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Aug 16, 2023

Taiwan Gives 66 Scholarships to Belizeans; Will They Return Home?

Eamon Courtenay

The Government of Taiwan gave out scholarships to sixty-six Belizeans a week ago, to further their education in Taiwan. Normally, hundreds of graduates apply for these scholarships, but only a percentage of them are lucky to be awarded. This year’s allotment is a record number that s been offered. But one of the observations over the years is that many of the students never return to help develop Belize, upon completing their studies in Taiwan. Today, Senator Eamon Courtenay, who is also the Minister of Foreign Affairs, explained that students who receive scholarships from Taiwan are not bonded by any agreement, so they can stay there if they choose.


Eamon Courtenay, Leader, Government Business

“We would prefer if they come back, but it is their right to remain there. Some of them, get the scholarship to do some more studies. Some of them get married or have relationships and remain there. And then of course, and this is the bigger problem for us, those who get jobs. When I say it’s a problem, it’s a problem because these are the best and brightest of Belize. These are people who are getting a first class university degree. And we really need every Belizean to come home and to build Belize. Now, I have spoken to some of the students or some of the graduates and they say, but there are no jobs in Belize for me at the salary that I can get in Taiwan. That’s true. But if they don’t come back and help to develop, then the next generation will have the same argument. So we, you know, when I came back many years ago, the amount of money, the quality of law that was practiced was at a certain level. But by every year, more and more lawyers coming back, the whole business and the profession improves. So the general concern of the government is to cooperate with the government of Taiwan to ensure that even if a Belizean wants to stay in Taiwan, for example, because they got a job, that a limited time is allowed for them to stay so that they come back to Belize and contribute to the development. Let me just close off by saying this. There is no intention of the government of Belize to force anybody to come back. You got a scholarship, you earned that. And, you know, if the circumstances of your particular case is that you stay there, we respect that. But we are making an appeal to Belizeans, particularly those who go to Taiwan, because it’s a program that is promoted by the government to come back and help us build Belize.”

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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