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Ambassador denies poaching, as Taiwan celebrates 105th National Day

Ambassador denies poaching, as  Taiwan celebrates 105th National Day

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As the Taiwanese Embassy here in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) hosted its celebration of the Republic of China’s (Taiwan) 105th National Day, the ambassador used the platform to deny that Taiwanese fishing vessels have been poaching in local waters.

Last Tuesday, October 4, at a receptionheld at the Methodist Church Hall, Ambassador Baushuan Ger said that Taiwan cherishes its strong ties with SVG, as it has been an “unwavering ally” of Taiwan in regard to regional and global matters.

“As a diplomat, it is my duty to set the record straight,” said Ambassador Ger. {{more}}

“These SVG-registered fishing vessels fish only in high seas that belong to no country. That is the very reason they pay no tax. They operate in strict compliance with the regulations of international commission for the conservation of Atlantic tuna.”

He further pointed out that should any Taiwanese fishing company violate those regulations, they not only face prosecution under local laws, but also under Taiwan laws.

“I sincerely believe that these allegations will be stopped otherwise.”

He also pointed out that since 1981, Taiwan and SVG have partnered on several successful projects (involving education, agriculture, ICT etc) that have been of mutual benefit to the partnering countries.

“We will always cherish our long friendship, and I assure we will continue to commit ourselves to build a strong relationship between our two countries.”

In his remarks at the event, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves reiterated that Taiwanese fishing vessels do not fish in Vincentian waters.

“The registration of a vessel owned by Taiwan or owned by anybody else in St Vincent and the Grenadines does not give that vessel the right to fish in our waters or our exclusive economic zone,” explained Gonsalves.

“I have said this so many times, and those are the facts, but still you have this thing persisting, because somebody writes it.”

Gonsalves also lauded Taiwan on celebrating its 105th National Day, touching on the history of Taiwan gaining its independence from mainland China.

In the wake of the recent announcement by the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) that it would form diplomatic ties with China instead, should it succeed at the next general elections, Gonsalves impressed upon his audience the importance of retaining its relationship with Taiwan.

He noted that despite its population size on a global scale, Taiwan has the 21st largest economy and has the fifth largest foreign reserve of any country.

“It is important for us to grasp in a nutshell what is at stake,” he urged.

“So, when you tell me I must follow, St Vincent and the Grenadines under the Unity Labour Party doesn’t follow anybody. We follow ourselves and the interest of the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines!”

He added: “We have 35 years, and you are asking me to break? Break for what?”

Moreover, the Prime Minister spoke of his upcoming visit to Taiwan, where he is looking forward to meeting the country’s newly elected president. In particular, he is hoping to discuss the establishment of a Vincentian embassy in Taipei.

Also delivering remarks at the event was Sir Louis Straker, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

In addition to thanking Taiwan for its invaluable assistance over the years, Straker expressed his admiration for the country and its people in regard to their work ethic and the “robust democracy which it has created in Asia”.

“The bond that binds us together is as strong and endearing as one could find between good friends,” he enthused.

“Sometimes, we tend to forget all that Taiwan has done for us over the years… which has helped every sector in our economy!”

Straker added: “We want you [Taiwan] to know that most Vincentians are still in solidarity with your country, and would remain that way. Please convey that to your government.”

Also delivering brief remarks was Jamali Jack, president of the SVG Taiwan Scholar Alumni Association, who reminisced fondly on his experiences and perceptions of his time spent as a student in Taiwan; highlighting the numerous similarities both groups of people share.

The reception was also attended by several notable figures including Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne, the Governor General’s Deputy Susan Dougan, SVG Tourism Authority CEO Glen Beache, Minister of Tourism, Sports and Culture Cecil McKie, Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment Luke Browne, Deputy Commissioner of Police Colin John, former Minister of Culture René Baptiste, former Minister of Education Girlyn Miguel, and Deputy Speaker of the House Carlos James, among others. (JSV)

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