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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06BRIDGETOWN1216
2006-07-13 18:53:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Bridgetown
Cable title:  

ST. LUCIA - PM ON GOVERNMENT EFFORTS TO COMBAT

Tags:   CASC  ASEC  PREL  PGOV  PINR  SNAR  KCRM  ST  XL 
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VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHWN #1216/01 1941853
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 131853Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2909
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHCV/USDAO CARACAS VE PRIORITY
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J2 MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J5 MIAMI FL PRIORITY
						C O N F I D E N T I A L BRIDGETOWN 001216 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/13/2016
TAGS: CASC ASEC PREL PGOV PINR SNAR KCRM ST XL
SUBJECT: ST. LUCIA - PM ON GOVERNMENT EFFORTS TO COMBAT
RISING CRIME

REF: BRIDGETOWN 700

Classified By: A/DCM Clyde Howard for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).



1. (C) Summary: In a July 11 call on Ambassador Kramer, St.
Lucia Prime Minister Kenny Anthony pleaded for the USG to
delay toughening the language on crime in the St. Lucia
Consular Information Sheet (CIS) until after national
elections. To make his case, he highlighted his government's
efforts to improve policing, including bringing in police
officers from the UK. The Ambassador and Consul General made
it clear that the USG's obligation to American citizens
requires us to report the rising crime against tourists, but
that the Embassy would be happy to assist St. Lucia in
improving policing and would be willing to revisit the CIS in
the future to reflect improved performance by the St. Lucian
police. End Summary.



2. (C) In a July 11 meeting with Ambassador Kramer, St.
Lucia Prime Minister Kenny Anthony and Minister of Home
Affairs and Internal Security Calixte George made their case
for not changing the CIS to reflect rising crime in St.
Lucia. (Note: In recent months, there has been a dramatic
rise in crime targeting tourists in St. Lucia, including a
particularly brazen rape and robbery against a European
couple on a yacht anchored off the island (Ref A). End
Note.) Anthony had heard rumors of an impending change and
sought to delay it for six months. Being direct about his
intentions, he explained that a new travel advisory from the
U.S. would hurt his chances in national elections, which he
plans to call in two months. (Note: Under St. Lucia's
constitution, Anthony must call elections by December 2006 at
the latest. End Note.) He then launched into a detailed
explanation of improvements to the justice system in St.
Lucia.



--------------------------


Drug Supply Goes Down - Violence Goes Up


--------------------------





3. (C) Anthony began by admitting a rise in violent crime.
He said there were 33 homicides in all of 2005 but there have
been 21 so far in 2006. The Prime Minister blamed much of
the activity on improvements in drug interdiction, saying
that as the supply of drugs coming up from Colombia and
Venezuela has been reduced, the gangs have begun turning on
each other. He also held up the "serious problem of
corruption in the police force" to explain their inability to
successfully curb the violence. Anthony also admitted his
government has "no experience in gangs" and asked for DEA
help in disrupting gang activity, citing the success of DEA
and FBI programs targeting the heads of drug organizations in
Jamaica and Trinidad.



--------------------------


Efforts to Improve Policing


--------------------------






4. (C) According to Anthony, the St. Lucia government has
built several new police stations, is training 65 to 120 new
police officers each year, forcing new recruits to undergo
extensive vetting, launching a "scooter patrol" to police
less accessible areas, and has established large rewards for
turning in illegal firearms. In addition, the country has
asked for eight British police officers to take senior
positions in the St. Lucia police force. Anthony also listed
several other initiatives, such as a new fingerprinting
system, updated evidence act, wiretap legislation, and a new
prison (opened two years ago) as evidence of his government's
focus on fighting crime. He also praised ongoing U.S., UK,
and French (particularly from Martinique) law enforcement
cooperation, as well as regional efforts such as Trinidad
agreeing to extend its radar monitoring system (to detect
drug boats) north to St. Lucia.



--------------------------


But Problems Remain


--------------------------





5. (C) The Prime Minister acknowledged that, despite his
government's investments in law enforcement, crime was on the
rise. He faulted a "serious problem of leadership in the
police force" for the lack of results. The PM cited evidence
that the economy was improving (13 percent unemployment, the
lowest level in 15 years) to counter domestic critics who
have described the rise in crime as the result of a faltering
economy. Anthony seemed genuinely perplexed at the crime

problem and said St. Lucia has made more efforts to fight
crime than any other country in the region. Anthony promised
to have Minister George formally request FBI assistance in
solving the three outstanding recent cases of crime against
American citizens. (Note: LEGATT has offered assistance but
needs a detailed formal request from the St. Lucians to take
action. End Note.)



--------------------------


Private Security Necessary


--------------------------





6. (C) According to the Prime Minister, while his government
seeks to improve the performance of the police force, there
is only so much they can do; the private sector must improve
hotel security. He offered to pay for a private security
firm to conduct a full security audit of all hotel properties
in St. Lucia and asked the Ambassador to suggest an American
company qualified to conduct the audit. (Note: RSO will
follow up on this request. End Note.) The Prime Minister
revealed that, although he has met some resistance to the
security audit idea from the hotel association on the island
because of liability concerns, he plans to press ahead with
or without their support.



--------------------------


Embassy Response


--------------------------





7. (C) Ambassador Kramer and Acting DCM/Consul General (CG)
Howard responded to the Prime Minister's pleas by explaining
the Embassy's duty to warn American citizens of rising crime
in the Eastern Caribbean and reiterated that St. Lucia was
not being singled out. The CG shared a draft text of the new
CIS language with Anthony, who called the text "harsh" and
asked for it to be toned down. The Ambassador and CG both
emphasized that the primary problem is criminals targeting
tourists, including American citizens. The CG said that the
Embassy needs to put out this new information, but could
revisit the text in several months if there has been
noticeable progress in fighting crime against tourists.



--------------------------


Comment


--------------------------





8. (C) Despite the Prime Minister's entreaties, the Embassy
cannot ignore the serious problem of crime against tourists
in St. Lucia. Post recommends using the CIS language
previously submitted (currently in the clearance process in
the Department). According to law enforcement agencies at
Post, rather than corruption, the main problem is that police
are faced with new challenges to which they are seeking
remedies. To help support this process, the Embassy plans to
work closely with St. Lucian law enforcement and hotels to
better protect American citizens on the island against crime.
As for the elections, the St. Lucian opposition and press
have already bitterly attacked the Prime Minister over the
lack of progress in fighting crime. It seems highly unlikely
that the new CIS will make or break his reelection prospects.
KRAMER