(SKNIS)—St. Kitts and Nevis’ students studying in The Republic of China (Taiwan) have been praised for their courage in venturing to a far-away country with a different language and culture to pursue studies in several disciplines while being encouraged to return to their homeland after their studies to take advantage of the opportunities to contribute to their county’s development.

Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, Attorney General Honourable Vincent Byron Jr. and Premier of Nevis Honourable Vance Amory spoke to the federation’s students studying in Taiwan on May 21 at the Embassy of St. Christopher and Nevis in Taipei and delivered a message of praise and encouragement.

“We thank you for the courage to wander so far in the East to pursue your respective careers and to say that at home there are wonderful opportunities waiting for you,” Prime Minister Harris said. “As we listened and we heard the diverse fields in which you are engaged, certainly I know at home there is a place for each and every one of you.”

Prime Minister Harris also underscored some of the benefits in studying in a country with a different language and culture than one’s own.

“One of the silent advantages of studying in a place like this (Taiwan) is that you leave with not only higher knowledge in the areas of engagement and learning and of course a wider cultural experience but you come back home with another marketable tool, that of a new language—and for you it is the language of a people who have so far been dominating the world in many areas of engagement, the language of a people who contribute the most significantly in terms of number in population in the world and so this is a very, very important skill,” he said.

“I want to encourage you to persevere, to encourage you to do the very best that you can…we need your skills, we need your patriotism, we need your commitment to national service,” said Prime Minister Harris, while inspiring the students to stand firm in the face of adversity and challenge and to “make it the best experience” they can.

Premier of Nevis, Minister of Labour and Senior Minister Honourable Vance Amory also had words of motivation for the students and wished them well in their examinations.

“We value the choice that you have taken to further your own academic development, and your own personal development in a country that is very far,” he said. “I think your skills which you are honing here in Taiwan, in whichever field of choice you’ve made will redound to the benefit of all the people of St. Kitts and Nevis when you return to serve your own country…that is for us and the Administration the ultimate that we ask you to do.”

“Come here, acquire the skills, develop yourselves and then return to help build your country,” Premier Amory told the students, while emphasizing that the Government is looking at ways to combat the brain drain by improving, increasing and enhancing the economic opportunities so that students upon acquiring their degrees and technical competencies can find work to put their skills to use while earning money to sustain their families and develop themselves.

“Some people choose to remain overseas or work in other places. In the global environment, we do not think we should restrict you. That is a choice which you will make but I do believe you will look at your country first, look for the opportunity and then you can look at other opportunities wherever they may be because if we don’t build our country, who will,” Premier Amory said.

He further added: “We are already faced with the challenge of managing the labour environment to make sure there is harmony between our own people and those who want to come in to work. It is a challenge we have to face daily…our job is to ensure that we create or maintain an environment which is harmonious and which can continue to expand so that we can create employment.”

Attorney General and Minister of Communications Honourable Vincent Byron also encouraged the students to return to St. Kitts and Nevis upon completion of their studies.

“We need you to come back to St. Kitts and Nevis to add to the capacity of our country, to help in building a professional class of workers who will redound to the benefit of the home country,” he said.

The Minister of Communications used his talk to impress upon the students the importance of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the building of a country. He informed them of the newly launched official website of St. Kitts and Nevis with e-portal and the plan for the relaunching of the ICT Center later this year, which will be the new home for the office of ICT, home for global response team and home for internet exchange points where persons will have a more efficient internet service in St. Kitts and Nevis.

“I noticed that a number of you are doing business studies, international business. It is an area that can be one for exciting, innovative, small businesses to communicate elsewhere in the world,” Attorney General Byron told around twenty students.

In the question, answer and suggestions segment of the encounter, students touched on several areas including where to direct job application letters, remuneration for qualifications and experience, improving infrastructural development in St. Kitts and Nevis, improving mathematical education in the federation, and improving internet service in St. Kitts and Nevis.

Over 50 students from St. Kitts and Nevis are presently studying in Taiwan at several universities including National Chiao Tung University, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Ming Chuan University, National Taipei University of Technology, Chung Hua University, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Central Police University, I-Shou University/School of Medicine, National Dong Hwa University, National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Science International and National Taipei University of Education.

Some of the disciplines being pursued are Biomedical Engineering, Tropical Agriculture, International Business and Trade, Journalism and Mass Communication, Tropical Agriculture, Travel and Tourism Management, Mandarin Chinese, Architecture, Management Science and Finance and Police Administration.

The visit to the students at Embassy of St. Christopher and Nevis in Taipei came as part of the five day programme for the delegation of Prime Minister Harris at the Inauguration of the 14th-Term President and Vice President of the Republic of China (Taiwan). The meeting was facilitated by St. Kitts and Nevis’ Resident Ambassador to ROC (Taiwan) Her Excellency Jasmine E. Huggins.

The delegation to Taiwan included Premier of Nevis, the Honourable Vance Amory and Mrs. Amory, Attorney General, Honourable Vincent Byron Jr. and Mrs. Byron, and Director-General of the St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service (SKNIS), Mr. Lesroy Williams. His Excellency George Gow Wei Chiou, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to St. Kitts and Nevis, accompanied the delegation.