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Aug 17, 2018

A Ceremonial Sitting of the House of Representatives and Senate for Visiting Taiwanese President

Dozens of reporters and television crews from Belize and Taiwan filled the galleries of the Assembly Building this morning to cover the special joint sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate.  The session was part of an itinerary for Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s visit to Belize.  Though ceremonial in nature, parliamentarians on both sides of the floor were in full attendance today.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano was there and has the following story.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The coming together of both houses of parliament, the legislature, as well as the upper chamber, is a rare occasion.  Traditionally, the House of Representatives and the Senate meet in isolation, on Fridays and Tuesdays, respectively.  Today, however, is no ordinary sitting, as the National Assembly has convened for a ceremonial session in honor of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s visit to Belize.

 

Laura Longsworth

Laura Longsworth, Speaker of the House

“Honorable members, Mr. President and members of the Senate have been invited to attend a special sitting of the House of Representatives on the occasion of the visit of Her Excellency Dr. Tsai Ing-wen, President of the Republic of China (Taiwan).  If this is in accordance with your will, the Clerk of the House will be directed to convey to the honorable Mr. President and the honorable senators, a cordial invitation in your name, that they should attend the meeting.  Is this your will?”

 

Albeit formal, the special sitting was devoid of familiar banter from parliamentarians on both sides of the floor.  While they were all on their best behavior, in a manner of speaking, today’s meeting was symbolic of the commitment between Belize and Taiwan to nationhood.

 

Tsai Ing-wen

Dr. Tsai Ing-wen, President of Taiwan

“I want to emphasize that despite the great geographic difference between our two countries, Belize remains close to our hearts.  The Republic of China (Taiwan) is committed to supporting the national development of Belize as a friend and partner.  We believe in the great potential of the Belizean people and all that you are destined to accomplish.  In the international community Belize has also been an outspoken supporter for Taiwan.  From the halls of the United Nations to different forums and organizations from around the world, Belize has acted as a voice for the international aspiration of the twenty-three million people of Taiwan.”

 

Through its International Cooperation Development Fund, ICDF, Taiwan has been able to assist in Belize’s growth as a country in areas of human resources development that play a vital role in assisting its allies achieve sustainable development.  Education is also a crucial mechanism for training workforces in developing countries.

 

Dr. Tsai Ing-wen

“Belize has accomplished a lot over its history for which the people of Belize should be rightfully proud and the Republic of China (Taiwan) is so pleased to have played a part in support of that.  I’m sure our work here has been felt by the distinguished members of the chamber.  In Belize City, the Taiwan Technical Mission has worked with local partners to revitalize historical quarters which will benefit tourism and the preservation of history.  We are supporting efforts by the Institute of Technical, Vocational and Educational Training to improve vocational training for young people.  At the Central Farm agricultural station which is just a short distance from here, we are engaging with your farmers to introduce new agricultural produce and improve breeds of livestock.  And across the country, our health practitioners are working to strengthen the capabilities of the Belize Health Information System.  While these are just some examples of many projects that are already ongoing, today I want to use this opportunity to say that Taiwan is also prepared to do more.”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow, in speaking on adjournment, reiterated the close ties that Belize has with Taiwan, despite the geographical distance between both countries.

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“We are absolutely pleased with your visit.  We consider it an honor that you have graced us with your presence and we are positive that this is a sign that the already robust relations that exist between our two countries will proceed now from strength to strength.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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