On Thursday this week a Ministry of External Affairs staffer called to invite the STAR to a press conference to announce, among other things, the nation’s first ambassador to Taiwan. The meeting was scheduled for 11 am yesterday.
The matter of an embassy was initially mooted by Saint Lucia’s external affairs minister Alva Baptiste while on an official visit to Taiwan in February. The story hardly made the local news, maybe because the minister had left so much unsaid.
The self appointed “president” of “the Republic of Laborie” again mentioned the embassy’s establishment in Taiwan during the 2015 budget debate. Alas, he spent more time complaining about the eighteen hours in the air en-route to Taiwan than he did filling in the blanks: who would pay for the upkeep of the embassy, who would be the first ambassador, and so on.
Then on June 4 came the announcement that the government had indeed opened an embassy in Taiwan. Once again, few related details were released to the Saint Lucian public. With the actual opening of the embassy, attended only by government representatives, and knee-jerk criticism by the opposition, came the official announcement that the embassy was yet another gift from the government and people of Taiwan – “initially” at least according to a press release from the press secretary to the prime minister. There is no word as to how much the embassy will cost taxpayers “eventually”.
As for the name of Saint Lucia’s first ambassador to Taiwan, yesterday’s press conference provided none. According to Baptiste, the candidate’s name must first be sent to Cabinet to be rubber-stamped. Meanwhile, word on Saint Lucia’s rumour-fertile ground is that the delayed announcement has everything to do with indecision within the Saint Lucia Labour Party. Among the contenders, we have heard, is the wife of former government minister Felix Finisterre as well as a certain female educator who once worked in the PM’s office and who also speaks Mandarin. But holding her own is the female official normally seen at the prime minister’s right hand at government functions: his singular press secretary Jadia JnPierre-Emmanuel.
May the best woman win!