By Loshaun Dixon

Basseterre, St. Kitts-The keys to eight brand new trucks were handed over by Ambassador from the Republic of China on Taiwan in St. Kitts and Nevis to Prime Minister Timothy Harris and Defence Force Commander Colonel Patrick Wallace to assist that organization to carry out their security agenda.

The eight vehicles donated value $862,000 and the funds were donated to the Ministry of National Security’s Defence Force to purchase the vehicles.

Commander Wallace of the St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force noted that the donation was significant and praised the Republic of China on Taiwan for their assistance 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,” he said.

He added that they also provided assistance in the development of officers by giving them scholarships to attend the Fu Hsing Kang Military College.

“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 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,” he declared.

The Defence Force head expressed its gratitude to the Government and people of Taiwan for the donation on behalf of the officers of the institution.

Resident Ambassador from the Republic of China on Taiwan to St. Kitts and Nevis, His Excellency George Gow Wei Chiou said it was a  “great pleasure” to have handed the vehicles to the Defence Force.

“We have confidence that the National Defence Force can use these vehicles very efficiently to perform their duties to protect the security of your country,” he said.

He added that providing the vehicle is only part of the work of his embassy and that that they also provide opportunities for officers.

“Over the years we have invited similar officers to study in Taiwan and in the future we will continue to invite individuals from the National Defence Force in the short term and long term to study in Taiwan,” he added.

Prime Minister Harris expressed his delight at the donation and hope they could be put to effective use.

“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,”

He also said the Republic of China on Taiwan was the first country to open diplomatic relations with St. Kitts and Nevis after Independence on September 23, 1983.

“I want to express the government’s own appreciation for the long standing partnership with the government and people of Taiwan. We have come on December 23 to reinforce that cooperation and to reinforce the commitment to ensuring that our country is a law abiding country and our country has the security apparatus and infrastructure,” he said.