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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06BRIDGETOWN1640
2006-09-15 19:53:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Bridgetown
Cable title:  

DOMINICA HOPES FOR IMPROVED U.S.-CARIBBEAN

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  PINR  PBTS  PHSA  DO  CH  VE  XL 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXYZ0714
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHWN #1640/01 2581953
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 151953Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3311
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0260
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1495
RUEHGT/AMEMBASSY GUATEMALA 0067
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J2 MIAMI FL
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0083
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J5 MIAMI FL
RUEHCV/USDAO CARACAS VE
						C O N F I D E N T I A L BRIDGETOWN 001640 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/12/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR PBTS PHSA DO CH VE XL
SUBJECT: DOMINICA HOPES FOR IMPROVED U.S.-CARIBBEAN
RELATIONS

REF: A. BRIDGETOWN 1140

B. 05 BRIDGETOWN 2485

C. 05 BRIDGETOWN 1316

Classified By: Ambassador Mary Kramer for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).



1. (C) Summary: Ambassador Kramer and Dominica Foreign
Minister Savarin exchanged views on U.S.-Caribbean relations
in a September 8 meeting in Bridgetown. Savarin explained
that, in addition to Guatemala's claim on Belize territory,
Guatemala's role in damaging the Caribbean banana industry is
one of the reasons Caribbean states will likely vote for
Venezuela in the upcoming UNSC elections. Ambassador Kramer
censured Dominican nominees for USG training programs who
chose at the last minute not to participate. The two also
discussed conflicting UN voting records and possible ways to
improve the U.S.-Caribbean relationship; Savarin proposed
closer coordination on policy issues and assistance with
energy security. End Summary.



2. (U) At his request, Dominica Foreign Minister Charles
Savarin called on U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern
Caribbean Mary Kramer on September 8, 2006, in Barbados.
Deputy Chief of Mission Mary Ellen Gilroy accompanied
Ambassador Kramer and PolOff acted as notetaker.



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


BANANAS AND BELIZE


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





3. (C) During their lengthy conversation, Savarin discussed
why Caribbean states largely favor Venezuela over Guatemala
in the upcoming elections for a United Nations Security
Council seat. According to Savarin, many Caribbean states
are bitter towards Guatemala over two key issues: 1) its role
in disrupting the international banana market, and 2)
Guatemala's claims on Belize territory. The Ambassador asked
Savarin for his thoughts on Venezuela's claim on Guyana's
territory. In response he stated that Venezuela's
belligerence on these territorial claims is decreasing while
Guatemala's is on the rise. According to Savarin, Guatemala
is now trying to claim all the costal regions of Belize. He
stated that having Guatemala on the Security Council would be
problematic if its unresolved issues with Belize were to rise
to the level of UNSC involvement.



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


CHOOSING CHINA OVER THE U.S.


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





4. (C) The Ambassador expressed disappointment in Dominican
officials who were scheduled to participate in USG exchange
and training programs but chose not to attend nor to notify
the embassy in enough time to find replacements. The
Ambassador cited the Dominican Attorney General who recently
passed up a slot with the International Visitors Leadership
Program for a business trip to China, as well as a senior
police officer who withdrew 24 hours in advance from ATA
training. The Ambassador further emphasized that the USG

wants to support Dominica in its human development goals, as
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit requested, but that
championing these programs in the future will be difficult
because of Dominica's apparent disinterest. Savarin appeared
surprised and embarrassed. He promised to discuss the matter
with the Prime Minister.



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



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


UN VOTES AND ENERGY SECURITY: AREAS FOR COOPERATION


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



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





5. (C) Furthermore, the Ambassador told Savarin that she was
dismayed concerning Dominica's voting patterns in
international fora. She asked how the two countries could
say they are partners with shared values if their respective
voting records at the UN diverge so dramatically. Both
agreed the United States and Caribbean states should be more
sensitive towards each other's policy concerns. Savarin
recommended energy security as an avenue through which the
United States and Dominica could strengthen cooperation and
also as a potential topic for the 2007 Caribbean 2020
conference. Noting that Dominica's tourism industry is
dependent on lowering current energy costs, Savarin explained
that Dominica is considering opening more hydroelectric
plants to make this a possibility. The DCM offered to watch
for U.S. power companies returning to the Caribbean and to
steer them towards Dominica and the Minister of Energy.



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


BIRD ISLAND UPDATE


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





6. (C) During the discussion, Savarin gave a brief update on
the disputed geographical formation known as Bird/Aves
Island, situated about 68 miles west of Dominica but claimed
by Venezuela (ref B). At a June 26 press conference,
Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit all but ceded
Dominica's claim to Bird Island to Venezuela (ref A).
According to Savarin, however, Dominica has not ceded its
claim on Bird Island but is rather looking at technical
issues of the case, such as whether islands so small can be
used to enhance a state's exclusive economic zone.



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


BIONOTE


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





7. (C) Although verbose (ref C), Savarin exudes a calm and
confident disposition that gives him an air of competence.
Most striking was his juxtaposition of poise and repose. His
poise would allow Savarin to look natural in any formal
business setting, while his relaxed demeanor was fitting for
the relaxed setting of the meeting. His roundabout
conversational routes to key issues results in
time-consuming, albeit pleasant, diplomacy.



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


COMMENT


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





8. (C) Generally, the September 8 discussion focused on the
need to improve U.S.-Caribbean relations, a point on which
both the Ambassador and Savarin strongly agreed. More
difficult was agreeing on the tools with which the parties
can accomplish this. However, Savarin's desire for improved
ties appears sincere both in his rhetoric and his willingness
to participate in regular, frank dialogue.
KRAMER