A staunch ally of Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry is regretting his decision to listen and act on the wishes of his political leader.
M Krishnamurti, the former head of Fiji Sugar Corporation’s research station, aroused anger amongst the indigenous landowners and even Indo-Fijian farmers for his report calling for the de-reservation of all native land in Fiji.
The report recommended that all native land be converted to state land to increase sugar cane cultivation and stated this was the most viable ay to resolve the issue of expiring land leases.
When his report was made public by the media in February 2008, the then interim minister for finance and sugar Mahendra Chaudhry, who had commissioned the report, accused the media of twisting facts.
The report led to the suspension of the Permanent Secretary for Sugar Peniasi Sikivou who publicly criticised the report saying it was aimed at eroding the ownership rights of landowners.
However, according to sources, Krishnamurti, who has been a New Zealand citizen for many years, told his close friends he now feels he was used to fulfill Chaudhry’s personal and political agenda.
Krishnamurti recently finished his year long contract as a senior research officer at the Sugar Industry Research Institute – SRIF.
According to our sources Krishnamurti initially believed the Labour leader’s rhetoric of reviving the industry, but he now says the industry has plummeted to almost the point of no return after Chaudhry, FLP and National Farmers Union took charge of the industry from January 2007.
Sources have also told us that Krishnamurti believes the recent announcement for the Penang mill to start crushing in May will backfire on the industry and the interim regime because of poor cane quality.
According to him, there is low sugar content in cane, because it has not flowered.
Flowering is a sign that the crop is mature and has excellent sugar content.