Taiwan contributes EC 20 million in grants to St Vincent

Ambassador Baushuan Ger File Photo

Speaking at the Taiwan National Day Celebrations here in Kingstown, St Vincent on Monday evening Ambassador Baushuan Ger said Under his country’s foreign policy, as a member of the global community, Taiwan is willing to participate in international cooperation efforts, sharing benefits and shouldering responsibilities with our partners from around the world.

With that said, he thanked St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ for their unwavering and vocal endorsement for Taiwan’s international participation.

Ambassador Ger expressed appreciation to Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves for urging the United Nations to open its arms to Taiwan during his speech at the General Debate in September last year.

At this year’s UN General Debate, Sir Louis Straker, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, made it clear to the body that the continuing denial of Taiwan’s participation in the UN demands correction.

Similarly, at the World Health Assembly in Geneva in May this year, Hon. Luke Browne, Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment, was outspoken for Taiwan at both the committee and the Plenary.

“Last year on this day, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves was leading an official delegation visiting Taiwan. I was thrilled when I saw the national flag of St. Vincent and the Grenadines flying high, side by side with our national flag, along with the grand boulevard in front of the Presidential Office. It was a rewarding moment of joy and pride because it was the perfect demonstration of the firm friendship between our two countries”.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1981, the Republic of China (Taiwan) and St. Vincent and the Grenadines have been reliable and firm partners in the fields of infrastructure, agriculture, information technology, health, education, and human resources development.

“I will be forthright and say that Taiwan is a valuable partner. Just look at the way we implement our bilateral projects. We have always worked closely together with our Vincentian counterparts”.

Ambassador Ger said the Argyle International Airport perfectly exemplifies the bilateral cooperation, as in February, both nations witnessed together the opening of this historic landmark.

His Excellency further noted that Taiwan was pleased to have been involved in this game-changing project, especially in the construction of the beautiful terminal building.

“I would be proud to say that during the nine-month peak construction season, Taiwanese companies dispatched up to only50 engineers from home while over 300 Vincentians were employed on the construction site every single day”.

“Even in the offseason of the project, 50 or so local employees were working under the payroll of the OECC, the Taiwanese construction company for the terminal building”.

As with St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Taiwan regards education as a top priority for our children’s future.

In August, 17 Vincentian students left the shores of SVG to pursue degrees in Taiwan under scholarship programs.

This will take the total number of scholarship recipients to 143 since 2004; the number does not reflect those who applied for the scholarships offered by universities in Taiwan on their own.

“In August, Taiwan handed over the keys of the school buses we contributed in celebration of the establishment of our diplomatic relations 36 years ago”.

“As to the annual bursaries to the primary, secondary and college students, in response to the need of those who are financially challenged, my government has decided to double the annual assistance funding from 100,000 USD to 200,000 this year”.

“In other words, our back-to-school bursaries this year will be doubled to 537,000 EC Dollars, and that will benefit 800 or more students in the country”.

In addition to scholarship funding, Taiwan is committed to sponsoring SET and YES programmes. Every year, we contribute 2.8 million EC Dollars to assist about 500 young people in participating in YES programme.

“This year, an extra 1.34 million EC Dollars will be instilled into the project to enrol 167 more young people in the 2017-2018 SET and YES programmes”.

In the field of infrastructure, Ambassador Ger said his Government had pledged an extra 5.37 million EC Dollars to assist the road and bridge rehabilitation projects.

“In the area of public health, aside from the regular medical missions and training programmes, we dispatched in September an anesthesiologist to assist the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital for six weeks. And another anesthesiologist will come as a replacement in late October for another four weeks”.

This year alone, Taiwan will contribute a total of 7.6 million US Dollars, that is, 20 million EC Dollars in grants, to our bilateral cooperation projects.