Kenny sings “Oh Happy Day” to Taiwan’s generosity

Oh, how the tables have turned!

Prime Minister Kenny Anthony was all smiles on Friday morning, verbally expressing that it was a happy day for him, when he accepted on behalf of the people of Saint Lucia a cheque from the Republic of China (Taiwan).
The cheque was presented by H.E Ambassador James Chang and took place at the Prime Minister’s office lounge, on the Castries Waterfront. It is expected to go towards the Constituency Development Program mentioned in this year’s Budget.
“First I want to thank on behalf of the Government and People of Saint Lucia… this generous gift of the check US$1.8 million to the budgetary program of the Government of Saint Lucia,” Dr Anthony started by saying. He then went on to, albeit more succinctly than he has done before, draw parallels between Chang and his predecessor, expressing his pleasure at how the “new” ambassador was “conducting himself.”
“I wanted to take the opportunity to indicate how pleased I am in the manner in which his Excellency has conducted the relationship between the Republic of China on Taiwan and Saint Lucia. Since his arrival to Saint Lucia his excellency has conducted the relationship with mutual respect and mutual understanding and with a full appreciation of the laws of not only our country but also of his country,” the Prime Minister pointed out. “We welcome this. He has conducted himself with honour, integrity and
with full resect of the traditions of this country in full honour of the laws. There is no doubt that he is determined to build a new friendship, a new relationship with the people of Saint Lucia and for this we are exceedingly grateful to him,” Anthony went on.
“His excellency will be presenting us with a check as I indicated and we have agreed on a clear procedure where such programs are financed by the government and people of the Republic of China on Taiwan,” Anthony stressed. He went on to say that the programs were agreed on the basis of mutual discussions and agreement by both sides and the understanding of the procedures. According to the Prime Minister, Government will provide detailed indications project costings and once costs are agreed a special account will be created in the Ministry of Finance to manage funds made available by Taiwan. The Taiwanese the Prime Minister says, will be able to peruse those accounts and will be provided with updates on progress and expenditure.
“So there has been a radical departure, a different approach and we really want to thank the ambassador for agreeing to honour the wishes of the Government of Saint Lucia,” said Anthony.  “So today I am a very happy Prime Minister, thankful for the gift,” he added.
Dr Anthony then let it be known that one of the reasons he was so elated was that the injection of US$1.8 million towards community based projects would help alleviate the unemployment which he said was inherited last year at twenty four percent.
“In the short term it would reduce that rate of unemployment and bring economic opportunities to our people throughout the length and breadth of Saint Lucia.”
The programs he said will apply to all constituencies regardless of their elected representatives being in Government or not.
Under the program, a total of 115 small projects were submitted to the Taiwanese Government for approval. In addition Taiwan was asked to assist with diagnostic medical equipment for St Jude’s Hospital and lighting for four playing fields.  Taiwan has since
agreed to fund St Jude’s with medical equipment to the tune of US$2.37 million.
For his part his Excellency James Chang said it was his honour Friday to announce that his Government had agreed to contribute US$1.8 million to the first phase of the constituency development program for 2012.
“This program contains 115 projects and will mainly concentrate on roads, footpaths and drainage works as well as other infrastructure,” Chang said. He went on to underscore that all seventeen constituencies will benefit and the projects will assist in making them safer and more communicable.

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