The first female President of Taiwan made her first address to the House of Assembly of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), highlighting the strength of the friendship between our two nations.
Tsai Ing-Wen was the second President of Taiwan to address the House of Assembly when she took the podium this Tuesday, just after three in the afternoon.
The President had arrived that morning for a two-day state visit to SVG, and by the time she had graced the House of Assembly, she had already attended a welcome parade and inspection of the guard of honor, a private meeting with Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, witnessed the signing of two bilateral agreements, and hosted a luncheon with the Taiwan Alumni Association, and the 2019 Taiwan Scholarship recipients.
The Speaker of the House, Jomo Thomas, welcomed the President in a speech which acknowledged the mutual beneficial relations between SVG and Taiwan.
“We in St Vincent and the Grenadines are grateful for the tremendous practical assistance that Taiwan has given to us. Concrete outcomes of Taiwan’s generosity to St Vincent and the Grenadines are evident in areas such as education, training, health, agriculture, ICT, security and physical infrastructure…,” he stated.
He anticipated the symbolic nature of her address. “Madame President you are personally an inspiration to our women and our young girls in our country. You are your country’s first female President, this is a phenomenal achievement,” in a country with a male dominated political arena, Thomas commented.
“I am sure that some young girl or woman who would hear you speak today is likely to be inspired by your extraordinary personal example,” he stated.
One of the first things that Tsai did for her address was to congratulate SVG on its election as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
She noted, “I have always admired your country’s willingness to speak on an International stage, especially on key issues like climate change, and sustainable development,” and added that Taiwan shares a similar desire to be a “responsible member” of the International community and achieve the 17 United Nations sustainable development goals.
She commented on the projects that Taiwan has done with SVG in their hopes of achieving the goals. She specifically mentioned their efforts in agriculture, health, resilient infrastructure, and education.
“Through everything that we do together, I want your people and the world to see that we can contribute more to the world and that we are determined to do so. So, on behalf of the people of Taiwan, I want to take this opportunity to thank St Vincent and the Grenadines for your longterm support of our International participation, and for speaking up on our behalf,” Tsai stated.
She also thanked the Government for its decision to establish an Embassy in Taiwan, commenting, “The people of Taiwan welcome you with open arms. I’m confident that this new embassy will lead to new opportunities for cooperation and even stronger friendship between our countries.” Former headmistress of the Girls’ High School, Andrea Bowman is the ambassador designate to Taiwan.
With a request for continued support in the International Arena, she ended her address. Before walking out of Parliament she shook the hands of all the members from the Government and Opposition side.
Outside, President Tsai took some time to greet the girl guides, scouts and school children lined up in front of the Kingstown vegetable market. Prime Minister Gonsalves could be heard introducing her as the first female President of Taiwan, and she, gesturing to the girl guides, stated that one of them could be the next Prime Minister.