I write to express condolences on the passing of Mr Inderjeet (Indi) Beharry. He comes from a very close-knit family. Indi and his family members achieved great success in cultivating the Beharry Group of Companies into a global entity. Indi himself was a business genius. He was an honest businessman. I admired his talent in business and his kindness. There are very few people who are as transparent and business-savvy and energetic as he was. The paths he (and his father) blazed in America for Guyanese and the Indian Diaspora in business for minorities will remain unmatched. And his and the family’s contributions to Guyana will forever be appreciated. Indi has left behind an indelible legacy of entrepreneurship and charitable activities. Beharry’s was a trendsetter in corporate philanthropy under Indi’s leadership. The Guyanese and Caribbean Diaspora have benefited tremendously from the family’s entrepreneurial vision and passion for helping the less fortunate. In Indi’s passing, Guyana is poorer in business acumen and business development.
I met Indi some 25 years ago on a flight to Guyana from JFK. And we exchanged phone numbers. We met several times thereafter by mere coincidence at JFK, interacted in flight or in Guyana. He was a very reserved man, but he did not hesitate to engage me, sharing his views on a range of issues, including Guyana’s politics and the economy. We spoke after the change in Government in May 2015 and we spoke again about a year ago through historian Pat Dial, who was a close family friend of Indi. I am grateful for the political views he expressed about our country. They shall remain confidential.
Indi Beharry also discussed his family businesses and his father’s and mother’s role in them. Although the public saw the old man (Edward who served in the PPP 1957 Cabinet under Cheddi Jagan), as the brain of the business, Indi credited his mother for success. She was extremely hard-working and industrious. And at one time, he suggested that I interview his mother about his parents’ early involvement in business, starting out in market stalls and migrating to New York City where they traded in foreign currency becoming one of the largest currency traders in the world. The company traded on Wall Street. The Beharry children (Indi and others) and grandchildren would expand the business into the very successful Beharry Group of Companies (cigarettes, spices, drugs, chowmein, etc.) that had many achievements and that also contributed significantly to varied charitable causes.
Indi was highly respected, a business titan in Guyana and even in the Wall Street environment. He was a gentle giant in the business community with a very simple personality. He never bragged about his family business’s success or its philanthropic activities. He let the public and beneficiaries do the talking from their appreciation of the company’s accomplishments.
He did not socialise much and his time was committed to his business and his family. He worked tirelessly to expand the family business, venturing into other fields than spices.
His life is an example for all to emulate. The legacy he created will be felt for generations to come. At the wake I attended and the funeral, people mourned his passing while celebrating his lasting legacy. They honoured the exemplary life of an outstanding Guyanese and American entrepreneur.
Guyana has lost a gem, philanthropist, and business leader. From the success of his family empire to the company’s unending generosity and invaluable leadership in business and providing employment, Indi touched the lives of countless people. They are grateful to and will always remember him.