NEWS

Attorney-General Surprises Cane Lorry Drivers

The Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, yesterday made a surprise visit to lorry drivers lined up outside the Labasa Mill with their loads of sugarcane. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum stopped by to get their
30 Aug 2015 10:33
Attorney-General Surprises Cane Lorry Drivers
Attorney-General and Minister for Finance Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum (middle), met with the Labasa sugarcane lorry drivers at the Labasa Mill to hear their problems during his visit to Labasa yesterday. Photo: Shratika Naidu

The Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, yesterday made a surprise visit to lorry drivers lined up outside the Labasa Mill with their loads of sugarcane.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum stopped by to get their views on the 2016 National Budget and also to listen to prolems they have.

“I am here to meet you, talk to you and hear your problems and see how I can help you although the 2016 National Budget consultation has finished at the Labasa Civic Centre,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“You must understand that the Bainimarama Government is prepared to listen to your plight and if possible please write to us,” he told the lorry drivers.

Suresh Tikaram, 53, of Tabia, Labasa, complained to Mr Sayed-Khaiyum that the FSC mill, after one week into the crushing season, had not been performing well as expected.

“More than 500 lorry drivers line up to deliver their loads of cane at the mill daily and sometime we spend more than 12 to 15 hours in the queue,” Mr Tikaram told Mr Sayed-Khaiyum.

“There are no street lights, no toilet, no eating place and no resting place for us to use while we wait in the line,” he said.

Mohammad Faroof, 51, of Labasa, told Mr Sayed-Khaiyum that there would often be communication breakdowns between the field officer and the person at the computer desk taking record of the loads of cane delivered at the mill.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum promised them their concerns would be looked into.

Fiji Sugar Corporation executive chairman Abdul Khan last night said the FSC had already started working on issues highlighted by the lorry drivers.

“What we have said to the lorry drivers is to please come up with suggestions and how do they think we can reduce their waiting time and unfortunately none of the lorry drivers has come forward with any suggestions as of yet but we are still hopeful they will.

“We take their concerns seriously. We have just started levelling off an area where the lorry drivers can park and facilities such as toilets and water would be provided. We have also built them a shed where they can sit and rest while waiting.

“In terms of meals, we still provide them with meals if we know that they would need to be waiting because of delays in the mills. And, if any lorry driver does not receive meals, they are at full liberty to give me a call and it will be definitely followed through.”

Yusuf Hussein of Seaqaqa, Labasa thanked Mr Sayed-Khaiyum for making time to come and see them and they hoped he would do something about the performance of the mill.

The lorry drivers said they were honoured that a senior Government Minister had made time to visit them and to take their views on something of national importance.

Feedback: shratikan@fijisun.com.fj

 

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