PHOTOS: Resident Taiwanese Ambassador George Gow Wei Chiou while addressing media guests before the food arrived (Spokesman Snap)

By: Precious Mills 

BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Thursday 7th December, 2017)-On Wednesday 6th December, more than ten (10) local media representatives assembled at the Palms Court Gardens located at Fortlands for a usual Christmas luncheon courtesy the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan), invited as special guests of resident ambassador George Gow Wei Chiou.

Following the 3-course meal, invitees were each given presents of a box of gift-wrapped chocolate as well as a 2018 Chinese calendar which celebrates the ‘Year of the Dog’.

The menu at Wednesday’s event included rice and peas, salad, vegetables, fish and turkey.

Desert options were fruitcake and ice cream while pumpkin soup and goat water were the appetizer choices and fruit punch and sorrel flavours were included on the beverage list.

Ambassador Chiou described the outing as a “family reunion” having invited “our media friends in saying sincere thanks to you.”

Additionally, he used the opportunity to share some updates regarding four new upcoming projects in St.Kitts-Nevis involving the assistance of the Taiwan government as facilitated through the embassy, aimed to focus on renal disease prevention (relating to the kidney), computerised land registration records and also medical records as well as agricultural adaption to climate change.

Ambassador Chiou talked about the continuation of the renal disease prevention project which was started last April.

According to him, the project will not only to help the Ministry of Health but will be of benefit for renal failure patients.

He added: “But also we would work with the health center in St.Kitts and Nevis to identify high risk residents and so we can give them pre- disease medicine or methods to help them not get the renal failure diseases.”

Another phase of that project will see a partnership with the Ministry of Education for a prevention education carried out in primary schools.

Ambassador Chiou noted that compared with high school students, it has been found that primary school children are more receptive to such information shared.

That education programme was initially launched in the high schools.

“When we teach the primary school students, they students are very (curious) because when they go home, they will ask their parents and say (things like) ‘teacher says we cannot eat this that we should not eat that’ so we found that this is a better effective method to implement the prevention education.”

Another project relative to an ITC (Information Communication Technology) project will be put in place to computerise medical record cards.

“Currently we have hospital information project which will help the Alexandra Hospital and the JNF General Hospital to install the internet connected systems,” said Ambassador Chiou.

He also talked about the issuing of health cards to patients noting that when they (patients) register and visit the doctor, they will need to swipe the card.

He informed that the card can be used to fill prescriptions at the pharmacy also.

As understood, apart from the medical history information, the card will also indicate what the type of medicine an individual uses.

Ambassador Chiou continued: “On the other hand the government can also monitor, what kind of medicine people use most so …when the government negotiates with the pharmacy manufacturers and when they get the discount medicine, they can choose the specific one which is mostly used and they don’t need to spend additional money to purchase the medicine.”

Ambassador Chiou said the land registration project will be a digitilaised one.

“Because currently all of the records of the land registration in St. Kitts and Nevis are on paper and according to our understanding…in the past decades that there’s been damage or even destroyed so currently when the citizens purchase land transactions sometimes, from time to time,  there is some conflict because maybe the record paper disappear, maybe (water damage) make it diluted so it’s not clear and from next year we will work with the Ministry of Justice and we will introduce the computerised land registration system…,” he disclosed.

“After three years of implementation, we hope that St.Kitts and Nevis next time whenever there is any lands transaction, the records will be very clear and everything is stored in the computer so that there is no conflict,” he added.

In regard to the climate change agriculture project, he touched on the fallouts from change in weather in the past three years including reduced water availability as he referred to challenges being faced by farmers.

“In this project, first we will help the farmers…with different types of crops…so that when the water is not enough, do they have another choice? Yes. This project will provide them with a different choice so they can choose the suitable one not necessarily the most profitable one but the suitable one that can adapt to the weather change.”

Ambassador Chiou went on to highlight a second aspect of that project that will address “the increase of insects due to weather changes resulting in rising temperatures… because of the weather change, maybe the temperature gets higher then the insects will maybe increase even though one or two degrees, we will introduce scientific methods to control the insects which is because of the weather change.”

He added: “We hope that this new project will help the local farmers effectively and provide them at least some other choice.

The Taiwan local official said the project is in its final stage of preparation awaiting government’s agreement to be launched early next year.

Ambassador Chiou seen with Batumba Tak, a representative of the Labour Spokesman newspaper, owned by the St.Kitts-Nevis Trades and Labour Union of which he is the General Secretary (Spokesman Snap)