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Fiji loses two industry legends within days

YP Reddy and Vinod Patel.

Fiji lost two of her business pioneers and industry stalwarts in the first week of the New Year. Rich tributes have been paid by the Fijian government and business organisations around Fiji for the two men whose contribution to the growth of Fiji is indeed extraordinary.

These visionary leaders have left an indelible mark on Fiji’s business landscape, creating enduring enterprises that have significantly shaped the country’s socio-economic fabric for nearly six decades.

Y.P. Reddy (Yanktesh Permal Reddy), departed at the age of 89 in Auckland on January 4. As the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Reddy Group, his influence extended beyond Fiji, with the group’s hospitality operations with their flagship Tanoa Group extending to Pacific Island countries, New Zealand, and the UK. Y.P Reddy’s legacy is carried forward by his wife Vimla Wati Reddy, son Rohit, and daughters Sandra, Kamini, Kalpana, and Elizabeth. The Memorial Service on January 6 in Auckland, drew a multitude paying respects to a leader whose wisdom in business, discipline, and tenacity will resonate for generations.

Vinod Patel, the Founder and Chairman of Fiji’s redoubtable Vinod Patel Group, passed away at the Aspen Hospital in Lautoka on January 5. He was 84. Wife Manjula, son Daksesh, and daughters Kritida and Leena survive him. His funeral took place in Ba, where he was born and raised, on January 9. It was attended by more than 500 people with several senior government ministers including Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka delivering eulogies.

Mr Rabuka said he was fortunate to have been closely associated with Mr Reddy and Mr Patel during his term as PM from 1992 to 1999. He continued his association with them when he spent more than a decade out of politics.

“Both these gentlemen became renowned not only for their corporate achievements, but as philanthropists and community luminaries. They showed care, compassion and empathy for others,” he said.

In conclusion, the Prime Minister said, “I am sure Mr Patel and Mr Reddy will be surrounded by grace and compassion as they make their way to the afterlife. Farewell to both of them and my condolences to their families.”

Beyond their business accomplishments, Mr Reddy and Mr Patel were recognised and respected for their contributions to sports, community development, and religious institutions and activities. Mr. Reddy’s Order of the British Empire (OBE) and Companion of the Order of Fiji attest to his service to communities. Both were recipients of the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (an annual award conferred on persons of Indian origin living outside India in recognition of their achievements) from the Indian government. 

The two business groups covered a large swathe of the region beyond Fiji, including Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and beyond. 

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