wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy Privacy
Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06BRIDGETOWN1897
2006-10-27 17:18:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Bridgetown
Cable title:  

AMBASSADOR KRAMER'S FAREWELL TOUR: ST. VINCENT AND

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  PINR  EAIR  ETRD  UNSC  KPAO  VE  VC  XL 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXYZ0030
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHWN #1897/01 3001718
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 271718Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3592
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1543
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 0811
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 2501
RUEADRO/HQ ICE DRO WASHINGTON DC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0088
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 0117
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J2 MIAMI FL
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J5 MIAMI FL
RUEHCV/USDAO CARACAS VE
						C O N F I D E N T I A L BRIDGETOWN 001897 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD
ICE MIAMI FOR MLOONEY AND JMAHABIR

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/23/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR EAIR ETRD UNSC KPAO VE VC XL
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR KRAMER'S FAREWELL TOUR: ST. VINCENT AND
THE GRENADINES

REF: STATE 168324

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



1. (C) SUMMARY: On October 16, Ambassador Kramer paid
farewell courtsey calls on the Foreign Minister, Prime
Minister, and Governor General of St. Vincent and the
Grenadines. In her meeting with the Foreign Minister, he
candidly admitted that the Government of St. Vincent and the
Grenadines (GOSVG) will support Venezuela throughout the
voting for a seat on the UN Security Council (UNSC) because
Venezuela is playing a major role in constructing St.
Vincent's future international airport. Rather than meeting
with Ambassador Kramer in private as expected, the Prime
Minister called a press conference to discuss U.S.-GOSVG
collaboration in seizing a sailing vessel from a convicted
narcotics smuggler. Finally, the Ambassador's meeting with
the Governor General was pleasantly simple. These meetings
were followed by various press events. END SUMMARY.



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


FM STRAKER: WE NEED AN AIRPORT


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





2. (SBU) In Ambassador Kramer's October 16 meeting with
Foreign Minister Sir Louis Straker, the two discussed a
number of issues including the GRULAC vote for the UNSC,
Article 98, and the recent waiver of APSA IMET provisions.
The Ambassador was accompanied by PAO Julie O'Reagan and
PolOff, who served as notetaker. Permanent Secretary
Patricia Martin accompanied the Foreign Minister.



3. (C) On the GRULAC vote for the UNSC, Straker admitted that
the GOSVG is committed to Venezuela because of the assistance
Venezuela has given St. Vincent and the Grenadines in recent
years. Specifically, Straker cited Venezuela's promise to
assist in constructing St. Vincent's future international
airport. When explaining the potential negative consequences
of Venezuelan participation in the Security Council, Straker
simply explained that, "we need that airport badly." He also
stated that if the United States would assist with the
airport, then that would change the GOSVG's vote. Taiwan,
Mexico, Canada, and Cuba are also contributing to the
airport. Construction should begin next year. In addition
to citing the airport, Straker mentioned Petrocaribe and 25
Venezuelan state scholarships for Vincentian students as
reasons why the GOSVG is committed to voting for Venezuela.



4. (C) Straker and Ambassador Kramer also discussed
U.S.-Caribbean relations, including unfriendly rhetoric from
the GOSVG towards the United States. The Ambassador cited
Secretary Rice's meetings with Caribbean leaders as an

SIPDIS
example of U.S. efforts to improve relations, to which
Straker replied that he wants to see actions, not meetings.
As an example, he said it was nice to see the President's

recent waiving of APSA IMET provisions for St. Vincent and
the Grenadines (reftel). In discussing this waiver, Straker
showed a misunderstanding of Article 98, stating that the
GOSVG cannot sign anything contrary to the treaty of Rome
because it has been committed to the treaty since its
inception and it cannot pull out of this commitment. The
Ambassador explained that Article 98 is not against the
Treaty of Rome nor does it request a signatory to renege on
the treaty. (Note: Straker's comments to the Ambassador and
statements in the press by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves
show that the GOSVG believes the recent waiver of APSA IMET
provisions comes unconditionally and that IMET funding will
once again flow at previous levels. End Note.)



5. (C) Straker also expressed a number of enduring concerns,
including the maintenance of the Regional Security System's
C-26s, the need for a strong visa relationship, and the
perceived problem of Vincentians deported from the United
States increasing crime in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as
well as new concerns with the Western Hemisphere Travel
Initiative. Furthermore, Straker and the Ambassador
discussed free trade for the region, to which Straker stated
that the GOSVG is currently exploring the possibility and
making sure the benefits outweigh the costs. St. Vincent's

biggest fear is having its economy killed by U.S. exports.



6. (C) BIONOTE: Straker lived in the New York for 31 years
and previously held U.S. citizenship, which he had to
renounce to run for public office in St. Vincent and the
Grenadines. He spoke fondly of New York and explained that
no one in his government is more pro-U.S. than he is. He
still visits often as his family lives in New York. However,
his misunderstandings of the sources and uses of U.S. foreign
assistance is considerable given he is a former U.S. citizen
and taxpayer.



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


DERAILED BY PM GONSALVES


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





7. (SBU) Ambassador Kramer expected a private, bilateral
meeting with Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, but instead the
PM called a press conference to discuss U.S.-GOSVG
cooperation in the seizing and auctioning of the sailing
vessel "Preference," a ship forfeited by the owner as part of
a federal investigation into narcotics smuggling.



8. (SBU) In 2001, Robert Young and his wife Sara Wuchevich
were arrested for numerous federal firearm and parole
violations. They both plead guilty in 2002 and, as part of
the plea agreement, forfeited all their assets derived from
illegal activities. One of the forfeited vessels, the
"Preference," was seized and auctioned with the assistance of
the GOSVG Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). The USG
provided an asset sharing funds check for $77,045,
approximately half of the auctioned value, from the
Confiscated Asset Fund that Ambassador Kramer was to present
to PM Gonsalves during their meeting. (Note: DHS/ICE
requested no media release in e-mail as the investigation is
still ongoing. End note.)



9. (SBU) Rather than meeting with the Ambassador in private,
PM Gonsalves called a press conference that solely focused on
the asset sharing check. The PM went into detail on Young's
background, the investigation, and the collaboration between
the two countries in apprehending the "Preference." He then
went on to discuss the GOSVG's efforts to crack down on money
laundering, citing the Crime Prevention Act of 2001 and the
creation of the FIU in 2002. He praised the FIU and the work
it has been doing since its creation in 2002 and also
detailed why money laundering is bad for the economy and must
be stopped. Throughout the press conference, the PM also
emphasized the positive U.S.-St. Vincent relationship,
emphasizing that the assets sharing is just one example of
how the two countries work well together.



10. (SBU) After the press conference, the PM excused himself,
leaving Ambassador Kramer without an opportunity to speak
with him one on one.



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


COURTESIES WITH THE GOVERNOR GENERAL


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





11. (SBU) The Ambassador had a protocolary meeting with Sir
Frederick Ballantyne, Governor General of St. Vincent and the
Grenadines. They discussed marijuana production in St.
Vincent, education, and health care.



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


PRESS EVENTS


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





12. (U) After official meetings, the Ambassador held a press
conference at St. Vincent National Trust where she reflected
on her tour of duty as Ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean,
assistance the United States provided to the region during
her tenure, and her appreciation for the Caribbean. The
Ambassador also signed a grant from the Ambassador's Fund for
Cultural Preservation for repair to the Carnegie Library
building housing the National Trust. She then donated a
collection of children's books to the National Library. All
three events were covered by the media.

KRAMER