By Caribbean News Global
ST LUCIA / TAIWAN – The government and people of Taiwan through the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in St Lucia under the leadership of ambassador H.E. Peter Chen continues to fund major bilateral projects and finance Saint Lucia’s 2023 / 2024 budget.
On November 6, 2023, the government of Saint Lucia received grant funding of more than 3.9M from the Republic of China (Taiwan) to support eight bilateral cooperation projects.
The list of bilateral cooperation projects are quite attention-grabbing of the government of Saint Lucia inability to provide “run of the mills operational and service to its people,” consequential to choked-up thinking and regressive policy.
According to a press release from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), “this significant funding from Taiwan will support a range of critical initiatives, including:
1) “Equipment for Transport Division” for the department of infrastructure, ports and transport;
2) “Refurbishment of National Cultural Center” for the ministry of tourism, investment, creative industries, culture and information;
3) “Solarization of Fisher Co-operative Societies” for the ministry of commerce, manufacturing, business development, cooperatives and consumer affair;
4) “Cemetery Expansion” for the department of housing and local government;
5) “Saint Lucia Tourism Awards “The Gimies” ” for the ministry of tourism, investment, creative industries, culture and information;
6) “Security Controlled Access/Security System Upgrade” for the ministry of the public service;
7) “Procurement of Containers for Customs” for the ministry of finance;
8) “Procurement and Installation of Inventory Software and CCTV” for the ministry of finance.”
The government of Saint Lucia allocated approximately XCD10 million in the 2022/23 budget towards the Youth Economy Programme. On October 17, 2023, the Taiwanese ambassador to Saint Lucia, H.E Peter Chia-yen Chen contributed XCD137,000, to Saint Lucia’s Youth Economy, the OPM further advised, “the prime minister and his cabinet are pleased to announce that the government of Taiwan has decided to invest in Saint Lucia’s Youth Economy.”
Commenting on the 16th annual Taiwan-Saint Lucia Partnership Tradeshow (November 3-5) which showcased aspiring and established entrepreneurs and business leaders, prime minister Pierre noted:
“Every exhibitor from Saint Lucia must have in the forefront of their minds, the creation of a new class of entrepreneur,” he continued.“We are working to create a new generation of indigenous business people through the Youth Economy, the MSME Loan-Grant Facility, and other initiatives by this administration. I encourage citizens to seize these opportunities and to play their part in the development of our beloved country.”
November 1, 2023, the OPM said in a release that prime minister Pierre heads a government that prioritizes the realities of the most vulnerable members of society.
“With the support of his cabinet of ministers, prime minister Pierre immediately reinstated the Distress Support Fund upon assuming office in 2021. Poor and low-income households, dispossessed as a result of natural or man-made hazards, have access to the reinstated Distress Support Fund to replace their belongings and rebuild their lives,” adding “allocations to the Distress Support Fund increased from $300,000 in 2013/14 to $450,000 in 2015/16 to $1,000,000 in 2023/24.”
In June 2023, Taiwan donated XCD 1 million to help support dispossessed families and households in need of urgent interventions. The Distress Support Fund helps vulnerable households and families get back on their feet and regain a sense of normalcy in times of despair.
In April 2023, the Constituency Development Programme (CDP) received an XCD18.5 million from the Republic of China (Taiwan). Seventeen constituencies are expected to benefit from the Taiwanese funds to empower community-based socio-economic initiatives and development projects.
On February 27, Taiwan ambassador Chen presented over $3.2 million to strengthen the island’s social safety nets – to develop local sporting infrastructure and improve Saint Lucia’s human capital.
Taiwan also assisted the government and people of Saint Lucia, on August 16, 2023, in signing the Treaty on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. In September 2023, Saint Lucia received four drones from Taiwan for use in fighting crime.
“The everyday realities of all Saint Lucians take precedence when prime minister Pierre convenes the cabinet on Mondays,” the OPM promoted Monday, November 6, 2023, stating that, “the decisions made in the cabinet advance the development of our people and move our nation forward.”
Taiwan continues to support the government of Saint Lucia despite Saint Lucian parliamentarians of a low degree, choosing to fuel and finger speculation that is ostensibly adversarial to Taiwan, at least in diplomatic circles, embassies and countries that have great influence on Saint Lucia and can easily exert their command willingly.
Meanwhile, Taiwan continues to steadfastly provide ongoing collaboration and primary support to Saint Lucia’s development – the whispers, trends and secret meetings are precarious.