St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ambassador to Taiwan, Andrea Bowman at her office in Taipei. (Photo: Zuleika Lewis)

By Zuleika Lewis

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Ambassador of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) to Taiwan, Andrea Bowman, has assured Vincentian students here that, as it stands, they have nothing to worry about even as Taiwan lost two more allies last month.

The Solomon Islands and Kiribati, which had accumulated over 50 years of diplomatic ties with Taiwan, switched diplomatic allegiance to China, leaving Taipei with just 15 formal diplomatic partners. 

The severing of ties between the Solomon Islands and Taiwan ended a 36-year relationship, while Kiribati, ended 16-years of diplomatic ties. 

General elections in SVG are constitutionally due in March 2021, though widely expected by next year, and leader of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) Godwin Friday has reiterated his party’s commitment to switching diplomatic recognition to China.

In the interim, Friday said, the NDP will continue to pay Taiwan and its envoy in Kingstown the relevant courtesies as a formal ally of SVG.

However, the ruling Unity Labour Party of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves had restated its commitment to Kingstown-Taipei ties. 

Here, President Tsai Ing-wen will face the Taiwanese electorate in presidential elections in January, amidst rising tension with China.

Taiwan has lost seven allies since 2016, when Tsia’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) came to office.

This followed eight years of rapprochement between Beijing and Taipei, when Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan’s pro-unification Kuomintang was in office. 

And, Bowman said that while she is hoping for “certain things” when Vincentians go to the polls, she wishes that the friendship between both countries will remain regardless of the outcome.  

“Parties are entitled to their own perspectives as it relates to diplomacy and things like that. But I do hope that the 38 years of friendship that we have had with Taiwan, I hope that would be respected,” said Bowman, a retired educator, who is in her first foreign service post.

“You know the extent to which Taiwan has contributed to the education of so many of our students and the reality is that many of our students do enjoy being here in Taiwan. They are developing, they are progressing and I hope that is regarded. I hope that is respected by whoever wins the next election,” Bowman said.

SVG was the last of Taiwan’s allies to establish an embassy in Taiwan, doing so on Aug. 8 — 38 years after establishing diplomatic relations. 

Bowman added that SVG’s presence in Taiwan continues to bring her pride.

“What’s happening here, I think, is positive and ought to be maintained and respected. There are 29 flagpoles outside in the yard, however, there are only 14 flags and our flag is right at the top,” she said in an interview at the complex in Taipei, where embassies are located. 

“Every morning when I look out of my window and I look at it, I say this stands for something; this counts for something. So I would love to say and I feel and I hope that we are here to stay and our students should have that sense of confidence,” Bowman said.

In addition to the ambassador, the staff at SVG’s embassy includes Minister Counsellor Elroy Wilson and Taiwanese Diana Chao, the secretary.

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4 Comments

  1. Another case of reality juxtaposition forlorn hope! Reunification is an inevitable conclusion, so says President Xi Jinping in January this year! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vG4zcwidMa4

    Taiwan’s supporters it appears, are falling like skittles these days! Is SVG to be yet another fair weather friend?

    The SVG Democrat would drop this declared democrat for the Communist regime, while the diehard Socialist family regime, now embraces and hold fast to the declared beleaguered democrats. Schizophrenia? No! At the end of the day it would appear that its money that doing the talking!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yv8zLUuXOY4

    Reply

    1. James, money is always a major culprit. I think the present SVG Government maintains ties to Taiwan for more of a geopolitical strategic reason. Obviously SVG would financially benefit much more with a Mainland China partnership, rather than what we have from Taiwan. Along with the geopolitical reason we all know that the ULP gets much financial support from Taiwan. An SVG alliance with Taiwan is favored by the USA.
      The THREAT of making a switch may be like holding an Ace in your hand and everyone at the table (particularly the USA) knows you have it but do not know if or when you will play it…. I am speculating! SVG may not get much financially but are we benefiting in other ways, more related to geopolitics?

      Reply

  2. We as a country dear DUKE are the useful village idiots for the over active ego of the Gonsalves family, Taiwan, Cuba and the Venezuelan regimes. The grandiose delusional ego of the Gonsalves serves the foreign policy objectives of others very well.

    We Vincentians however have never been more badly served than we are now. Instead of our Government staying at home employing themselves at delivering to us gainful jobs, good health care, a good transport system, rat-free clean streets or good communal security, their entire efforts and attentions are thoroughly focused elsewhere, in satisfying the grandiose delusional ego of the Gonsalves family and those they seek to align themselves with.

    So, while we fester in extensive and gross poverty, coupled with rampant environmental decay, our government finds time to travel the world seeking to right that instead. What fools we are as a people to tolerate such distraction and wilful neglect!

    Reply

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