CASTRIES, St Lucia — The Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) has called on the government of Saint Lucia to set politics aside by impressing upon Taiwan the urgent need to offer medical parole to ailing former President Chen Shui-Bian.
According to the LPM, the preservation of human rights in a democracy, including the insistence that no human being should ever be subjected to inhumane conditions or imprisonment, or cruel and unusual punishment by governments, is greatly cherished by the citizens of Saint Lucia.
Therefore, the leader of the LPM, Therold Prudent, has called upon the government to ensure that its diplomatic partner Taiwan is made fully aware of the country’s values.
Speaking on the issue of Taiwan’s imprisonment of its former president Chen Shui-Bian, whose physical and mental health has deteriorated significantly as the result of inhumane treatment and the denial of proper medical care in prison, Prudent said, “Just because small and struggling economies like ours depend on Taiwan for foreign aid does not mean that Saint Lucia’s foreign policy should be relegated to one of silence.”
He added, “Taiwan is in need of Saint Lucia’s friendship, which affords it the international relevance and recognition it seeks to be a valuable member in a number of world organizations, including the United Nations, just as Saint Lucia needs Taiwan’s assistance in cushioning the effects of a battered economy. Any reluctance on the part of the government of Saint Lucia to raise the issue of human rights with the government of Taiwan would signal that our engagement in big dollar diplomacy, which has formed the basis of our foreign policy, condones despicable human rights abuses by foreign governments, which certainly would not be tolerated in our homeland.”
The LPM leader also noted that his political organization remains very supportive of the relationship between Saint Lucia and Taiwan and has gone further than most foreign political organizations openly to support the aspirations of millions of Taiwanese who one day hope to enjoy the same rights and international recognition that was eventually afforded to the people of Saint Lucia in 1979.
However, the LPM is not blind to the fact that Taiwan’s understanding of democracy is still evolving after years of repression by the Nationalist Party (KMT) under Chiang Kai-Shek, which today is the ruling party led by Taiwanese President Ma Ying-Jeou.
Therefore, given the history of the degrading and dehumanizing treatment of political opponents in Taiwan and the lack of forgiveness and compassion shown by its government, even in cases of medical necessity, the LPM has urged the government of Saint Lucia to set politics aside by impressing upon President Ma the urgent need to offer medical parole to ailing former President Chen Shui-Bian.