PM accepts more Taiwanese assistance

I remember when from the mouth of our prime minister came such lines as “this government has made mistakes,” and “this is a young government and we may make some mistakes along the way,” and “from time to time we will encounter some teething problems.”

That was the era that began in 1997 when words like “transparency,” “consultants” had strong-armed their way into the political vernacular. What we have today is finger pointing and more finger pointing at every opportunity.

And so, on Thursday Dr. Anthony alluded to yet another “problem” of the past: “fly by night contractors.” The occasion was a ceremony to mark the presentation of a check by the Taiwanese ambassador James Chang. The references to contracts and projects, by
the prime minister’s telling, were inspired by the generosity of the  Taiwanese people, without whom there would be no better days, not even for some.

On Thursday morning Ambassador James Chang expressed his “great pleasure and honour” for the opportunity on behalf of the people of Taiwan to present some  seven million, five hundred and thirty-six thousand dollars, to the Government of Saint Lucia.”

“This disbursement is for two tranches,” Chang said. “One is the balance of funds in the amount of about US$803,000 for the first phase of constituency development programs or CDP, and the amount of two million dollars for initial mobilization payment of the second phase of CDP. It is great to learn that the works earlier completed in the first phase of CDP have been beneficial to the communities.”

He later identified some of the “works,” including irrigation and drainage projects, soil stabilization, footpaths, bus shelters and community access roads. A total of fifty-six projects were identified across the seventeen constituencies, creating a total of 1,400 jobs Chang revealed.

“It is my firm belief that this meaningful CDP will keep creating more jobs, bringing more benefits and further strengthen our mutual ties,” said Chang.

Dr. Anthony said such ceremonies were tangible manifestations of the openness and transparency that his government maintains in its management of its international relationship and friendly cooperation.

He added: “Today the government and people of Saint Lucia continue to receive the generosity of the Government and people of China, Taiwan in its commitment towards friendly bi-lateral ties and cooperation.”

He recalled that during his most recent budget address he had announced that the Republic of China, Taiwan was expected to contribute in the region of EC$60 million, to be spent in this financial year. According to the Prime Minister, this makes Taiwan the largest single donor of grant funds to Saint Lucia.

He said: “This amount, I should point out, reflects the bundling of monies from two financial periods, that is, Taiwan’s financial year 2012-2013.

The Prime Minister went on to explain that the first tranches in a suite of projects valued at EC$18.5 million dollars this financial year includes interventions in sports facilities, lighting, sustainable energy, public sector modernization, forensic lab equipment and radiology equipment for the new St. Jude’s hospital.

“Today we are here to witness the handing over of monies totaling EC$7.53 million dollars for the constituency development program and this reflects a combination of two sums. The balance of funds
will be made available later in the year following the submission of timely status reports.”

“Your excellency, it is important to both countries that monies under these programs are well spent and make a meaningful contribution on the quality of life of our citizens. The CDP is important to our Government’s objectives for a number of reasons. Fundamentally it tackles poverty reduction in a number of ways and creates jobs.”

Anthony promised later in the year to invite the ambassador to “tour the projects in my constituency.” He hoped other parliamentarians would do the same.

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