The Republic of China (Taiwan) is being considered a “committed friend” of St. Lucia with the handing over of a check of EC$7.53 million which will go towards the Constituency Development Programme (CDP).
The CDP is a poverty reduction programme, which according to Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony, will target all constituencies. The programme will seek to improve access to communities with a number of infrastructural projects, to include drainage, soil retaining works and road construction.
According to the prime minister, the “judicious” spread of the development venture, particularly in impoverished communities, “will be critical in providing hundreds of jobs to contractors, labourers, equipment operators and give a much needed jolt to the construction sector”.
In his remarks at the handing-over ceremony on Wednesday, the prime minister lauded the Republic of China (Taiwan) for what he said was its continued generosity and commitment towards friendly bilateral relations between the two states.
“It is clear that the Republic of China (Taiwan) is a committed friend to Saint Lucia, particularly given the realities of our age,” he said.
The monies made available on Wednesday are a combination of two sets of funds – a balance of EC$2.16 million from a first set of CDP projects which were submitted for financial assistance and another EC$5.37 million which is the first tranche in the second phase of funding under the program, Anthony said.
The prime minister said that the Republic of China (Taiwan) is expected to commit a total of over EC$24 million towards the CDP in the current financial year, with the balance of these funds to be disbursed later this year following the submission of timely status reports.
Anthony, in referring to his budget address which was delivered last month, noted that the Republic of China (Taiwan) is the country’s largest single donor of grant funds, with contributions near $60 million to be spent in this financial period.
“This amount, I should point out, reflects the bundling of moneys from two financing periods: that is Taiwan Financial Years 2012 and 2013. It is clear that the Republic of China (Taiwan) is a committed friend to Saint Lucia, particularly given the realities of our age,” he added.
The prime minister took the opportunity to highlight other projects for which the republic has provided financial backing in recent times. He mentioned an $18.5 million injection which will go towards initiatives in the fields of sports, sustainable energy, public sector modernzation, forensic laboratory equipment and radiological equipment for the new St. Jude Hospital.
“In addition to this, the assistance of your government in the area of disease Management for our banana sector also continues,” he said.
Anthony extended an invitation to the donors to tour the various projects which they have funded to get a first-hand view of “the quality of work done and the impact of the projects on the lives of the people of the communities. Other parliamentarians will, hopefully, do the same”.
“Quality must be seen as paramount, for we should not have the luxury of coming back to fix poor workmanship and shoddy jobs,” he said, noting the importance of and gave the insurance that the monies will be well spent.