BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, October 03, 2020 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris has lauded the vision and foresight of the Right Excellent and Right Honourable Dr. Sir Kennedy A. Simmonds, during his tenure as the country’s first prime minister, that led to the establishment of diplomatic ties with the Republic of China (Taiwan) some 37 years ago that has served both countries well today.
“Looking back some 37 years ago when the leaders then determined that the Republic of China (Taiwan) would be an important country with which we want to establish diplomatic relations, I am not certain that [Dr. Simmonds] had seen the future in the fullness of which it has evolved in terms of our relationship and in terms of what it has brought to St. Kitts and Nevis,” the prime minister commented.
Prime Minister Harris was at the time addressing a ceremony held at Marshall’s restaurant on Wednesday (September 30), where 14 nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis – 10 males and four females – were awarded scholarships to further their education in Taiwan.
That ceremony was attended by Dr. Sir Simmonds, the country’s only living National Hero; Minister of Education, the Honourable Jonel Powell, and Taiwan Ambassador to St. Kitts and Nevis, His Excellency Tom Lee.
Prime Minister Harris indicated that while diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1983, the mutual relationship between both nations actually dates back to 1981 when the countries collaborated on an agricultural mission.
“I am happy that 37 years on, agriculture – that core element of our cooperation – continues to be very relevant. We have seen elements to build that out and to adapt, as it were, to the evolution of time through what we have in the Eco agricultural and tourism project, where we were attempting to establish in a very rich way how agriculture and tourism ought to coexist for national good,” Dr. Harris added.
Prime Minister Harris said undoubtedly Taiwan has been an excellent friend to St. Kitts and Nevis but noted that this relationship has not been a lopsided one.
He said, “St. Kitts and Nevis, of all of Taiwan’s allies particularly in the Caribbean, has been the most reliable and the most steadfast in terms of its diplomacy and its support for Taiwan.”
Over the years, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has also benefited from its relationship with the Republic of China (Taiwan) in the areas of education, through scholarship opportunities; tourism; renewable energy development and health.