Working hard and being ready to seize opportunities transformed Belizean Ambassador to Taiwan Candice Pitts’ life, she said.
Growing up in the underdeveloped community of Port Loyola, Pitts helped her mother sell johnnycakes on the street and dreamed of becoming a lawyer, like many Belizeans do, but instead became an educator, a city councilor and a diplomat.
“Fortunately, I am one of those people who have been exposed to opportunities, and so I have been able to transcend the life [I had] in Port Loyola,” she said in an interview with the Central News Agency.
As a child, she would always read books when she was not helping her mother do chores or sell food, she said.
That habit helped her obtain scholarships and enabled her to study at the best schools in Belize.
After graduating from junior college, she went to the US to continue her studies through scholarship programs. After attaining a doctoral degree, she taught for a few years in the US before returning to Belize to teach at a local university.
In her hometown, she saw that women remained underrepresented in government and decided to enter local politics to initiate change, she said.
She won a seat on the Belize City Council in 2018.
A year later, Pitts ran for office in the Belizean House of Representatives, hoping to effect change on a national scale, she said.
She lost, but her party, the People’s United Party, won.
Impressed by her courage to challenge the “status quo” in politics, Belizean Prime Minister Johnny Briceno appointed her as ambassador to Taiwan.
“When I was informed that I would become the ambassador to Taiwan, it was a big deal, you know, because you are the ambassador to a significant ally of your country,” Pitts said.
She described Belize and Taiwan as “trusted allies,” citing a memorandum of understanding signed in March that seeks to bolster bilateral cooperation in the areas of public health, agriculture, education, investment and trade, as well as women’s empowerment.
Although new to the diplomat role, she said she has noticed an increase in the number of Belizeans coming to Taiwan for educational opportunities, and she wants to continue to enhance people-to-people exchanges between the nations through creative ways amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
She would focus on exposing Belize to Taiwan through cuisine diplomacy and activities related to Belize’s important festivals, she said.
On trade and investment, Pitts said that her office would arrange online trade and investment conferences to engage businesspeople from both countries, and said she hopes that the Taiwan-Belize economic cooperation agreement, signed in September last year, would take effect soon.
Belize is one of Taiwan’s nine diplomatic allies in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Pitts arrived in Taiwan in early March and presented her credentials to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on April 20.
“I am really [here] to foster the relationship between Belize and Taiwan, and to avail myself to the president, to the government of Taiwan, to the people of Taiwan, be at their disposal to act whatever I can to ensure that Belize and Taiwan maintain [their] long-standing relationship,” she said.
A student at National Chengchi University jumped from the roof of his apartment in the early hours of Sunday after he was allegedly bullied online. The 21-year-old student, surnamed Huang (黃), on Friday last week posted on the university’s online discussion forum asking the public to judge a dispute he was having with a female roommate about rent. An anonymous post on the online forum Dcard appeared on the same day, saying he was the last person to judge others, and that he was “a heavy smoker, lazy, a terrible group member for class projects and a person with a poor
‘WITCH HUNT’: Huang Wei-che’s comments made it seem as if all visitors to Tainan would be a threat and infected people should be fined, an association said Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che (黃偉哲) should repeal a program to issue rewards for positive COVID-19 tests among people who return to their former home from northern Taiwan over the Dragon Boat Festival long weekend, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights said yesterday. Huang’s “authoritarian behavior” is unacceptable, the association said after he announced that people should notify the Tainan Public Health Bureau of people who travel to Tainan to visit relatives from Saturday to Monday next week and urge them to get tested for the virus. People would receive NT$1,000 if they submit a report that leads to a positive COVID-19 rapid
Scammers have developed new strategies to extract personal information and money amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Taiwan, the Taichung Police Department said on Sunday. The department provided advice to avoid online scams amid a surge in reports of people posing as contact tracing officials or e-commerce platforms. Scammers have developed new strategies to extract information and money, it said. Some pose as contact tracing officials, messaging targets to tell them that they have been listed as a contact of a confirmed case, it said. They ask for the target’s birthdate, national identification number, family members and other information, the department said. Contact tracing personnel do
A person who was on Friday reported as the first in Taiwan to die after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine died of a heart attack, a Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) official said yesterday. The deceased, whose sex and age were not disclosed, had coronary artery disease, which led to a fatal heart attack, Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesman, told a news conference, citing the autopsy report. It was the first death listed as a possible adverse event after receiving the AstraZenenca COVID-19 vaccine since the start of the vaccination program on March 22. The