Surendra Sharma is leaving as Sugar Cane Growers Council Chief Executive at a critical time for cane farmers.
According to our sources with the 2009 harvesting and crushing season to start in a few days, the farmers are shocked that their CEO has decided to call it quits.
While we first broke the news about Sharma’s resignation on 4th May, the mainstream media like Fiji Television and Fiji Times were unable to report on it immediately due to censorship.
Fiji TV reported Sharma’s resignation on May 14 during their 6pm news while Fiji Times carried a story a day later.
Sharma was appointed by the NFU controlled Growers Council Board of which 9 of the 11 Members are from NFU/Labour.
Since the coup, when the then SCGC CEO Jagannath Sami was forcibly removed from office, firstly by coup leader Bainimarama on 27th December 2006 and later through Decree No. 1 of 2007 promulgated by President Josefa Iloilo, the NFU, which took control of the Council from the Fiji Cane Growers Association in an act of usurpation, has appointed two CEOs who have been dismal failures in protecting the interests of farmers, according to sources.
Jaishree Gawander, a former FLP MP was appointed to succeed Sami. He resigned from the position less than a year later to head the Sugar Research Institute of Fiji.
Sharma assumed office in November 2008 and he was appointed despite being a New Zealand citizen and in contravention of a standing SCGC resolution disallowing permanent residency holders and citizens from occupying the position.
Jagannath Sami was prevented from re-claiming his job in January 2007 despite the Lautoka High Court granting a stay order preventing the regime from removing him from office.