Venkat Raman –
At the first staff meeting held in June 2015 soon after purchasing Indian Newslink and all its brands, Managing Director Jacob Mannothra set ‘Promotion of Fiji, the country and its people’ as a corporate objective.
“We must not only enhance coverage of news from Fiji to serve the community in New Zealand but also promote business-to-business and people-to-people relationship. Fiji is one of the finest countries that I have visited,” he said.
Thereafter, Robert Khan, Managing Director, Radio Tarana offered ‘unlimited cooperation’ to make the idea a successful reality.
The concept took time to materialise but the first ‘Fiji Business Dinner’ held on Monday, March 21, 2016 at Pullman Hotel Auckland won the attention and interest of 50 important people in attendance. Trade Minister Todd McClay and Honorary Consul of Fiji in Auckland Harish Lodhia were among the Guests of Honour.
Expression of support
A number of speakers expressed their support to the concept, stating that they would either establish their business anew or expand their existing operations in Fiji, benefiting from the incentives and facilities offered by Prime Minister Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama and his government.
Dr David Fitzpatrick-Cockram, Chief Executive of the Auckland-based Eye Institute said that his organisation, already serving Fiji with visits, intended to improve its services through increased frequency.
“We have performed a number of operations and we are committed to improving eye care in Fiji,” he said.
Vino Ramayah, Executive Chairman of Medtech Global Limited said that his company has been providing primary healthcare services through Ramakrishna Mission and its General Secretary Swami Tadananda.
“We will explore further possibilities and opportunities,” he said.
Anil Thapliyal, Chief Executive of HealthTRX and close business associate of Mr Ramayah, who we regretfully forgot to invite to speak, is a Mental Health expert with ambitious plans for Fiji. We propose to facilitate his constructive engagement.
National MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi described Fijians as ‘hard-working people’ and that he would support ‘every effort aimed at strengthening our bond with Fiji.’
Ahemad Bhamji, former President of International Congress of Fiji Inc (ICFI), who is concerting all efforts to re-equip schools damaged by Tropical Cyclone Winston (on February 21), appealed for help.
“We are grateful to the Fijian government for their prompt action. We should support their efforts and help in every way possible. Thousands of chairs, tables, books, stationery, uniforms and other items are required for the damaged schools in various parts of Fiji. Many of us have studied in these schools and if each of us undertakes the responsibility for one school, our mission can be easily accomplished,” he said.
Sheetal Rana, Director, Star Global Solutions said that her company, which has a presence in Fiji and New Zealand will be actively involved with our initiative.
Mr Mannothra and Mr Khan were among the early speakers.
Wenceslaus Anthony, Chairman & Managing Director, WAML Group announced the establishment of the Indian Newslink Community Fund, a brief note on which appears on our front page of this issue. We will publish further details in our next issue.
Ahemad Bhamji, Vino Ramayah, Sheetal Rana and Wenceslaus Anthony at the ‘Fiji Business Dinner’ on March 21.
Pictures by Narendra Bedekar