A True Son Of Fiji

Sundip Patel was a true son of Fiji, Attorney-General and Finance Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said yesterday. He told mourners at the trailblazing businessman’s funeral that Mr Patel was: – someone
01 Jan 2015 11:41
A True Son Of Fiji
FAMILY SORROW: Grandfather Jayantilal Patel comforts his grandson Jay during the funeral yesterday of Jay’s father Sundip Patel, the Managing Director of CJ Patel Group of Companies. Mr Patel is survived by his wife Shveta and children Alisha, Sonia and Jay. Photo: Rama

Sundip Patel was a true son of Fiji, Attorney-General and Finance Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said yesterday.

He told mourners at the trailblazing businessman’s funeral that Mr Patel was:

– someone who wanted to help make Fiji a better place rather than just make profits,

– practised corporate social responsibility and job creation,

– and was ethical, compassionate and kind in all he did.

Delivering an eulogy at the final rites for Mr Patel, 52, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said:

“He was one of those businesspeople who while being very savvy for his commercial interest was also one who believed in corporate social responsibility. He defied the image of typical businessman who is ruthless and monofocused on money. Sundip on the other hand was a man of honour and dignity.

“I admire him for the fact that he had genuine and real interest in making Fiji a better place. He was not always after immediate profits, he saw the long term goals.”

President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau led many mourners from family, Government, business, and the community at Dignified Cremations in Nakasi. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama personally delivered a wreath to the Patel family home in Waimanu Road.

Mr Patel, the managing director of the CJ Patel Group, died on Sunday after suffering a heart attack while exercising on a treadmill at home.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said Mr Patel had a long term vision of job creation in Fiji.

“He did not believe in monopolies or having preferential treatments. He was an ethical businessman, which some would consider paradox.

“These traits ladies and gentlemen, aren’t readily available in many businesspeople genuinely wanting to make Fiji an economic powerhouse and not just for themselves.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said without hesitation Mr Patel had allowed CJ Patel chief financial officer Ajith Kodagoda to sit on a number of statutory boards without seeking any remuneration.

“It was his allegiance to his country that he committed even further from 2007 onwards.

“He allowed his right hand man Ajith Kodagoda to sit on various statutory boards when many businesspeople were sitting on the fence, as many do since they are not able to distinguish between their business interests and the interests of our country.

“He was able to do so. He did not expect Ajith to collect board fees or any other benefits. Ajith didn’t and still hasn’t. Sundip went against the tide of time and that takes guts and a philosophical conviction and he had those.

“He did remarkable things, achieved much without anyone knowing about it, without a song and a dance, without feeling the need to tell everyone, without being obnoxious. He was a quiet achiever and a man with fortitude.

“I remember in one of our private conversations earlier this year, he said how he loved the fact that every citizen of Fiji was now called a Fijian, how we should grow our economy to take services to all Fijians, including medical services.

“This is why perhaps Sundip was also known to have an inclusive style of leadership and a genuine concern and care for all.

“I have to say this that Sundip was also an ex-Marist, as some of us in this room are. He was and should be a role model for people who are businessmen or want to be businessmen.

“He was not only known for his commercial and financial acumen, but his wider interest and commitment to his country, his family, his friends, and those who worked with and for him.”

Employees from all Fijian subsidiary companies of the CJ Patel Group were present at Dignified Cremations to pay their final respect to the man admired by all. They lined the driveway as the hearse arrived carrying Mr Patel’s flower-laden coffin.


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