The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said the progress of a power grid project in Haiti has been temporarily suspended, due to the ongoing political turmoil in the nation.
As protests against the government continue to sweep through the Caribbean ally, Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs Director-General Alexander Yui (俞大雷) told a news conference that construction of the planned electricity grid in Port-au-Prince would not commence until after the political situation is resolved.
“We have signed a contract for the project’s loan and construction, and have to wait for legislative approval before construction can begin,” Yui said.
The project, which reportedly is to cost NT$4.5 billion (US$145.89 million), includes the construction and renovation of substations and transmission towers, as well as maintenance training of Haitian workers.
It aims to help alleviate the Caribbean nation’s energy supply problems.
A ministry official in August last year revealed that a Taiwanese bank would provide a commercial loan to the Haitian government and the project would be contracted to a Taiwanese construction firm.
The ministry on Sunday issued an “orange” warning for travel to Haiti after several deaths have been reported since the protests started on Feb. 7.
Although the protests have prompted Canada to temporarily close its embassy in Haiti, Yui said the operation of Taiwan’s embassy remained normal, but added that some local staff were forced to stay home due to traffic disruption caused by the protests.
The embassy has been evaluating the situation on a daily basis, but it has yet to reach a point where an immediate evacuation is required, he said.
There are about 50 Taiwanese expatriates, diplomats and specialists in Haiti, he said, adding that all of them are safe and they have not suffered financially.
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