Vincies in Taiwan celebrate 40 years of Independence
Ambassador Andrea Bowman (seated left) and Minister Counsel Elroy Wilson (seated right) with students and Vincentians residing in Taiwan at a cock tail reception at the Embassy of St Vincent and the Grenadines to mark the 40th Anniversary of Independence.
November 1, 2019
Vincies in Taiwan celebrate 40 years of Independence

by Chanolde Munroe
in Taiwan

Following one week of activities, the curtains came down on Independence celebrations for Vincentians in the Republic of China (Taiwan), with a cocktail reception.

Ambassador Andrea Bowman during her address on Sunday at the Embassy expressed how proud she was of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) on its 40th celebration of Independence.

Miguel li-hey tsao
Taiwan Vice Minister

Bowman stated that a country’s pursuit of political independence was one of “confidence, faith, determination and pride.”

The Ambassador explained that in 1979, when the country moved towards Independence, not every adult Vincentian was in favour of the move, with some even emigrating after forecasting certain economic doom.

“Indeed influential political leaders at that time wrote copiously about what they considered the foolhardy nature of the Independence thrust.

They wrote about the loss of security, the loss of protection from Britain, the loss of regard in the world,” Bowman said.

Furthermore, she added that while 1979 was a challenging year for St Vincent and the Grenadines, with the eruption of La Soufriere, which caused displacement, disruption and the mobilization of scarce national resources; it was also the year when the national football team performed phenomenally on the regional and international level.

Bowman noted that after this, Vincentians were filled with pride in the country’s resilience, and it was that resilience, coupled with the spirit of Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer that led to the authorities to “brave the odds” and pursue Independence.

“And here we are today, 40 years to the day when the flag of Statehood was lowered and the flag of Nationhood was raised giving birth to our nation.”

She added that after 40 years of Independence, SVG is distinctive, secure and distinguished.

“…Enough to be elected as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and confident enough to establish missions, high commissions and embassies in allied countries throughout the world,” Bowman said.

The Ambassador pointed out the SVG’s presence is Taiwan is indicative of both countries growth and maturity, adding that like Taiwan, our independence is sacrosanct and must be carefully guarded and protected.

Pointing out the theme for ‘Renewal at 40’ as “With strength, honor and dignity we stand resolute at 40 and beyond”, Bowman firmly stated that such resolution requires principled pragmatism.

“Principled pragmatism which stands resolute against the forces that practice might is right; the forces that would deny small states their seat at the table, the forces that fail to accept that the smallness of our world is being made more and more manifest each day by the very forces of nature which dictate that unhealthy tampering with the ecosystem in the north pole results in deleterious effects in the south pole.”

She once again expressed appreciation for the effort made by several of the students during the week of celebrations, adding that because of the hard work by these students, next year’s students would have a solid foundation to stand on.

“I do appreciate the effort made by the number of students on tight budgets to be here with us this evening; you are representative of the youth development and empowerment which are vital to sustained national development, the Ambassador said.

Bowman encouraged the students to learn well and maximize their potential in preparation for building the human resource capital of SVG.

Also speaking at Sunday’s celebration was Vice Minister Miguel Li-jey Tsao who expressed his pleasure of attending the reception and extended Independence greetings to the government and people of SVG.

Tsao noted that the Embassy and the Ambassador’s presence are symbols of the countries’ excellent relations.

“I want to take this opportunity to extend my special thanks for your tireless job and dedication in deepening the mutual understanding between our countries and in forging public, private sector connections. I am convinced that our bonds of our friendship will continue to grow from strength to strength, even stronger under your capable leadership,” he pointed out.

The Vice Minister noted that the country’s relationship has flourished because of their shared values of freedom, democracy and the respect for human rights.

He pointed out that their relationship has yielded considerable results including: Rabacca Bridge, the National Public Library, The Terminal Building at Argyle International Airport, the Technical Cooperation Project Scholarship Program and frequent agricultural exchange.

Tsao thanked the government and people for their continued advocacy, effort and staunch support in areas related to matter at the WHO, UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), UN and Interpol.

He assured the Ambassador that Taiwan would always remain a faithful partner to SVG’s future endeavours.

Tsao, like Bowman, encouraged the students to learn as much as they could and immerse themselves in local culture.

“When you complete your studies, I hope you will continue to act as a bridge and bring our countries even closer together in the years ahead.”
The night’s events saw performances from students as well as local soca singer Keido Foster.

Other activites held in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Independence were an Church Service on October 20, attended by the Minister of Health Luke Browne, followed by a luncheon and an afternoon of traditional outdoor games and a picnic; on October 23 there was an exhibitoin of Vincentian culture at the National Normal Taiwan University; and on October 26 into October 27 there was a Hairouna Countdown fete.