Ma ends whirlwind St. Vincent visit

By Kenton X. Chance ,Special to The China Post

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — President Ma Ying-jeou on Saturday night wrapped up a one-day visit to this country, during which he met with state officials, planted a tree and attended the official opening of a Taiwan-funded bridge.

Ma and his delegation landed at the E.T. Airport just east of the capital shortly after 8:30 a.m. He was greeted by Governor-General Sir Frederick Ballantyne, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, other government officials and Taiwan’s ambassador to St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), Weber Shih. There was also a guard of honor and his arrival was marked by a 21-gun salute. The president and his delegation proceeded to the botanical gardens on the western fringes of Kingstown where he planted a wax apple tree, a fruit that Taiwan introduced to this country. He then met with Ballantyne at his official residence, Government House, which is located on the northern boundary of the gardens. In signing the guestbook, Ma left a wish for eternal friendship between Taiwan and SVG.

He then traveled to Colonarie on the northeast coast, where he participated in a ceremony to officially open the US$1.1 million Colonarie Bridge. Speaking through an interpreter, Ma said at the ceremony that cooperation projects between the countries have been bearing fruit in the areas of infrastructure, agriculture, health care, information and communication technology, human resources, and cultural exchange. “St. Vincent and the Grenadines has always been a strong advocate of the Republic of China on Taiwan on various international occasions. This fully demonstrates the friendship, justice and love and genuine friendship between our two countries. And what we do today is only a small token of paying back to your great nation,” he said.