President Tsai Ing-wen's Journey of Freedom, Democracy, and Sustainability continued with a luncheon on the morning of July 15 local time (evening of July 15 Taipei time) at Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park in St. Christopher and Nevis (a.k.a. St. Kitts and Nevis) for local political figures and a Taiwan tourism industry mission. In remarks, the president said she hopes that through mutual exchanges and experience sharing, travel industry firms in both countries will discover business opportunities, and work together to develop tourism and promote sustainable development.
The president was greeted upon arrival by Michael Morton (President of the Management Council of Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park and Governor-General's Deputy of St. Christopher and Nevis) and Deputy Prime Minister Shawn Richards. Local school children were also on hand to give her a big welcome. The president and her delegation were then given a guided tour of the park by Percival Hanley, General Manager of the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park Society.
At noon, President Tsai hosted a luncheon at the national park for Prime Minister Timothy Harris and other political figures, as well as the Taiwan tourism industry mission. As they entered the venue, the attendees were entertained by performers on stilts, a traditional local art form.
The following is a translation of the president's remarks at the banquet:
It is a unique opportunity and a great pleasure to meet with all of you here in Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Tourism has always been key to the development of St. Kitts and Nevis. Now, more than 1.2 million cruise ship passengers are coming here every year, which itself presents a tremendous business opportunity.
Taiwan also has a mature tourism sector. To promote the growth and sustainable development of tourism in both our countries, I invited tourism firms in Taiwan to form a delegation to come see St. Kitts and Nevis for themselves, and to exchange experiences and explore opportunities for expansion.
This afternoon, the members of our tourism fact-finding delegation will finish their tour and return to Taiwan. I hope that their trip and the connections they made here will help related business in both our countries continue to broaden avenues of cooperation, and introduce the beautiful scenery and traditions of the Caribbean to even more Taiwanese. Of course, we welcome more Kittians and Nevisians to visit Taiwan in the future.
Though not many Taiwanese live in St. Christopher and Nevis, all the members of the Taiwanese community here are highly accomplished in their respective fields, and are committed to giving back to society.
I want to take this opportunity to introduce Mr. Michael Chang (張溎鱗) of Kuang Jun Construction Corporation, who has had remarkable success in the construction industry here. And Ms. Amy Jui Yuan Pen (彭瑞媛), who lives in Sint Maarten as an Advisor to the Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission (OCAC), has devoted years of service to the Taiwanese community in the Caribbean. Having long worked hand in hand with the Embassy and technical mission here, you and other senior members of the local Taiwanese community are the most important bridge for furthering trade and exchange between our two countries.
I am delighted to have the chance to join so many good friends today. I believe that with the joint efforts of Prime Minister Harris and all of you, Taiwan and St. Kitts and Nevis will enjoy a close friendship for many more years to come, and we will continue to make progress in economic development and promoting the welfare of our peoples. Thank you! (End of remarks)
Brimstone Hill Fortress was built atop an 800-foot hill overlooking the western coast of the island of St. Kitts, and is one of the best preserved colonial-period fortresses in all of the Americas. In 2011, USA Today ranked the Brimstone Hill Fortress in the top ten out of 500 must see hidden gems on the planet. During the proceedings, Management Council President Morton presented her with a painting showing a panoramic view of Brimstone Hill Fortress.
After the luncheon, President Tsai and her delegation were accompanied by Prime Minister Harris to downtown Basseterre to visit the Berkeley Memorial, a well-known local landmark. The atmosphere along the way was lively, with warm greetings from local residents and students, and some school children even calling out best wishes to the president in Mandarin.