Friday 10th July 2020
The National Federation Party says Fiji Sugar Corporation Chief Executive Graham Clark must take full responsibility for the colossal failure of FSC and resign immediately.
NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad says Clark, who has been FSC CEO for over three years, has presided over the demise of FSC, the deteriorating state of the sugar mills resulting in the Corporation being technically insolvent.
“The painful reality of this disastrous performance of FSC under Clark is the suffering of cane growers, canecutters, lorry operators, mill workers and their families”.
“He has enjoyed hefty salary, perks and privileges for far too long”.
“The beginning of the 2020 harvesting and crushing season has been one of the worst in recent history of the sugar industry due to lack of preparedness of Lautoka and Rarawai mills”.
“This is due to the shutdown of the Lautoka mill that has failed to start today and FSC’s decision to continue harvesting operations in the Lautoka mill area and for the cane to be transported to Rarawai mill in Ba”.
“But because of the inability of the Rarawai mill to operate at its maximum capacity or throughput, cane growers in the Western Division cane belt from Rakiraki to Sigatoka are suffering and incurring huge losses due to loss of tonnage as harvested cane either dries up in the fields or on lorries and rail carts”.
“The growers are incurring losses in trying to maintain the basic needs of idle cane cutters who either earn no income due to lack of harvesting or significantly reduced wages because of reduced or intermittent harvesting quota by FSC”.
“But FSC and Government, which has total control of the industry have turned a blind eye towards their suffering”.
“Growers are being kicked from pillar to post but all this government is interested in is promoting false propaganda of how well FSC is doing and how successful the so-called Strategic Plan is when the reality is completely the opposite”.
“While dark clouds of uncertainty and threat of total destruction of the livelihood of growers are hovering over them, the Prime Minister who has been the Minister for Sugar for 12 years is on a public relations stunt, gallivanting around the country and opening projects”.
“It is now clear that the PM has no knowledge on the sugar industry and is simply disinterested in what happens to growers”.
“People who cannot differentiate the root of a cane stalk from its top are in charge of the industry and leading everyone up the garden path”.
“This is the scandalous state of affairs plaguing the industry since the usurpation of democratic institutions and annihilation of growers’ rights as the largest and most important stakeholders in the industry in institutions to ensure checks and balances”.
“It is the result of obliteration of transparency and democracy in the sugar industry by the current Fiji First government and its total rejection of bipartisanship through a parliamentary select committee on sugar that would have prevented such failures by ensuring full compliance to all measures”.
Authorised by: -
Professor Biman Prasad