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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

St Lucia to benefit from Taiwan funding for job programmes

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Wednesday December 5, 2012 - Taiwan is providing EC$4.8 million (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) to St. Lucia to fund short and long term job programmes on the island.

“We have agreed on a clear procedure where such programmes are financed by the government of Taiwan. Both sides will agree on the programmes the government of Taiwan wishes to finance and we will indicate our priorities.

“We will present them with a detailed costing of the various projects in advance so that there will be a clear sense of how much will be spent on each project,” Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony said after receiving the cheque from  Taiwan’s Ambassador James Chang.

Anthony said the funds would be used for projects throughout the island and would help reduce the employment situation here.

“We have agreed that programmes funded by Taiwan must apply to all of the islands 17 constituencies. No constituency government or opposition must be denied the opportunity for funding for projects, because Taiwan is a friend of all of St. Lucia,” Anthony said.

Anthony, who is also finance minister, said that a special account has been created in the Ministry of Finance to manage the funds for local projects funded by Taiwan.

He said this was “a radical approach, a different approach” to dealing with funds from Taiwan to the government of St. Lucia compared to what existed in the past.

Prime Minister Anthony had in the past been critical of his predecessor, Stephenson King, over the disbursement of Taiwanese funds for constituency projects.

Anthony had claimed the funds should not have gone to individual government ministers for projects in their constituencies.

The Kenny Anthony administration, which came to power in the November 2011 general election, had been critical of Taiwan’s former ambassador Tom Chou, accusing him of interfering in the internal affairs of the island.

But the government maintained diplomatic relations with Taipei than with China which it had previously enjoyed up to 2006. (CMC)


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