Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 23, 2016 (SKNIS): The Republic of China (Taiwan) continues to partner with the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis in the area of building capacity and improving infrastructure in the security forces as was evident today (December 23) at Camp Springfield where the Southeast Asian country donated four lorry trucks and four pickup trucks to the St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force (SKNDF).

Commander of the SKNDF, Colonel Patrick Wallace, speaking at the handing over ceremony, praised Taiwan for partnering with the security institution.

“This afternoon is very significant for the Defence Force in that again the Republic of China on Taiwan has come forward to assist us in our endeavours,” said Colonel Wallace, while highlighting that Taiwan was the first nation to establish diplomatic ties with a sovereign St. Kitts and Nevis. “St. Kitts and Nevis and the Republic of China on Taiwan have enjoyed very long and productive relations over the years.”

“Taiwan has continued to play a very important role in the social and political development of our federation. In 2007, the Republic of China on Taiwan donated four trucks and they also assisted the Defence Force Band with instruments to the tune of $150, 000 US dollars. They also provided assistance in the development of our officers by giving scholarships to attend the Fu Hsing Kang Military College,” said Colonel Wallace.

He continued: “Today, we are here again to witness Taiwan demonstrating its commitment to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis and its ongoing efforts to enhance our capacity, our security capacity, and also to build capacity in the area of disaster relief because these vehicles will not only be used solely for patrols or military duties but in the event of a disaster, they will be used to move around needy supplies and also persons who may have to be evacuated over affected areas. The officers and other ranks of the Defence Force express their profound and sincere gratitude to the Government and people of Taiwan for this generous donation and I would like you to give them a round of applause.”

Resident Ambassador from the Republic of China on Taiwan to St. Kitts and Nevis, His Excellency George Gow Wei Chiou, who handed over the keys to the vehicles to Colonel Wallace and Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, said it was his “great pleasure to have come this afternoon to witness the handing over of the vehicles to the National Defence Force of St. Kitts and Nevis,” while pledging more assistance especially in the area of training. “We have confidence that the National Defence Force can use these vehicles very efficiently to perform its duties to protect the security of your country.”

In his very brief remarks, Prime Minister Harris said “We are delighted today that we can add to the resources that are being provided to the Defence Force to the tune of over $800,000 dollars in transportation support to the Defence Force.”

“We hope, as the ambassador said before me, they will be put to the most effective and efficient use in ensuring that law and order prevails in the country,” said the prime minister and minister of national security, while expressing gratitude and appreciation to the Government and people of Taiwan “for the long-standing partnership” with St. Kitts and Nevis.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Mr. Osmond Petty chaired the proceedings, while Father Isaiah Phillip blessed the new vehicles.