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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves speaking at the Taiwan National Day event in Kingstown on Tuesday. (iWN photo)
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves speaking at the Taiwan National Day event in Kingstown on Tuesday. (iWN photo)

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves is urging the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) to rethink its pro-China stance.

The NDP, under the leadership of Arnhim Eustace, announced in August 2016, that if voted into office, it would switch diplomatic recognition to China.

Godwin Friday, who, in 2017, succeeded Eustace as NDP president and Opposition Leader, has repeatedly reaffirmed his party’s commitment to ending diplomatic recognition of Taiwan establishing relations with China.

Speaking in Kingstown, on Tuesday, at an event to mark Taiwan’s 108th National Day, celebrated on Oct. 10, Gonsalves noted that for the past 38 years, successive governments in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) have had very close relations with Taiwan.

Gonsalves said that the NDP’s position is “unfortunate”.

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 “It is not too late for them to change their minds and I am urging them so to do,” he said at the event, which was attended by NDP founder and former Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell, and Member of Parliament for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leacock, an NDP vice-president.

The NDP has said that it will respect and pay courtesy to Taiwan’s diplomatic functions in SVG while the diplomatic relations obtain.

Gonsalves said SVG has relationship with China through a number of institutions, such as the Caribbean Development Bank, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations.

He noted that Taipei, Beijing and Kingstown are members of the World Trade Organisation.

“We have nothing against the citizens of Mainland China,” Gonsalves said, adding,

“They come here and they establish business and they get work permits, not from my time but from the time of Sir James.

“So it is not that there is no connection, but the fact is this: the global international architecture has evolved where the people’s republic of China says it is one-China policy and you have relations with them only.”

He said SVG has had greater benefit from its relationship with Taiwan.

“And we do not see the necessity or the desirability of changing those relations. We are not inconstant in our friendships and we can be counted as reliable people. That is how we are. That is how our Caribbean civilisation has evolved in the space called St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

The prime minister said nations must work together on the big problems affecting the world, including climate change, artificial intelligence, the growing gap between the rich and the poor globally, the scarcity of certain strategic resources, war and peace.

Taiwan national day
A toast to Taiwan at Tuesday’s event. (iWN photo)

“Every single one of these things, the issue of air and sea transportation and disease, all of them, you need everybody to work together. We will be burying our hands in the sand to say we must ignore them. Well, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is not ignoring Taiwan.

“Why do we want to interfere with an issue where common sense tells us that we should try to work together and respect everybody? And we won our seat on the Security Council by a simple tagline: Friends of all, striving for a better world. And that is peace security and prosperity… 

“So when you see people depart from such common sense positions, you always ask yourself if there is something inside the mortar besides the pestle,” he said, adding that Kingstown-Taipei ties will be campaign issue during the next general elections.

“So I come here, as the prime minister to reaffirm our friendship.”

Gonsalves noted that he, Sir James Mitchel, and Robert Milton Cato have been prime minister except for five months of the 40 years of SVG independence, adding that he and Sir James, the surviving prime ministers, agree on SVG-Taiwan ties.

“… and you want to substitute your judgement for ours, you can do so, because that will be your right. But I am advising you that it will be dangerous, reckless, irresponsible to ignore such sage – such wide advice of Cato, Mitchell and Ralph.”

He noted the assistance that Taiwan has given SVG in the area of infrastructural development, agriculture, and education.

“What are we going to do? You’re gonna break relations with Taiwan. What about the 60 or 70 or 80 students who are over there? You going send them to Beijing? You going disturb them? I am not saying no nobody must go and study in Beijing; it is a tremendous civilisation, the Chinese, of which Taiwan is part…

“All those are questions which sensible people have to answer,” Gonsalves said.   

23 replies on “Gonsalves urges NDP to rethink pro-China stance”

  1. Taiwan should be awarded grade A by the people b of St Vincent. They are an excellent trading partner. The NDP (No Decent Person ) should listen to the comrade advice .

    1. Trading Partner, are you referring to the fact that for years they held the contract from the ULP government to dig, extract and sell Rabacca stuff to our building trade. While decent folk like Bigga Biggs was put out of business at Rabacca, he was spitefully and maliciously persecuted and put out of business for daring to swap sides and help the NDP.

      Their fishing boats which carry the Vincentian Flag and identity are still sweeping up our fish and freezing it, storing it in Trinidad, selling it internationally and shipping some back to Taiwan.

  2. Who gave the ULP 3 million in 2001? The Taiwanese have decided to support the ULP.And l believe that is the reason for the NDP making there decision .l don’t agree with it.But you of all people should not try to speak to the NDP about that.

    1. Mr Mac but the Taiwanese get a major benefit from SVG, we use our UN vote to support them at every opportunity, everything else is irrelevant to them.

  3. If something performs well, is working well and are achieving good results. Why disturb a wholesome relationship? Building trust and worthy friendship in today’s world where ever political leader is seeking allies, is like the dog eat dog syndrome of today.

