Address by His Excellency, Dr. B. Whiteman
Prime Minister of Curaçao
Celebration of the 67th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China
Atrium Hall, Renaissance Curacao Resort and Casino
20 September 2016
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, bon nochi, good evening, wǎnshànghǎo (wangshanhou).
On behalf of the Government of Curaçao, I want to congratulate you all on the 67th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China: a country whose strength lies in its ancient culture, and an impressive economic growth and prosperity, as a result of the hard work of its peoples, both at home and abroad.
Thinking of China, reminds me of the wise expression of Confucius, a famous Chinese teacher, politician and philosopher who expressed the following: “it does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” As we would say in spanish: sin prisa, pero sin pausa.
The reason that I decided to mention this expression, is because in September 2015, the world watched while world leaders adopted the Sustainable Development Goals; a set of goals that unites all United Nation member-states, with the willpower for progress and leaving no one behind.
As the expression says, uniting for progress, no matter how slow, despite the obstacles that stand in the way, is the essence of Curaçao and China’s relationship. This willpower for progress, lays the foundation of our common futures and the prosperity of both the Curaçao and Chinese peoples.
The Sustainable Development Goals are critical success factors in securing a good future for Curaçao. The presentation of the National Development Plan, based on specific Sustainable Development Goals, highlights the way we will progress, and how our relationship with countries around the world will be formed.
In my speech last year, I spoke of the current relationship between Curacao and China, and how an island like Curaçao can still learn a lot from China’s development. From building sustainable cities like Shanghai and Suzhou (Soo-Chow), to sustainable investment and sustainable economic growth. The success of the People’s Republic of China is a lesson for us all.
As a leader in sustainable energy, China has much to offer Curaçao, especially as our partnership continues to grow. It is estimated that by 2020, over 15 percent of China’s energy capacity will come from non-fossil fuel sources, indicating again how China is a leader in the renewable energy industry.
The most wind energy capacity in the world is in China.
The most solar energy capacity in the world is in China.
The most hydropower capacity in the world is in China.
As of 2016, nearly 31% of Curaçao’s energy will come from renewable sources, a clear leader in the Caribbean region. That is something we should all be proud of.
In addition to renewable energy sources, Curaçao, China and other countries are still currently dependent on fossil fuels – an industry that has, in both situations, had a negative effect on the environment. Like Confucius said, it is not about how quickly we progress, but the mere fact that we continue to do so. The same is relevant when we speak of the fossil fuel industry.
Ladies and Gentlemen, there is another reason why I want to congratulate you all, and that is with the celebration of the Mid-Autmn Festival. Simbolically the bright moon and its light brings you and your family’s happiness and prosperity.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it brings happiness and prosperity also to Curacao, because precisely the date of it’s celebration is the 16th of September, which is exactly the day on which the Government of Curacao signed the MOU with the State Owned Company of China, Guangdon Zhenrong Energy Company ltd.
There couldn’t be a better date to sign this Memorandum of Understanding.
While a shift to renewable sources is a step in the right direction, other steps need to be taken to make our current fossil fuel industries more sustainable. It is for this reason that the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Curaçao and the Chinese company Guangdong Zhenrong Energy Co. Limited is so important.
Agreements like these play a pivotal role in building a sustainable future.
One where our children will be able to grow up in a Curaçao that is cleaner, economically stable, and constantly growing.
Thus where there is a balance between People, Planet and Profit.
That’s why, we look at this Memorandum of Understanding as a vital part of the Country that we want to be, building on the strengths of our current economic pillars, and broadening horizons to explore new possibilities.
Let the Sustainable Development Goals continue to shape the way we build our relationship, and work together, particularly when it comes to building the future based not only on reducing our dependency on sources of non-renewable energy, but also on utilizing the strengths of our economy to make way for future generations.
Let’s use the resources that we have to stimulate policies for growth and prosperity, and let’s start working together through making sure we leave no one, and no country behind, no matter how small.
The love that people in Curaçao have for their Country is similar to the national pride that you all have for China. I know that for many of you, Curaçao has been a home for a very long time. No matter how long you have considered this island your home, I am convinced that the love and pride that you have for China, is also something that you share for our Dushi Korsou.
There is still so much Curaçao can learn from China, and still so much that we can build together. All this begins with building a sustainable relationship, built on trust, respect, and progress for all. The Sustainable Development Goals, the Chinese population in Curaçao, the Chinese Consulate General on the island, and this initial Memorandum of Understanding that paves the way for further investment, are some of the aspects that keep on uniting our two countries.
As we celebrate approximately two and a half years of the Consul General of China’s presence in Curaçao, I look forward to strengthening the ties between our two nations, looking towards a future of more solar panels especially for schools, wind mills, and hydropower. This is only the beginning of what can be a strong relationship and Curaçao’s potential to be a hub for exporting Chinese energy products to the whole region.
“MAN HOW” (BONNOCHI) , FOE YIN (BON BINI),
HOW CHI, NEI FOEK CHOK (PABIEN KU BOSO SELEBRASHON),
OHN SUNG OH TEI HOO YI, SING WAY,
TAI YIN CHI MOEI, TO CHE (MI TA SPERA KU NOS POR BIRA RUMAN).
Danki, thank you, xièxie (sheeshee) and again, let us celebrate the success of the People’s Republic of China, and the strong ties that your country has with Curaçao.