|Farewell remarks given by His Excellency Ambassador Deng Boqing at the Farewell Reception hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Commonwealth of Dominica and the Embassy of the People's Republic of China|
Your Excellency Dr. Liverpool, President of the Commonwealth of Dominica,
Hon. Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit,
Hon. Cabinet Ministers,
Members of the diplomatic corps,
The Chinese engineers, technicians, workers and compatriots living or working in Dominica,
Friends from the media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you very much for coming to the farewell party tonight.
"Time flies like an arrow leaving the bow." Only at the moment of parting do I have a deeper understanding of this old Chinese saying. I arrived in Dominica in November 2006. It has been almost four years since then, but it felt like yesterday.
On the eve of my departure, my steps seem to become more and more reluctant. Dominica, the isle of nature, is the place where my good memories reside.
Over the years, I have been to almost every corner of this island, from Portsmouth to Grand Bay, from Mahaut to La Plaine. I hiked around the Freshwater Lake, amazed at the natural beauty surrounding me and the serenity of the lake; Trafalgar, the famous twin falls – one gentle and tender, the other full of vigor and vitality – always remind me of amiable young ladies and passionate young men of this land; and a whale-watching excursion brought me such close encounters with those magnificent creatures that once again, I was convinced, we human beings should and could live in harmony with nature.
Dominica is beyond peace and quiet. There are pulsating times. The World Creole Music Festival, the Carnival and the Cricket Match are all great opportunities for me to have a taste of Dominicans' immense zeal and creative spirit. Every time I listened to the traditional la peau cabrit drumming, I felt as if I heard this promising nation quickening its pace to embrace a brighter future.
Wherever I went, I was received with generosity and more. I kept being fascinated by this country's abundant nature, breath-taking landscape, rich culture and the profound sentiments of the Dominican People. My time here has always been enjoyable and exciting.
What is more gratifying, I have been privileged and proud to witness a steady progress of China-Dominica bilateral relations. High-level political contacts have kept channels for dialogues wide open, nurturing our mutual trust, and in turn nourishing our relations. For the past four years, H.E. President Liverpool and Mrs. Liverpool visited China three times, Hon. Prime Minister Skerrit four times. Madame Speaker and cabinet Ministers also paid their visits to China. From China, Her E. Gu Xiulian, Vice Chairwoman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, H.E. Wang Jiarui, Head of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and H.E. Yang Jiechi, China's then Deputy Foreign Minister have come to Dominica.
Meanwhile, China has also committed to supporting the Government of Dominica in developing its national economy, even in a time when we both facing the unprecedented global financial crisis.
This May, the Winsor Park Sports Stadium was seething with excited Dominicans, geeing and cheering for the West Indies. At that moment, this grand sport facility was more than a symbol of the brotherhood of our two countries. It was a place vibrant with energy, a place holding the Dominicans together.
Now, the rehabilitation project of the west coast road, another milestone in China-Dominica economic cooperation, is quite under way. I attended the ground-breaking ceremony this February, and have been envisioning a more convenient and more glamorous west coast ever since. Although I will probably not be able to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony, I will surely send my heartfelt congratulations from abroad when the road is ready to open to traffic.
Thanks to our two peoples' concern and curiosity about each other, our cooperation and communication has been dynamic and diverse, covering the fields of agriculture, health care, education and culture.
The Chinese Agricultural Technical team toured all around the island, not to go sight-seeing, but to disseminate seedlings of new crops and their techniques and experiences. As a result, many Dominica farmers diversified their crops, boosting the local market to a large extent. Now even a variety of Chinese vegetables are available in Roseau. Besides, the Chinese Medical Specialist group has become the backbone of the Princess-Margaret hospital. The Chinese doctors have been relieving their Dominican patients from illness and pains with their professional knowledge. What these Chinese experts share is a heart of gold.
Remote as China is from Dominica, many Dominicans today do long to visit this oriental country, one of the very earliest cradles of human civilization. I am delighted to see that for quite a few of them, dreams did come true. In the past few years, over 130 Dominican professionals went to China for seminars, and 90 full university scholarships were granted to outstanding Dominican students. Some of them came back hometown Dominica speaking fluent Chinese, now promoting exchanges between our two countries. Some decided to still further their education in China to get a Master degree.
For those who have not visited China so far, I believe you might have caught a glimpse of the Chinese culture and art when the two Chinese performing troupes visited and on the occasion that a Chinese Film Exhibition was held. If you found yourself interested and wanted to explore more, I hope you can go to China in the future. China will always keep its door open to you.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
All these could not have been achieved without your contribution and help. Here I want to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to you.
My special thanks first goes to Your Excellency President Liverpool and Mrs. Liverpool, Hon. Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, other cabinet ministers, parliamentarians, government officials, leaders of all political parties, Dominica Police Forces, SSU in Particular, and the friends of diplomatic corps for your strong support to my work during my tenure as Ambassador. I have really enjoyed your friendship and hospitality.
I am deeply grateful to the Government of Dominica headed by Hon. Prime Minister Skerrit for the facilitations you've provided to the Embassy, your intensive support in international arena, for your persistent adherence to the one China policy and support for the cause of China's peaceful reunification.
I want to thank my friends from the media for your comprehensive coverage of the development of our cordial bilateral relations during the past years.
I am also thankful to my colleagues in the embassy, our Chinese engineers, technicians, agricultural and medical experts, and compatriots living or working in Dominica. You have all helped me deepen the China-Dominica friendship.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I came ashore as a stranger, yet leaving as a friend. Saying farewell to friends is never easy, but as Edward Young once said, "[F]ate ordains that dearest friends must part." As a diplomat, I accept that destiny. But I shall treasure our friendship and those good memories of this splendid island for a lifetime.
I sincerely wish Dominica a more prosperous tomorrow.
May our two countries enjoy everlasting friendship and even closer mutual-beneficial cooperation.
And for each of you, my friend, may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through.