    An opposition party does not have to go against ever proposal or implementation made by the Government in power as running a country is not a competition but a role of leadership effectiveness, focusing on the wellbeing and development of the people, all the people. Furthermore, the voters must demand justification for all initiatives especially when it warrants changes to proven manifestos such as this situation which was founded by Sir James, who by no doubt; has been the most effective of NDP leaders in SVG.

  4. Come now Ralph, we are not all dunce in here SVG, Taiwan may not exist as a separate entity for much longer if Xi Jinping and People’s Republic of China have their way. Taiwan and its government is holding on tooth and nail just to survive being independent of mainland China and is losing friends faster than one can say jack Robin!

    We all know that Beijing considers Taiwan to be a part of China and says it should reunite with the Chinese mainland as soon as possible and has not ruled out the use of force to bring that about.

    “Only 15 countries now recognise the self-governing territory of Taiwan as a sovereign nation.
    Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said Beijing had used “dollar diplomacy” to poach one of Taiwan’s last remaining allies by providing funds to procure several aeroplanes and ferries.
    China is trying to “suppress and reduce Taiwan’s international presence” and “ultimately destroy Taiwan’s sovereignty”, Mr Wu said.

    Can Taiwan win out over the PRC? “Beijing has stepped up pressure on the island to seek “reunification” and backed up its warnings by flying regular bomber patrols around it.

    Beijing also says Taiwan does not have the right to state-to-state relations and is keen to isolate it diplomatically. Seven countries have severed diplomatic ties with the Taiwan and switched allegiance to Beijing since Tsai coming to power. It now has formal diplomatic ties with just 15 nations”.

    Therefore is the Ralph Gonsalves family support for Taiwan more likely to be only just temporary too? It’s the Dollars that counts after all in the end, according to the Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.

    1. James you are quite right I bet if the price was right Gunzi would change sides quicker than a tennis ball at Wimbledon.

      It would be great to know if and to what extent the Taiwanese support Ralph and his dynasty personally.

  5. I was once told by a Taiwanese diplomat that Taiwan would support a one party state led by Ralph Gonsalves because they thought he was the only person capable of handling Vincentian Blacks.

    It is well known Taiwan have given the ULP vast some of money prior to elections to try and bring the one part process into being.

  6. these fools make me laugh ………if Gonsalves was pro China and opposition supported Taiwan
    there would be even greater condemnation being that China is a socialist state . LMAO
    Luckily the USA supports Taiwan 1000%

    If Gonsalves said the sky was blue , these are the type of ppl will say no its green lol smh .
    given the current and latest developments in China concerning the crackdown on protesters the NDP is not in good position on this choice now or never .

    1. No they are not, they pay us money and projects and we fully support them in the UN by voting for them.

      Its a financial transaction, they need our vote we need their money.

  7. Now, now our dear “ULP MEMBER” pray please do tell us! What trade do we in SVG do with Taiwan that makes them such “an excellent trading partner.”? We are indeed in the dark about it and are most curious to learn!

    Dear ULP MEMBER, are you like the comrade and his family, schooled in Cuban economics? In that case, no wonder that SVG is in the state that it is in, begging for our upkeep!

  8. James H, when we were building the airport terminal who provideI the $25 million dollars to fund the project. Least we forget James H.

    1. ULP the $25 mill is nothing they promised to supply the plant and machinery but we supplied and paid for 200 million ourselves, they promised to pay for the Cubans wages, we paid the wages ourselves at about$300,000 a month, we were lied to either by the Venezuelans or by Gonsalves, or both.

  9. Mr administrator ….again you bypass other ppl comments to post pro anti gov propaganda .
    you are a disgrace to freedom of choice and expression ……….it makes me wonder your ulterior motives of trying to be a journalist but expose the true hypocrite you are .

  10. This comment may be too late and not get read by anyone even if it is posted:
    I have always believed that Ralph Gonsalves is very good in most Foreign Policy aspects. I wonder if he can instead of being over the top pro Taiwan if he can show us what he is capable of by being a mediator between the two entities. If it were me I would drop (if possible in geopolitics) the “either-or” choice and instead become “both”. That would mean adopting a “One State” or “Reunification” goal. Wouldn’t everyone be better off afterwards? Jesus said “Blessed be the Peacemaker.” Ralph Gonsalves could prove that he actually has Christian sentiments but is also capable of achieving abroad, what he is unwilling to do at home… UNITY!

  11. Dear ULP MEMBER, it would appear that you need a Lexicon or perhaps drop in and have a word with either Patrick Ferrari or Kenton or better yet, just take a trip down to the Library in Town, as you do appear to be having great difficulty when using the term “trading partner”!

    However, this is in no way at all surprising, for you may just be only repeating something that you may have overheard at some late evening ULP meeting! A word of advice my dear ULP MEMBER, do yourself good by please carrying out research on your material before writing it, as I still require an answer to my question!

    And yes JOLLY, I have very sadly on several occasions, have had the misfortune to have overheard similar demeaning sentiments about fellow Vincentians, as that expressed to you by that “Taiwanese diplomat”! No doubt, that this is the narrative that is being spread abroad, around the dinner tables!

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