TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Belize’s Ambassador to Taiwan Dr Candice Pitts said the Caribbean nation is very engaged with Taiwan and hopes to further strengthen bilateral ties during her tenure.
Pitts, who has been in Taipei for nearly seven months, told Taiwan News that in recent years, the embassy has hosted Belizean artists, musicians and chefs to exhibit their crafts and works.
She also mentioned that the Belize Taiwan University Conference, the first of its kind, was held in July. This event is “a tangible representation of the benefits of educational opportunities between Belize and Taiwan,” Pitts said.
The Ambassador added that the Belize Taiwan Songs Commission was launched last month by the Embassy, ââthe Central American Trade Office and the National Institute of Culture and History of Belize. The purpose of this is to commission at least five songs “to highlight the beneficial relationship between Belize and Taiwan”.
Belize also participated in a food fair held earlier this month, alongside other countries in Central America and the Caribbean, to promote local food products in Taiwan. Pitts said some upcoming events include those related to promoting trade and investment between the two countries.
Regarding economic relations, the ambassador said Belize and Taiwan look forward to the ratification of the Economic Cooperation Agreement (ECA), which was signed last year and is expected to enter into force in October.
Taiwan has already shown interest in Belizean seafood, including lobster, shrimp and conch, as well as hot sauces from Marie Sharp, Pitts said. She explained that once the mutually beneficial ECA comes into effect, Belize hopes to export other products, such as beef, pork and citrus fruits.
Belize imports ceiling, pedestal and wall fans; Bicycles; as well as umbrellas from Taiwan, according to the ambassador.
Pitts pointed out that September is generally a very patriotic and festive month for Belizeans, with September 21 being the country’s Independence Day. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Belize’s independence from the United Kingdom
On Friday (September 17), the Embassy will hold a online celebration at 3 pm President Tsai Ing-wen (è¡è±æ); Belizean Prime Minister Juan Antonio BriceÃ±o; Ambassador of Saint Kitts and Nevis to Taiwan Jasmine Huggins, who is the dean of the diplomatic core in Taiwan; as well as other diplomatic allies will be present.
There will be some cultural performances, she said, adding that everyone in Taiwan is invited to join the embassy in celebrating Belize’s 40th anniversary of independence.
Reflecting on the journey Belize has traveled over the past four decades, the Ambassador said that “independence and national identity are of critical importance to our people and our country” and that he has given to country the opportunity to determine its own destiny and chart its own course.
Independence also allowed Belize to join some organizations, such as the Caribbean Community, the Organization of American States, the UN, the Commonwealth of Nations and the Central American Integration System, she added.
The Ambassador said that this year’s theme, âHearts of Hope, Firm Hands, Together We Rise,â brings messages of encouragement to Belizeans and reminds that âwe have always been resilient, and we have fought our oppressors in the past, and we have triumphed. COVID-19 is another battle we are fighting with the world, Pitts said.
When asked if a travel bubble with Taiwan similar to Palau’s is a viable possibility, Pitts said it was a viable idea and that she was “curious” to see how it could be facilitated.
âThe pandemic has forced us to think outside the box in terms of how we do our business, how we travel and how we interact with others,â she said.
In terms of current areas of cooperation, the Ambassador listed economic exchanges, legal assistance, education, agriculture, health care, infrastructure development and air services as areas in which both countries worked together. However, she noted that both countries need to work harder. closely on business investment, and there needs to be more knowledge transfer from Taiwan to Belize with respect to agriculture and health care.
Pitts said there should also be more focus on women’s empowerment issues. âPersonally, I think it is commendable that Tsai Ing-wen is an accomplished, competent and efficient woman,â she said, adding that there should be more opportunities to have more empowerment. women in Belize.
The ambassador also suggested that there be more investment in outsourcing services, as this could benefit both countries and create more jobs in the Caribbean nation.
Although Pitts has been “severely restricted” by the pandemic, she said she enjoys visiting Taiwan’s beaches, visiting different cities and participating in cultural activities. Some of the memorable places she visited included Shifen Waterfall, Yeliu Geological Park, and Yangmingshan.
Pitts also mentioned that Taiwanese dumplings and sweet mushroom soup (éªè³ ç³æ°´) are his favorite dishes.
For Taiwanese visiting Belize, the ambassador said âthere is a place for everyone,â referring to the rich natural, cultural and historical attractions that can satisfy everyone’s interests and preferences.
For travelers who love the city, she recommended visiting Belize City and seeing historical sites such as Anglican Cathedral College or the statue of Isaiah Emmanuel Morter. Walking around Orange Walk Town is also a very rewarding experience, added Pitts.
For beach goers, the Ambassador suggested getting on a boat from Belize City to one of the cays or heading to Placencia. Those who like peace and relaxation can head to Corozal or Toledo, Pitts said, adding that the drive on the Hummingbird Highway is one of the most scenic drives in Belize.
The Ambassador expressed her gratitude to the Taiwanese for the love and hospitality she showed during the approximately seven months she spent in the East Asian country. In addition, she said that Taiwanese “should be very proud that [their country] has one of the strongest economies in the world and remains a global leader in information, communication and technology.
Pitts said that as Belize’s ambassador to Taiwan, she hopes to further facilitate opportunities “which will help to strengthen cooperation efforts and ties between the two countries.”