The government of Republic of China (Tiawan) has made three significant disbursements of grant funding totalling EC$13.1 million to the government of Saint Lucia for capital projects.
At a short handing-over ceremony at the Office of the Prime Minister on Monday, January 13, 2014, Taiwanese Ambassador James Chang presented Prime Minister Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony with three cheques: the first was in the amount of EC$8.35 million to complete the final phase of the 2013/14 Constituency Development Project (CDP), the second was valued at EC$4.22 million for the second phase of the St. Jude’s Hospital Reconstruction/Extension Project and the third was EC$534,000 – the initial disbursement for a three-year $1.1 million fisheries programme.
Constituency Development Programme (CDP)
The CDP is a poverty reduction programme, which is aimed at targeting all constituencies. The programme seeks to improve access to communities with a number of infrastructural projects, to include drainage, soil retaining works and road construction.
This morning’s check of $8.3 million will go towards the completion of all works under the project planned for this financial year and to “ensure that all constituencies would have received their portion share”.
“By the end of March 2014, the programme will be in a position to provide a comprehensive annual report of all works done but also the overall impact of employment generation,” Dr. Anthony remarked.
The previous two phases of the project covered 231 projects ranging from flood mitigation, drainage, soil stabilization and community access roads and others. Last year, the government allocated $24 million for this project.
“I think the signs of the work is clear for everyone to see,” the prime minister said.
The fisheries sector boost
The funds disbursed to the fisheries sector are expected to go towards a three-year Fisheries Rehabilitation Construction and Development Project and the construction of two fish landing sites – one at Savannes in Vieux Fort North and the other at Praslin, Micoud North. The total cost of the latter is $1.1 million.
“The government believes that both of these sites can serve not only as fish landing sites but also become part of the tourism product of St. Lucia by extending opportunities for livelihoods given that they’re along the Castries to Vieux Fort Highway,” Dr. Anthony said.
He urged the Ministry of Fisheries to explore how fishers can capture the tourism dollar from the venture.
With reference to the three-year fisheries development programme, a total budget of $2, 813, 800 million will be spent in the following way: research and planning – EC$195, 000; training and capacity building EC$295,000; technical assistance (quality assurance and fish product development measures) EC$640,000; and industry support EC$1.2 million to modernize the sector to include the refurbishment of the Saint Lucia fish market in Vieux Fort.
This morning’s cheque is expected to get the project off the ground.
“This programme will be geared at attracting a new cadre of young fishing entrepreneurs who are skilled and can meet the standards required for future fisheries industry that is profitable and sustainable,” Dr. Anthony said.
St. Jude Hospital Project
Infrastructural works and the acquisition of radiological equipment are the main purposes of EC$4.22 million which was granted by Taiwan this morning. These monies, according to the prime minister, are a “consolidation of two separate budget heads for St. Jude in this year’s budget.”
“I hope that these grant funds are seen as good news for our country, especially at this time. Our friends matter at all times but they are even more precious in these stern and challenging times,” Dr. Anthony said.
Meanwhile, the Taiwan ambassador to St. Lucia said he hopes that such gestures will help strengthen ties between the two countries.
“It is my firm belief that throughout joint effort and cooperation programme, the existing relations between St. Lucia and the Republic of China (Taiwan) will be further strengthened and continue to bring benefits to our two peoples,” he said.