Your Excellency Song Yumin, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China;
The Honourable the Chief Justice of Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Justice Ivor Archie O.R.T.T.;
The Honourable Stuart Young, Minister of National Security and Minister of Communications;
Members of the Diplomatic Corps;
Mr. Maurice Suite, Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister and Head of the Public Service;
Rear Admiral Hayden Pritchard, Chief of Defence Staff;
Staff of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China;
Other distinguished guests;
Members of the media;
As we gather to commemorate the Official Opening of the new Chancery of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, I have the noble task of offering congratulations on behalf of the Government and People of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
I am advised that on August 19, 2014, the Embassy hosted a ground-breaking ceremony for this facility in which we stand. At that time, Trinidad and Tobago and China had just celebrated the 40th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations, and both countries were working towards advancing the benefits derived from successful reciprocal high-level visits. The view then was that the soon-to-be-built premises would represent the “rejuvenated diplomatic relations” that Trinidad and Tobago and China enjoyed and further, would seek to stimulate.
Four years later, we can attest to the completion of an impressive structure, one that will serve as the home for Chinese diplomatic staff here in Port of Spain for the foreseeable future. This building will also bear witness to new milestones in the development of the Trinidad and Tobago-China relationship, which started in the 19th century and was formalised on June 20, 1974.
Over the period that these Diplomatic Premises were being constructed, efforts were also being made to build upon and expand the scope of productive activities between Trinidad and Tobago and China. This year in particular saw an acceleration of that process, highlighted by the Official Visit to China in May by Dr. the Honourable Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of our country, Trinidad and Tobago. Other achievements for this year include:
- High-level visits, including that of the Vice-Mayor of Beijing to Trinidad and Tobago in June;
- The finalisation of several agreements, including a Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative;
- Trinidad and Tobago’s participation in the inaugural China International Import Expo in Shanghai in the next few days;
- Commercial arrangements between Chinese enterprises and local companies such as Lake Asphalt and Caribbean Airlines; and
- The pledge to start major projects, including the Phoenix Park Industrial Estate and the Dry Dock facility in La Brea.
The Opening of this Chancery is therefore another event that marks the commitment of each side to cooperation, collaboration and engagement in the long term.
Ambassador, as you and your staff have a new base from which to work, I anticipate that our bilateral relationship will be further strengthened. As I close, I take this opportunity to applaud you and your predecessor on seeing this project from conception to completion.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Please join me in a toast to the Opening of the new home of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China.
Click to download statement document –Statement delivered at the Reception for the National Foundation Day of Korea Sept 18