New Saint Lucia envoy pledges ties in crops, education

New Saint Lucian Ambassador to Taiwan Robert Kennedy Lewis said he would work to bolster ties in the fields of agriculture and education.

Lewis, who presented his credentials to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) at the Presidential Office in Taipei on Thursday last week, said his country would seek to continue its collaboration with Taiwan in agriculture, especially through the introduction of technology to Saint Lucian farms “to give our farmers more help in acquiring the machinery and tools needed in modern agricultural practice.”

Agriculture is critical to the economy of Saint Lucia, as the Caribbean country is a big producer and exporter of bananas, and Taiwan’s help in sustaining that industry is always appreciated, Lewis said in an e-mail on Wednesday on in response to queries from the Central News Agency.

Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

With Taiwan’s help, Saint Lucia has increased the yields of many fruits and vegetables, especially watermelons and pineapples, Lewis said, adding that Taiwan has helped introduce the cultivation of wax apples.

With the expertise and technology available in Taiwan, Saint Lucia expects to increase the production of fruit and vegetables, while introducing crops that can thrive in the tropical climate to add to food security, he said.

“Through education, we can make Saint Lucia’s agriculture industry stronger and more reliable,” he said. “Hence, I will, through diplomatic efforts, solicit more training and scholarships in agriculture for our people.”

There are about 120 Saint Lucian students studying engineering, agriculture-related fields, and business and entrepreneurial services, Lewis said, adding that he expects this number to quadruple over the next three to four years.

“I am confident with my training and background in education, the increasing demand for scholarships for higher and further studies among Saint Lucians, and the assistance of our friends here in Taiwan, especially in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that we will reach that target ,” he said.

Other fields of study that are likely to gain popularity among Saint Lucian students, are medicine and other medical-related areas, and digital media, he said.

Aside from undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, Lewis said that there must also be opportunities for technical and vocational training, opportunities he vowed to pursue over the next three years.

Describing the relationship between Saint Lucia and Taiwan, Lewis said: “We both believe in self-determination and the need for our citizens to choose how they are governed.”

Saint Lucia intends to continue to voice and express its support for Taiwan at every given opportunity in every domestic and international forum, he said.

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