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Vincentian politician Dr. Douglas Slater (R) is pleased with nationals in Taiwan. (Photo courtesy Jamali Jack)

TAIPEI, Taiwan: A Vincentian politician on a five-day trip to Taiwan has praised the exemplary performance of his country’s students here.

Minister of Health Dr. Douglas Slater, said Vincentian students in Taiwan have proven that their country chose wisely in deciding to send them this far to pursue tertiary education.

Slater mentioned Ming Chuan University International College (MCUIC) senior, Vincentian Casroy Cain, who was part of a team that constructed a prize-winning electronic engineering project.

“…[Q]uite impressive! I am very proud of him. And, these things really encourage us as political leaders that decisions were right to encourage our students to come this far to study,” Slater told I Witness-News on Wednesday.

About 30 Vincentians have so far received university scholarships from the government of Taiwan and its agencies. An additional two have received basketball scholarships from Ming Chuan University (MCU).

Three Vincentians graduated last June with degrees funded by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs while a fourth student completed a master’s degree under the Taiwan International Development and Cooperation Fund scholarship programme.

Cain and the other two members of his team designed a hand gesture-controlled music player. The team, which also included MCUIC electronic engineering seniors American Allen Huang and Taiwanese Dennis Tsai, placed third among the 300 teams competing in the Innovative Asia Competition.

The device was the top project in MCU’s Electronic Engineering Department and is being submitted to the National Engineering Conference hosted by the government of Taiwan.

The device was showcased in the Qing Yuan Technology University’s science journal.

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Vincentian student Casroy Cain demonstrates the prize-winning electronic engineering project (Photo courtesy Casroy Cain).

Cain demonstrated the project to Dr. Slater when the politician met with Vincentian students here on Monday

“I am encouraged by the news that I am hearing. It seems that our students are doing quite well in their courses and we look forward to hearing good things from you all,” Slater told I Witness-News.

“I really want to congratulate you guys. I have gone through this. I was a pioneer in going to distant lands with [a] distant language, but, as you would have experience by now, your education is so enriched by the exposure to a new language, a new culture,” the Cuba-trained physician said.

He added, “It is not just the technical expertise that you gain but the socialization and all that. And, I am happy that our students have gotten this experience and I hope, and know, that it will do well for our personal and national development.”

Slater also met with Vincentian students and other nationals here on Wednesday. He noted that his agenda was packed and many students had exams and could not meet with him.

“It was really a meet and greet principally, but, of course, some issues came up. Students were happy to see me as I was to see them. We discussed some home issues,” he said.

He said that the Vincentians here discussed with him the ongoing constitutional reform exercise in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and his government’s efforts to secure the two-thirds “yes” vote majority during the November 25 referendum.

They also discussed with the minister their studies, employment prospects in SVG after graduation, and diplomatic representation here in Taipei.

“I think it is especially important, especially with the distance and there are sometimes issues which may come up that you need some guidance, some assistance from home and they wanted to have like a point contact person to relate to directly when such issues come up.

“I think that is a desirable request and one that I think we can work on,” Dr. Slater said, promising to raise the concern with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kingstown.

Slater came to Taipei on the invitation of the government of Taiwan to attend a meeting of high-ranking health officials from Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and other Asian nations.

He was expected to leave the state on Thursday.