At noon on July 16 local time (early morning of July 17 Taipei time), President Tsai Ing-wen continued her Journey of Freedom, Democracy, and Sustainability by hosting a luncheon for alumni of Taiwan universities and Taiwan Scholarship recipients from St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). Later that afternoon, Gordon Shallow, who previously studied in Taiwan and is now curator of the St. Vincent Botanic Gardens, gave the president a guided tour of the garden (the oldest botanical garden in the Western Hemisphere).
As the luncheon got started, President Jamali Jack of the SVG Taiwan Alumni Association introduced President Tsai to the association members on hand and other SVG citizens. Sixteen Taiwan Scholarship recipients then sang an upbeat Mandarin song they composed for the occasion that welcomed President Tsai, and expressed hope that she would like SVG.
The scholarship recipients also briefly introduced themselves one by one to the president as everyone enjoyed lunch. The president encouraged the scholarship recipients to study hard, but also enjoy their lives in Taiwan.
Later that afternoon, the president toured the St. Vincent Botanic Gardens. She first went to see SVG's national bird, the St. Vincent Parrot (Amazona guildingii), which is endemic to the island of St. Vincent. When the brilliantly plumed parrot saw the president arrive, it actively greeted her: "Hello!" There are fewer than 500 St. Vincent Parrots in the world, and they are included on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species.
Next, Garden Curator Shallow accompanied President Tsai to the site of a tree planting ceremony, where she enjoyed a performance by a steel drum band and interacted with local school children before planting a Jujube tree. After that she toured the home of the garden's first curator.
As the oldest botanical garden in the Western Hemisphere, the St. Vincent Botanic Gardens has many different tropical plants, including the rare cannonball tree (Couroupita guianensis). Curator Shallow, a former president of the SVG Taiwan Alumni Association, graduated with high honors from the Department of Plant Pathology at National Chung Hsing University. While studying in Taiwan, he also became enamored of Taiwanese culture. He speaks both Mandarin and Taiwanese fluently, and set an excellent example for all of the Taiwan Scholarship recipients from SVG.