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H.E. Peter Chia-Yen Chen, Taiwan’s Ambassador to Saint Lucia, joined several Government officials on a tour to Soufriere on Wednesday, December 20, 2023, where some crucial facilities were officially launched.
On the day, Ambassador Chen joined the Government officials for the official opening of the Palmiste Vending Facility, Soufriere Market Vending Booths at Old Trafford, and Bouton Community Centre.
The Taiwan-sponsored Palmiste Vending Facility and Old Trafford booths are part of the Community Tourism Development Project, which is sponsored by OECS Regional Tourism Competitiveness Project (ORTCP) with funding from the World Bank.
Government officials who attended the opening ceremonies in the west coast town included Hon. Philip J. Pierre, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Economic Development & Youth Economy & Minister for Justice and National Security; Hon. Dr. Ernest Hilaire, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism, Investment, Creative Industries, Culture and Information; Hon. Emma Hippolyte, Minister for Commerce, Manufacturing, Business Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs and Parliamentary Representative for Sourfriere/Fond St. Jacques; Hon. Alfred Prospere, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security and Rural Development; Hon. Kenson Casimir, Minister for Youth Development and Sports; Hon. Moses Jn. Baptiste, Minister for Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs; Hon. Dr. Virginia Albert-Poyotte, Minister for the Public Service, Home Affairs, Labour and Gender Relations; Hon. Dr. Pauline Antoine-Prospere, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Sustainable Development, Innovation, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, and Ms. Donalyn Vittet, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism.
In his remarks, Ambassador Chen noted that he had witnessed a rapid surge in Saint Lucia’s tourism industry following the COVID-19 pandemic, including being recognized as the “Best Caribbean Island” in the prestigious 2023 Readers Choice Awards.
“This resounding victory is a result of the collective efforts of the Government of Saint Lucia, private sector, and local communities,” Ambassador Chen said. “The Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is also proud to be part of the efforts.”
Ambassador Chen stated that tourism was not merely about economic gains, but also about fostering sustainable development, preserving cultural heritage, and ensuring the well-being of people in the community.
He said the Government of Taiwan will continue to work with the Government of Saint Lucia and local community to explore new avenues, create a destination that not only captivates visitors, but also enriches the lives of those who call this place home.
“I am delighted to announce that, with the support of Hon. Minister Emma Hippolyte, Soufriere/Fond St. Jacques has been chosen to be one of the targeted communities for our newly-launched ICT in Digital Capacity Building Project and Community Business Revitalization Project,” said Ambassador Chen.
Prime Minister Hon. Philip J. Pierre also spoke at the official openings of the various facilities in Soufriere, noting that his Government has always appreciated the importance of community tourism as a pivotal criterion of socioeconomic development.
“I really want to align myself to the whole concept of community tourism,” said Hon. Pierre. “It’s a concept that we’ve been thinking of a long time ago. In 1997, we came up with the philosophy that the benefits of tourism must accrue to as many people as possible.”
Hon. Emma Hippolyte, Minister for Commerce, Manufacturing, Business Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs, who is also the Parliamentary Representative for Soufriere/Fond St. Jacques, urged residents of the touristic community to draw on their collective strengths so as to realize positive spin-offs.
“As a Government, we are focusing on your development,” Hon. Hippolyte told those in attendance at the Bouton Community Centre. “But, as a people, you need to work together for that development to materialize.”
Hon. Pierre, Hon. Dr. Hilaire, and Hon. Hippolyte all recognized and expressed their gratitude to the Government and people of Taiwan for supporting the development of Saint Lucia’s socioeconomic infrastructure.
SOURCE: Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in Saint Lucia