According to an ancient Chinese axiom, “Meeting old friends in far-off places is one of life’s greatest moments.”
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony held a final meeting with the President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) Ma Ying-jeou, at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City, Belize. President Ma will demit office in May.
During the course of his visit, Dr. Anthony held a bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean Barrow. He also attended a round table discussion with President Ma; Prime Minister Barrow; Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Hon. Timothy Harris; and Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Hon. Ralph Gonsalves.
The highlight of the trip, however, was a bilateral meeting with President Ma, during which Dr. Anthony thanked the Taiwanese leader for his friendship and support.
Specifically, the Prime Minister spoke of assistance given by the Republic of China (Taiwan) in culture, community transformation, health, technology, and education.
Both President Ma and Prime Minister Anthony remarked on the close friendship they have developed over the years, mirroring the friendship between their two countries.
Said Dr. Anthony,
“It is never easy to say goodbye to a friend. But that is what we must do. You are representing your country, as President, but you are also a friend. A reliable friend, and a trustworthy friend.
“In our country you have changed lives. Politicians are really remembered for their ability to impact on the lives of others. The test is very simple. I look back on the time I have spent in office and I ask, have I changed the quality of the lives of the citizens of my country for the better? In Saint Lucia, you have certainly impacted on the lives of our people, and you are fondly thought of.
“When history reflects on what you have achieved in terms of international relations, in Asia and beyond, you will be remembered as a great man, and a man of peace. I have no doubt that history will be kind to you when that time comes.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Saint Lucia, I want to thank you. Not just as one leader to another, sharing views, sharing ideas. I want to thank you as a friend.”
The two leaders also discussed the extension of Taiwanese aid in the field of national security. Taiwan is rated by many indices, including those furnished by the FBI and World Bank, as one of the safest nations on the planet, with exceedingly low crime levels.