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Taiwan government stays clear of dispute between bank and Grenada

The paper quoted a foreign ministry official as saying Taiwan was “in no position to intervene in the matter” because the loan in question was “commercial”.

Grenada stopped repaying the 28 million US-dollar loan after Hurricane Ivan struck in 2004 but the foreign ministry in Taipei hinted that the switching of diplomatic ties from Taiwan to China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province, was a factor.

Asked why Taipei had renegotiated a payment plan with Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and not with Grenada after Hurricane Ivan, the head of the foreign ministry’s Department of Central and South American Affairs, Wu Chin-mu, said “Grenada, unlike Haiti, is not a diplomatically”, the Taipei Times reported.

Grenada took four loans from the Taiwanese EXIM Bank dating back to 1990, under the National Party government of Herbert Blaize, when it enjoyed diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

The former finance minister in the Keith Mitchell New National Party administration, Anthony Boatswain, said Grenada took three more loans which the government was repaying until 2004 when Hurricane Ivan damaged more than 90 per cent of the island’s infrastructure.

The NNP government then severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan in January 2005 and eight months later, the bank called in the loan.

Boatswain told reporters on Wednesday that Taiwan had continually rebuffed Grenada’s bid to renegotiate the loans.

A spokesman for the bank, Wang Chi-chung, would not be drawn on the dispute, the Taipei Times said Thursday.

“Any information about loans between the two countries pertains to state secrets,” Wang said. “As a public servant, I can’t reveal any confidential information.”

On October 11, EXIM Bank obtained an injunction in a federal district court in New York to force Princess Cruise lines, one of the liners that calls at Grenada, to pay any monies owed to Grenada.

Grenada’s Finance Minister Nazim Burke told CMC that move would seriously affect the island’s tourism industry and will be fought in court.

Burke said the liens on American cruise ships and airlines servicing Grenada were a matter for the country’s port and airports authorities, which were separate statutory bodies.

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