Taiwan awards SVG journalist Kenton Chance

Statement by Taiwan in St. Vincent and the Grenadines official page:

Vincentian Kenton X. Chance has been awarded the 2022 Distinguished Taiwan Alumni Award by Ambassador Peter Sha-Li Lan on behalf of Taiwan’s Ministry of Education.

This award was dedicated to graduates of the Taiwan University Scholarship Programme.

In 2011, Mr. Chance graduated from Ming Chuan University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication, and obtained a Master of Arts in International Affairs (Global Governance) from the same university the following year.

In 2009, Mr. Chance started iWitness News as a requirement for a course for his undergraduate studies and continued to operate the site as a source of news and current affairs information from or concerning St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Today, iWitness News has grown to be one of the leading source of News in SVG. Our Congratulations to Chance!

Full remarks by Mr. Chance at Monday’s ceremony:

Remarks by Kenton X. Chance on accepting the Distinguished Taiwan Alumni Award 2022 from H.E. Peter Sha-Li Lan, Ambassador of Taiwan to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

14 November 2022
Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Your Excellency, Ambassador Lan; Jamali Jack and Tasheka Haynes, president of the SVG Taiwan Alumni Association and Taiwan ICDF Alumni Association in SVG, respectively, other staff members of the Taiwan Embassy, members of the alumni association; my relatives and friends, ladies and gentlemen…

I am deeply honoured to have been granted this award by Taiwan’s Ministry of Education. The six years I spent in Taiwan, as well as the three visits I have made on short study tours have been transformational. This award will help to motivate me to continue to be true to the training that I have received in Taiwan. Let me, from the outset, thank the Government of Taiwan for this recognition and the Taiwan Embassy in Kingstown for nominating me as a candidate.

The road that I walk professionally, in the context of a small country, where virtually everyone knows everyone else, is not an easy one. Hence, it is understandable that the things for which one is sometimes criticised at home, one is recognised elsewhere. While for some in St. Vincent and the Grenadines the debate on whether or not I am a journalist is still unsettled, the Government of Taiwan considers me a distinguished alumnus of its scholarship programme.

This is not cause to gloat. For me, it is additional motivation to remain true to my training in Taiwan and my 20 years of experience in the field of mass communication, with an emphasis on journalism. I often say to people that education is one of those things that once you gain it, you cannot lose it, barring injury or a degenerative disease.

Therefore, in a sense, when one decides to educate another person, one is taking a risk, if one’s intentions in giving that education are not honourable. For, as Henry Peter Brougham said, “Education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.”

The monetary value of the five-year scholarship that I received from Taiwan was about fifty-four thousand US dollars. Every cent of that came from the government and people of Taiwan. However, notwithstanding the investment in my education and the potentially influential position that I hold, never once has Taiwan or any of its representatives attempted to influence in any way the work that I do as a journalist.

In fact, from the inception, Taiwan has always encouraged scholarship recipients to return to their respective countries on completion of their education and contribute to the countries’ development. To my mind, this is a demonstration that Taiwan’s motivation in educating people — and may I emphasise, not only citizens of its allies — is honourable.

Today, again, I pledge to remain true to the training that I received in Taiwan in my respective fields of endeavour.

Vincentian graduates of the Taiwan university scholarship programmes distinguish ourselves in whatever field we are engaged. This award is also a tribute to all the other alumni and their various contributions to the development of our country and our regional and global society.

Please permit me to take this opportunity to thank the many people who have supported me along my journey, including my wife, Symantha Chance; my parents Lennox and Patricia Hoyte and my siblings, represented by my sister, Nakeisha Chance-John.

My time in Taiwan was also made easier with the support of members of our Vincentian community including those of you here today. Jamali Jack and Silkie Prescott, two members of my cohort, remain special in this regard, as well as those from the other cohorts with whom I have developed a strong bond — Tasheka Haynes, Kemston Cato and Kent Thomas are here today. Zukelia Lewis, I am happy that you followed my urging and applied for a scholarship in Taiwan.

While many people know me as the face of iWitness News, Ovid Burke, our developer, partnered with me on this project when I was a student and had not a cent to pay to him, and he remains committed all these years later. Thank you, Ovid. And Bryan Alexander, despite his activism, knows where the line between friendship and professional obligations begins and often provides his skills as a musician and sound engineer free of charge.

The Rillan Hill Church of the Nazarene has helped me to maintain my moral compass and I thank my pastor, Fidel Taylor and his wife, Beverline Taylor, for being here.

Again, Your Excellency, thank you and your staff and please convey to Taipei my sincerest gratitude for the investment of your government and people in my education and this recognition of my contribution to the development of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

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