The Ports Authority has, over the years, been trying to upgrade its aging equipment and vehicles that are crucial to the operations of the statutory corporation but due to financial constraints, this has proven difficult. Now the Government of Taiwan has come to its aid, by providing approximately EC$810,000, for the purchase of a piece of equipment known as a Reach Stacker.
The cheque for the donation was presented to the Minister of Tourism & International Transport, Senator Richard Skerritt, by Taiwan’s resident Ambassador, Mr. Miguel Tsao. While making the donation at his Basseterre embassy, Mr. Tsao explained that the monetary donation fulfils a commitment made by his country and expressed confidence that the bilateral relations between St. Kitts & Nevis and Taiwan, will grow ever stronger, and the friendship between the two peoples ever closer.
Ambassador Tsao noted that since he took up his appointment nine months ago, he has witnessed the progress of tourism in the Federation.
“St. Kitts and Nevis has all the potential to be and is, in fact, considered one of the top 10 tourist destinations in the world. We are all proud of this achievement as we are all aware that tourism is a very important and integral part of our lives. I must therefore applaud Minister Richard Skerritt and your team for your great efforts that have brought all of this to fruition,” said the Taiwan diplomat.
The diplomat indicated that during a visit to Taiwan earlier this year, Prime Minister Douglas, reached tangible tourism related cooperation accords with the Taiwanese government.
“One example is a cooperation agreement on a new demonstration farm in Newton Ground. As a result, in the very near future, we shall be able to present a farm that incorporates agriculture, solar energy and tourism to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, as well as to foreign tourists. In addition, my government made an offer to invite persons from St. Kitts and Nevis to Taiwan to participate in an intensive training programme in the field of hospitality and tourism. That initiative between our two governments will be carried out in the coming months,” said Ambassador Tsao.
In accepting the cheque, Minister Skerritt thanked the Government and People of Taiwan. He said the donation will go toward the purchase of the Reach Stacker to assist in the continued transformation of SCAPSA in the national development of St. Kitts and Nevis.
He said growth will continue to take place at both the seaport and the airport. “The arrival of visitors and the expenditure from visitors helps to drive the economy forward, helps to bring consumer activity, helps to spread income through the community and helps to drive further consumer activity which then drives imports of cargo through the ports and so there is an inextricable link between tourism and international transport both from the airlift side and the seaport side,” said the Tourism and International Transport minister,.
Mr. Skerritt said the equipment gives the balance in ensuring efficiency of delivering important cargo.