The partnership between the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Republic of China (Taiwan) has once again borne fruit. These fruits of partnership are 10 Toyota Coaster school buses and 24 pieces of soil cultivators and power sprayers.
The Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan), H.E. Ambassador Der-Li Liu was present to officially handover the items to Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Julian Francis and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Transformation, Hon. Saboto Caesar. The handover ceremony took place on Monday 28th August, 2017 at the E.T. Joshua Tarmac.
Minister of Agriculture, Rural Transformation, Hon. Saboto Caesar, expressed gratitude to the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) for their generous gesture to the Government and People of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. He stated: “I want to encourage the cooperatives to put the equipment to the best use. We have to ensure that we work very closely with the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure that they are properly serviced and I am certain that when these machines hit the soil that we are going to see a further increase in production and productivity in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
The Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan) H.E. Ambassador Der-Li Liu, said it was a great honour for him to attend the handover of school buses and agricultural machinery to farmers cooperatives. Ambassador Liu stated that Taiwan like St. Vincent and the Grenadines places great emphasis on education thus the school buses will enhance students comfort.
In his address, Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, thanked the President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) for sending Vice Minister, Ambassador Der-Li Liu to participate in the handover. Dr. Gonsalves commended the Minister of Transport and Works and his staff for their work in procuring the school buses.
Also, he focused on several areas including: Investment opportunities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines for Taiwanese entrepreneurs, monies paid out to arrowroot farmers, concessions on school buses, and upcoming road repairs. Prime Minister Gonsalves used the opportunity to call for more Taiwanese “private sector investment in our country”. Dr. Gonsalves has urged the Taiwanese Government to invest in St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ hotel industry and/or in manufacturing.
The Minister of Finance is pleased that the Government has been able to pay arrowroot farmers for their produce which amounted to over EC $1 million. In this regard, he also appealed to the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to buy the arrowroot starch from the Government.
Prime Minister Gonsalves has encouraged persons who wish to import new school buses to do so as there are special concessions for this purpose. According to Dr. Gonsalves, persons will get up to 80% concession on the importation of a new school bus.
In regard to road repairs, Dr. Gonsalves disclosed that works on the Ginger Village road will commence in the middle of September. The contract is valued at $3.8 million and has been awarded to Dipcon Engineering, according to Prime Minister Gonsalves. The project will take about 8 months to completion.
Representatives from several farmers’ cooperatives were present to witness the handover of soil cultivators and power sprayers. Representatives are hopeful that their farm outputs will improve. Vice President of the Greggs Multi-farming Cooperative Society (GREMCO) has urged persons in the community to join their cooperative. He noted that GREMCO is in its early stages but together they are working to build it up for the benefit of all members.
The ceremony concluded with a vote of thanks from Chief Agricultural Officer, Mr. Ashley Cain.