry. It is more than he could ever imagine. He now wishes every dental student the career he has had; reminding that it remains a worthy venture for anyone.
Persaud used his last remarks to remind readers that taking good care of their mouth, teeth and gums is a orthy goal. Good oral and dental hygiene can help prevent bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease and can help keep strong teeth as you get older. Remember, a simple check-up can mean the difference
in detecting something small or nipping a complex problem in the bud. Don’t hesitate to visit Persaud’s company, C. Persaud Dental Lab and Clinic Inc. at 14 Peter’s Hall Public Road, E.B.D today.