Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has paid tribute to the Permanent Secretary for the Sugar Ministry, Manasa Vaniqi, who died on New Years Day after a short illness.
Manasa dedicated his life to service and in doing so, placed the needs of our nation before his own. His immense contribution over the years has brought about significant change; particularly in the sugar industry where he served as Permanent Secretary, Mr Bainimarama said.
To Meiva Vaniqi and family, you are in our thoughts and prayers during this time of sadness.
Mr Vaniqi is understood to have been admitted to Lautoka Hospital on New Years Eve and died early in New Years Day.
He was 63 years old.
Mr Vaniqi had been Permanent Secretary since 2011 and his death has shocked the sugar industry.
Fiji Sugar Corporation Executive Chairman Abdul Khan said he was lost for words and that the death would be a huge loss to the industry.
Mr Khan said Mr Vaniqi had helped shape the industry over the years.
Fiji Sugar Cane Growers Council CEO Sundresh Chetty said it was a sad day for the sugar industry and that Mr Vaniqi had contributed a lot and had brought positive changes.
Mr Vaniqi was also the chairman of the Sugar Cane Growers Fund and a board member of the Sugar Research Institute of Fiji.
He was originally from Wailevu, Cakaudrove, and had been a career public servant.
Mr Vaniqi was also a territorial force soldier in the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, holding the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.