Barbados-born economist Avinash Persaud is taking on a new assignment, this time as senior economic advisor to the prime minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit.
Persaud was seen accompanying Skerrit to the New York-based United Nations (UN) over the weekend, where the Dominican leader delivered a speech pleading for assistance for his hurricane-ravaged country, which he said “reflects a zone of war”.
Persaud, a former chairman of the subcommittee of the UN Commission on Financial Reform, is tasked with helping in the economic recovery and rebuilding of Dominica, which was paralyzed by Hurricane Maria last week.
The monstrous category five storm killed at least 27 people in Dominica, with an equal number missing and feared dead, and the authorities predicting that it left behind billions of dollars in damage.
The journey to economic recovery is expected to be an arduous one, and Barbados TODAY understands the government of Dominica could be making a formal announcement of Persaud’s role in the coming weeks.
However, in response to a question from Barbados TODAY, an upbeat Persaud confirmed his latest role saying: “Yes, I was in New York with prime minister Skerrit assisting with his meetings at the UN and others. I am prime minister Skerrit’s senior economic advisor tasked with helping the economic recovery and rebuilding.”
He said despite the unimaginably difficult circumstances in Roseau, a lot of progress was being made “on the humanitarian front”. However, Persaud said the situation in that country still “demands immediate attention” as economic recovery remained “a major task”.
“There is much more access to food and water, thanks in large part to the generosity of Caribbean brothers and sisters and the local emergency teams embedded in each community. Power is coming back to the [Princess Margaret] Hospital and parts of the country. Communication too, is coming back. There is relief everywhere though the south west remains a challenge.
“Economic recovery remains a major task, but as I say, Dominica is making progress on developing recovery plans that will build an even better, more resilient Dominica. It is inspiring to see that despite the trauma, Dominicans are making the decisions and choices that will shape their own recovery,” the Barbadian economist said.
Persaud, a former senior executive of JP Morgan, the Swiss global financial services company UBS, the American worldwide financial services company State Street and global asset management firm GAM London Limited, was involved in the now stalled controversial Four Seasons project in Barbados between 2010 and 2012 as part of a team trying, but failing, to raise money to pay creditors.
The internationally acclaimed economist also served as the economic expert on the UK government’s advisory panel on public sector information between 2005 and 2009.
He also served in a number of other distinguished and senior positions around the world.