Ministry denies meddling in St Lucian elections

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

Wed, Aug 10, 2011 - Page 2

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday denied a media report alleging Taiwan was meddling in general elections in diplomatic ally St Lucia by offering “an unprecedented huge level of political funding” for its ruling United Workers Party (UWP).

“What was said in the report was not true,” ministry spokesman James Chang (章計平) said. “The government provided aid for the St Lucia government to implement projects that benefit its people, not to interfere in its election.”

In an analysis published in the Trinidad Express on July 20, the newspaper said Taiwan had offered US$3.8 million a year for expenditures in 11 constituencies won by UWP lawmakers in the December 2006 general elections when the party defeated the then-governing St Lucia Labour Party of then-St Lucian prime minister Kenny Anthony.

The paper said Anthony has raised the serious implications of the scandal and accused Taiwan of releasing 1 million Easter Caribbean dollars (US$370,400) to each of the lawmakers.

Under President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) “flexible diplomacy” policy, the ministry has stuck to the rules of “proper goals, legal processes and effective administration” in implementing aid projects, Chang said.

The aid projects in St Lucia were aimed at establishing its infrastructure, creating job opportunities, eliminating poverty, improving sanitary conditions and spreading education, which have benefited the Caribbean country and also received high recognition from its citizens, Chang said.

The general elections in St Lucia are scheduled to be held in December.