Vincentians in Taiwan, as we celebrate the 41st anniversary of the reclamation of our country’s independence, we cannot escape the heightened tensions of the moment in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and in Taiwan. In both of our countries we are vulnerable to the vagaries of partisan politics, yet the democratic processes which bind our countries together, internally and externally, must provide us with principled optimism.
Last year, one of the dominant themes of the 40th anniversary of our independence was ‘resilience’. We lauded the resilience which had allowed us to reclaim our nationhood, our independence, in 1979, despite that year’s eruption of La Soufriere and the nation-wide disruption and socio-economic displacement which this eruption had caused. Last October we had had no idea that with the dawn of 2020 we would have been called on to once again demonstrate that ‘Vincy resilience’ in Taiwan and in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
In Taiwan we have banded with the Taiwanese in adhering to the COVID-19 protocols which have kept us safe in our home away from home. In Saint Vincent and the Grenadines our country is coping creditably with the pandemic caused by COVID-19 even while it struggles with the virulence of dengue fever. Resilience, determination and a clear sense of our shared goals and responsibilities are vital if we are to ensure the viability of what we recognize as our country’s sovereignty.
After forty-one years of independence and almost forty years of diplomatic relations with Taiwan, our one- year old embassy in this country proudly concretizes what binds us together as Vincentian friends of Taiwan. This year we have shared more than the challenges presented by the pandemic. Taiwan has helped Saint Vincent and the Grenadines tangibly in this regard and others, while Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has voiced its support for the legitimacy of Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Assembly and by extension the World Health Organization. Both of our countries celebrate our national days in October and we take pride in the infrastructural, technological and human resource development which strengthen and deepen the national development of both of our countries.
Twenty-two Vincentians on Taiwanese scholarships just joined our community in our home away from home. We welcome them as we continue to build on the potential of the deeply and firmly laid structures of our bilateral relationship. This is not the space for platitudinous expressions. Our reality demands principled pragmatism. Therefore, as we approach this juncture in our nation’s development, let us adopt a clear-eyed perspective which is not jaundiced by partisan prejudice. Let our focus be the enhancement and the harnessing of the vast potential of our multi-island nation. Let us resolve to be renewed as we go forward together, our country is too small to do otherwise.