STATEMENT DELIVERED BY SENATOR THE HONOURABLE DENNIS MOSES, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AND CARICOM AFFAIRS, AT THE FAREWELL RECEPTION IN HONOUR OF HIS EXCELLENCY HUANG XINGYUAN, AMBASSADOR OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA AND SPOUSE, MS. MA LI
REGENCY BALLROOM HYATT, TUESDAY, JUNE 28, 2016
Your Excellency Huang Xingyuan, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, and Ms. Ma Li
The Honourable Bridgid Annisette-George, Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago;
Distinguished Ministers of Government;
Your Excellencies, Heads of Mission and other members of the Diplomatic Corps;
Members of Staff of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China;
Specially invited guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
It is my distinct honour to address you this evening on behalf of Dr. the Honourable Keith Christopher Rowley, Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and the Government and People of Trinidad and Tobago as we bid farewell to Ambassador Huang and Ms. Ma Li, at the end of His Excellency’s tour of duty in Trinidad and Tobago. I do so with some sadness, but I know that occasions such as this are characteristic of the life of a diplomat.
Your Excellency, it would be remiss of me if I did not take this opportunity to extend my sincere condolences and that of the Government and People of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to the Government and People of the People’s Republic of China on the death of more than 90 persons, injury to over 840 others and the extensive damage to property, resulting from the ravaging tornado and hail storms that hit the counties of Funing and Sheyang, and parts of Yancheng City along the eastern coast of China on June 23, this year. We stand in solidarity with the Government and People of the People’s Republic of China, and with those who lost their loved ones, and wish a swift recovery to those injured, as efforts to rebuild continue during this difficult time.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Trinidad and Tobago and China established formal diplomatic relations on June 20, 1974 and, since that time, relations between both countries have grown stronger and deeper. Ambassador Huang has built on this solid foundation when he began his official tour of duty in Trinidad and Tobago in May 2013, continuing seamlessly the work of his predecessors.
His Excellency worked assiduously to advance existing initiatives as well as spearhead a number of new ones. In fact, at the very beginning of his tenure, Ambassador Huang became entrenched in the preparations that were already underway for the historic visit of His Excellency Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, the first official visit of a Chinese Head of State to the English-speaking Caribbean, in 2013. This paved the way for the reciprocal visit of the then Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago to China and the official opening of the Embassy of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in Beijing in 2014, coinciding with the fortieth anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations between our countries.
Following these momentous events, Trinidad and Tobago was pleased to welcome a number of high-level officials from the People’s Republic of China. These included the visit of His Excellency Zhao Zhenyu, Special Envoy of the People’s Republic of China for Caribbean Affairs in 2015 and visits in the same year by delegations from the Department of Consular Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the People’s Liberation Army. Trinidad and Tobago was also honoured to receive His Excellency Chen Changzhi, Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in January 2016. Our country in turn was pleased to participate at ministerial level in the First Meeting of the CELAC-China Ministerial Forum, which was held in Beijing in January 2015. Ambassador Huang is to be commended for his significant contribution to the success of these engagements.
Ambassador Huang will also be leaving an indelible mark on the various Government-to-Government arrangements that Trinidad and Tobago enjoys with China and the special projects, grants, and the transfer of expertise afforded to Trinidad and Tobago in areas such as culture, health, security, sport and education. Among them were the launch of the Confucius Institute at the St. Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) in October 2013; the presence of Chinese Medical Teams, who have provided yeoman medical service to citizens of Trinidad and Tobago and have trained local personnel; the acquisition of the TTS Nelson II, a Multi-Purpose Patrol Vessel, for use by the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (Coast Guard) in 2015; and the provision of physical education equipment for use in primary, secondary and tertiary level education institutions across the country in April of last year. Trinidad and Tobago nationals have also benefitted from numerous courses offered in defence, Mandarin and diplomacy.
Under Ambassador Huang’s watch there have also been notable advances in the area of knowledge transfer and best practices between Trinidad and Tobago and China. In this regard, I wish to recall the visit of eight (8) Chinese agronomists to Trinidad and Tobago, sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, to provide training on cultivating tropical crops to local farmers during the period July 27 to August 7, 2015, and the creation of the UWI / China Agricultural University (CAU) Agricultural Innovation Park (AIP) in Orange Grove, the first phase of which was launched in October of last year.
Your Excellency, your arrival in this country came at an important milestone in the relationship between Trinidad and Tobago and China and, in similar fashion, so too does your departure. This year marks the 210th anniversary of the Chinese presence in this county. The impact of your involvement with the local community will continue to resound as celebrations to acknowledge the valuable contribution of China and persons of Chinese ancestry to the development of Trinidad and Tobago continue to mark the event.
Your Excellency, as I conclude I wish to thank you for your outstanding work and I look forward to working closely with your successor in deepening the friendship between our republics. It is my hope that you and your wife, Ms. Ma Li, will hold dear the memories of your time in Trinidad and Tobago, both the professional achievements, and the personal interactions.
Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the Government and People of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago I extend best wishes for continued success to Ambassador Huang as he leaves us to take up a new assignment. Please join me in offering a toast for his good health and prosperity, and that of his family.