(MENAFN - Caribbean News Now) By Caribbean News Now contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia — On June 28, Caribbean News Now published President of Taiwan Her Excellency Tsai Ing-wen will make an inaugural visit to Nevis on July 14, 2019, integral to the commencement of Pinney's recreational park project at the cost of US$3 million, funded by Taiwan in collaboration with the Nevis Island Administration (NIA).
On July 1, the office of the president Tsai Ing-wen announced a state visit to Haiti, St Christopher and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Saint Lucia from July 11-22; countries that have diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
The delegation will include the National Security Council Secretary-General David T. Lee (李大維), Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), Minister Wu Hsin-hsing(吳新興) of the Overseas Community Affairs Council, and other cabinet and deputy cabinet members, members of the Legislative Yuan, and representatives of business and industry.
The purpose of this visit is to demonstrate the importance Taiwan places on our Caribbean allies and continue to strengthen our friendly ties with them.
At the press conference, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Miguel Li-Jey Tsao pointed out that this state visit centers around the themes of freedom, democracy, and sustainability because the four Caribbean countries president Tsai Ing-wen delegation will be visiting, as well as the United States where she will make transit stops, are all free, democratic, like-minded partners of Taiwan. All these countries actively promote democracy and freedom in the region.
Vice Minister Tsao emphasized that pursuing summit diplomacy and building personal friendships with top leaders of Taiwan's diplomatic allies is a key focal point of the government's diplomatic work and is the most important task for Taiwan as it seeks to promote "steadfast diplomacy" and solidify alliances.
During this state visit, the delegation will visit Taiwan's various cooperative programs helping to promote sustainable development in these countries, and we will work to achieve the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), he said.
Vice Minister Tsao further stated that over the course of the state visit, president Tsai Ing-wen will meet with Haitian President Jovenel Moise, St Christopher and Nevis Governor-General Sir Tapley Seaton and Prime Minister Timothy Harris, St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, and Saint Lucia Governor-General Emmanuel Neville Cenac and Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, respectively.
While on St Kitts and Nevis, President Tsai Ing-wen will discuss and exchange ideas with them regarding bilateral and international issues of mutual concern and attend state banquets held in her honor. The Order of St Christopher and Nevis, the country's highest honor, will also be conferred upon President Tsai Ing-wen by Governor-General Sir Samuel Weymouth Tapley Seaton for her outstanding contributions to our bilateral friendship; and deliver an address to the Parliament of St Kitts and Nevis.
Vice Minister Tsao further explained that President Tsai Ing-wen will visit a number of Taiwan's bilateral cooperative projects in these countries, and further advocate Taiwan's steadfast diplomacy with mutual assistance for mutual benefits, so that our allies can achieve the UN's SDGs. She will also attend a banquet with Taiwan Scholarship recipients and alumni from Taiwan universities, and will host a banquet for our ambassadors, technical missions, and their spouses, to show our government's care, concern, and encouragement for their work.
Vice Minister Tsao also mentioned that as Taiwan's diplomatic allies in the Caribbean all place high priority on attracting foreign investments and promoting tourism, representatives of industry in Taiwan will be invited to organize a delegation to attend a Taiwan Product Exhibition in Haiti that will coincide with the upcoming trip.
President Tsai Ing-wen and Haitian President Jovenel Moise will jointly preside over the ribbon cutting ceremony at the exhibition to signal their firm intention to continue strengthening the two countries' economic and trade partnership. Also, Taiwan will dispatch a tourism industry delegation to explore the travel environment and market trends in St Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
They will have the opportunity to establish channels for cooperation with local travel industry firms, spur further exchanges with the travel industry in Taiwan's Caribbean allies, and make arrangements for the Taipei-based Formosa Circus Art to perform in St Vincent and the Grenadines, to showcase Taiwan's diverse culture to the world.
Meanwhile a press release from the office of the prime minister of Saint Lucia states in part ,' At the invitation of Prime Minister Allen M. Chastanet, Her Excellency President Tsai Ing-wen of the Republic of China (Taiwan) will lead a delegation on a State visit to Saint Lucia from July 17 to 19, 2019.
Taiwan has been instrumental in the development of our country in so many areas and this gives us an opportunity to show our gratitude and share our country's beauty and culture with President Tsai Ing-wen.'
She will also address the joint session of the Parliament on the cordial and mutually beneficial relations between Taiwan and Saint Lucia.
The delegation will also attend the sod-turning ceremony for the St Jude Hospital Redevelopment Project, the launch of Phase II of the government Island-wide Network (GiNet) and the dedication of the Gros Islet Human Resource Development Centre. A tour of the Inland Reception and Distribution Centre (IRDC) will also be featured to highlight Taiwan's role in the success story of Saint Lucian banana industry's renaissance.
In view of the priority Saint Lucia places on attracting foreign investments and promoting tourism, Taiwan will also dispatch a tourism industry delegation to explore the travel environment and market trends in fair Helen of the West.'
Ironically, no mention was made of the Taiwan funded Constituency Development Project (CDP) that is absorbed in social and economic programs to enhance the infrastructure of various communities throughout the island, improving the way of life for constituents, creating jobs, building capacity and community enhancement, aimed at stimulating economic growth.
In 2017, Joseph, who knowingly made false representations to Taiwan in the matter of CDP contracts, said, 'I had to compile a list based on the contracts that were in the ministry, pretend as if the projects had not been done and submit it to the Taiwanese for approval.'
This utterance calls into question the integrity and gives rise to questions surrounding a pattern of creating a false record(s).
It is a great honour to have President Tsai visit Saint Lucia,' stated Prime Minister Chastanet. 'Saint Lucia has over the past three years greatly deepened our ties with Taiwan and we have broadened areas of co-operation.'
Nevertheless, 'It is a challenge, to be honest in this country. I can tell you. I suffer it every day,' Guy Joseph said, in a display of hubris in the Parliament of Saint Lucia.
And according to a former minister, 'There are those who will do their stuff and are doing their stuff and will never be caught. In fact, some of them have done criminal stuff,' hitherto, discussions and exchange of ideas on the government of Saint Lucia's use of the Taiwan-funded CDP to settle political vendettas, facilitate blatant discrimination and corruption are matters of bilateral and international issues that constitute a mutual concern.