Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 16, 2019 (SKNIS): The Order of St. Christopher and Nevis, the highest honour that can be bestowed on a non-national, was conferred on Her Excellency Dr. Tsai Ing-wen, President of the Republic of China (Taiwan), during a brief ceremony at Government House on Monday, July 15, 2019.
Governor General His Excellency Sir S. W. Tapley Seaton welcomed Dr. Tsai to Government House at Camp Springfield and expressed appreciation for the deep bonds that St. Kitts and Nevis has with Taiwan.
The citation accompanying the medal highlighted the “rich traditions and commendable record on the observance of the universal values of democracy, freedom and human rights.” It added that since Dr. Tsai assumed office in 2016 as Taiwan’s 14th President: “Her Excellency Dr. Tsai has demonstrated a devotion to the promotion of shared values, and has affirmed the accomplishments of the commendable cooperation between the Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis and the Republic of China (Taiwan).”
“These actions have been admired and hailed by the people and government of the Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis. This first State Visit of Her Excellency President Tsai Ing-wen to our country will greatly enhance the relations and cement cooperation between the Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis and the Republic of China (Taiwan).”
The citation also notes that: “It is therefore an expression of our appreciation of Her Excellency’s distinguished advancement of our mutual relationships that His Excellency Sir S. W. Tapley Seaton GCMG, CVO, QC, JP, Governor General of St. Christopher and Nevis has the pleasure and distinct honour to confer upon Her Excellency President Tsai Ing-wen, The Order of St. Christopher and Nevis.”
In response, Dr. Tsai thanked the Governor General and others for the warm welcome to the Federation. She noted that Sir Tapley, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris and other top officials have visited Taiwan and she was proud to reciprocate this honour.
“To be awarded The Order of St. Christopher and Nevis is truly a special privilege. This serves as an ultimate recognition of the longstanding friendship between our two countries,” the president said, adding that the occasion had special meaning as it was Sir Tapley, as Attorney General in 1983, who was instrumental in formalizing diplomatic relations with the ROC (Taiwan) after St. Kitts and Nevis gained Independence that same year.
The first female president of the ROC (Taiwan) expressed appreciation for St. Kitts and Nevis’ “longstanding support of Taiwan in the international arena. You showed people worldwide that Taiwan not only acts as a responsible member of the global village, but is also ready and willing to proactively contribute to international affairs.”
“Looking to the future, I hope that the Governor General will continue to extend his greatest support to Taiwan so that we stand shoulder to shoulder on the international stage and do our part to create a better future for all,” Dr. Tsai stated.
The Order of St. Christopher and Nevis was created in the National Honours Amendment Act of 2005.
Dozens of dignitaries attended the ceremony including Prime Minister Harris and members of the Federal Cabinet; members of Federal Parliament including Opposition Leader Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas; National Hero Dr. the Right Excellent and Right Honourable Sir Kennedy Simmonds; senior government officials; representatives from the diplomatic and consular corps; Members of the British Empire and others. Several students who studied in Taiwan were also present and were greeted by Dr. Tsai.
A State Banquet and reception followed. The activity is the final official engagement for President Tsai, who is making her inaugural visit to St. Kitts and Nevis. During the July 13 to 16 state visit, the president oversaw the signing of an Agreement on Cooperation in Technical and Vocational Education and Training between both countries, and broke ground alongside Premier of Nevis, Honourable Mark Brantley, for a Recreational Park Project at Pinney’s Beach, Nevis.
Dr. Tsai also laid a wreath at a monument commemorating the memories of over 230 persons who died during the 1970 Christena Disaster, and visited the Museum of Nevis History as well as toured the Berkeley Memorial and the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.