Tom Chou Homeward Bound

Let it never be said the Labour Party does not keep its election pledges, at least those they consider important.
During its 2011 campaign the party leader had on several occasions made two particular promises to his supporters: immediately upon taking office he would restore the discontinued controversial STEP program and send Taiwan ambassador Tom  Chou home.
Kenny Anthony was true to his word. At any rate, where STEP was concerned. Meanwhile, Tom Chou stayed put. But now Alva Baptiste may have something face-saving to say to party supporters since Tom Chou has decided enough is enough and is headed home.             Doubtless the government will take credit for Chou’s departure but the fact is the ambassador has spent more time in Saint Lucia than initially intended and is looking forward to his return to Taiwan.
Long before he set foot on Saint Lucian soil, he had been declared unwelcome by the opposition St Labour Party. The announcement in parliament that the Compton government had severed Saint Lucia’s diplomatic relationship with Beijing in favor of Taipei was greeted by the opposition side of the House with prolonged jeering and shouts of “Shame! Shame! Shame!”
Time only made matters worse. Soon the opposition was by name publicly accusing the new ambassador of breaking the laws of Saint Lucia by allegedly handing money directly to government parliamentarians that should lawfully have been deposited in the Consolidated Fund. The economic assistance given Saint Lucia by the Taiwanese government was declared “dirty money.”
On the other hand, Tom Chou is likely to be spoken of with reverence by that section of the nation that had profited from the scores of community projects financed by his government over the last three or four years.
According to a reliable government source Chou and his family are scheduled to return home around the end of June.
It comes as no surprise that he will be replaced, not by an official from Beijing but by a fellow Taiwanese. It is by now common knowledge that Beijing is no longer interested in the war game of dollar diplomacy of previous years.
Although Taiwanese ambassadors seldom serve more than three years in one country, Tom Chou has been in Saint Lucia for almost five years. At press time he could not be reached for comment.

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