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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06BRIDGETOWN2084
2006-11-28 11:41:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Bridgetown
Cable title:  

AMBASSADOR OURISMAN'S INTRODUCTORY VISIT TO ST.

Tags:   PREL  PGOV  PINR  ETRD  ECON  EAID  CMGT  SC  XL 
pdf how-to read a cable
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DE RUEHWN #2084/01 3321141
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 281141Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3797
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1570
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J2 MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J5 MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUEHCV/USDAO CARACAS VE PRIORITY
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BRIDGETOWN 002084 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CAR
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR ETRD ECON EAID CMGT SC XL
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR OURISMAN'S INTRODUCTORY VISIT TO ST.
KITTS AND NEVIS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY.



1. (U) Summary: On November 14-15, 2006, Ambassador Ourisman
visited St. Kitts and Nevis to present her credentials. She
conducted an initial round of meetings with Kittitian and
Nevisian officials, including the Prime Minister and Foreign
Minister, who identified trade and U.S. assistance as key
priorities. Ambassador Ourisman also met with Peace Corps
volunteers and Embassy wardens. End Summary.

St. Kitts


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





2. (U) On November 14, 2006, Ambassador Ourisman presented
her credentials to Edmund Lawrence, the Deputy Governor
General of St. Kitts and Nevis. (Note: The Embassy was told
that Sir Cuthbert Sebastian, the Governor General, was
traveling in the United States and has been ill. End Note.)
After the brief ceremony, Ambassador Ourisman met with
Theresa Nisbett, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, International Trade, Industry and Commerce.
Nisbett praised the good relations between St. Kitts and the
United States, and noted that her Ministry's working
relations with the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown were also
excellent. She spoke of St. Kitts' post-sugar economic
challenges, especially in reorienting the agricultural sector
toward other products and markets. According to Nisbett, the
government was considering various ideas, including
developing organic and flower farming, but she noted wryly
that "it won't be easy to persuade everyone here."



3. (U) Nisbett expressed concern about the delay in the World
Trade Organization's (WTO) approval of the waiver for the
Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) trade
preferences. According to Nisbett, during the October
meeting of the Trade and Investment Council (TIC) in
Washington, the Caribbean representatives were assured that
the United States would "sort it out" with Paraguay to reach
a consensus on the waiver. She added that the CBERA
preferences were very important for St. Kitts, which was
exporting to the United States products such as small
electronic components.



4. (U) In a subsequent meeting with Timothy Harris, Minister
of Foreign Affairs, International Trade, Industry and
Commerce, trade was again highlighted as a priority for St.
Kitts. Harris welcomed the TIC discussions and expressed
hope that the U.S. Congress will continue to support trade
liberalization. Ambassador Ourisman assured Harris that the
United States was committed to the TIC process and pointed to
President Bush's and Secretary Rice's strong record on trade.
Harris asked for additional U.S. assistance, especially in
the areas of training and education. Because U.S. assistance
has not been forthcoming as readily as in the past, according

to Harris, "the Caribbean region has had to look elsewhere
for help." He cited both Mexico (scholarships) and Taiwan
(construction projects, agricultural projects, scholarships)
as providing critically needed assistance.



5. (U) Ambassador Ourisman countered the notion that the
United States was doing less by noting that under President
Bush U.S. assistance to the region had doubled. Ambassador
Ourisman also addressed Harris' concerns about the Western
Hemisphere Travel Initiative and its impact on St. Kitts and
Nevis' tourism industry. She explained that the vast
majority of Americans traveling to the Eastern Caribbean
already do so with a passport and that the State Department
is conducting a far-reaching public outreach effort to inform
the American public of the new requirement.



6. (U) Ambassador Ourisman met briefly with Dr. Denzil
Douglas, the Prime Minister, who was in the midst of
budgetary negotiations in the parliament. While
acknowledging "some difficult moments in our past," Prime
Minister Douglas praised his country's current state of
relations and cooperation with the United States. He noted
that he made some very difficult decisions to move the
country's economy from its unprofitable dependence on sugar,
and he asked for continued U.S. assistance and investment to
help him achieve this economic transformation.

Nevis


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




BRIDGETOWN 00002084 002 OF 002




7. (U) On November 15, Ambassador Ourisman traveled to Nevis
and met with Deputy Governor General Eustace John. John's
comments focused on the difficulties St. Kitts and Nevis
citizens face in obtaining visas for travel to the United
States. He spoke at length about the expense and time lost
due to the need to travel to Barbados for visa interviews and
urged the United States to reopen the Consulate General in
neighboring Antigua.



8. (U) Ambassador Ourisman also met with Joseph Parry, the
Premier of Nevis. Parry began by noting that he was elected
only four months ago, after 14 years "in the wilderness," so
his policy program was still being formulated. He stated
that Nevis was expecting an economic boost from the 2007
Cricket World Cup (CWC). He was also planning to focus the
island's agricultural production on produce, such as tomatoes
and lettuce, which could be sold to the local hotels. Parry
clearly views tourism as Nevis' future, and he told the
Ambassador that he hopes to attract new hotel investment and
development projects to the island. His social agenda rests
on the goal of reducing crime by encouraging a more inclusive
education system, sports, and building libraries.



9. (SBU) In her final meeting on Nevis, Ambassador Ourisman
called on Malcolm Guichard, the Leader of the Opposition.
Guichard spoke of Nevisians' increasing concerns about
immigrant labor, especially from Jamaica, and stressed the
need to protect Nevis' peace, tranquillity, and security,
which are key assets for the island's tourism industry.
Guichard, who had served as Minister of Tourism, was also
worried about the island's ability to cope with the increased
visitor arrivals during the CWC. Even though Nevis is not
hosting any of the matches, Guichard told Ambassador Ourisman
that Nevis is expecting some of the teams to stay on the
island, including the Scottish team. According to Guichard,
local hotel operators have refused to block out rooms for the
expected CWC visitors, and some may therefore be turned away
or forced to rent private homes or rooms.

Comment


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





10. (SBU) Ambassador Ourisman's first visit to St. Kitts and
Nevis was successful in reaffirming our ties with the
two-island federation and exploring issues of concern to
local government officials. Given the country's economic
challenges, the government's focus on trade and assistance is
understandable. In her meetings, Ambassador Ourisman heard
about many possible solutions to the country's economic
problems, but all of these seem to be at the idea stage, with
little progress in planning and implementation. Development
of alternative agriculture and additional tourist facilities
seem to be the most viable long-term solutions, but they are
unlikely to get much attention from the government, which
will be seized in the coming months with CWC preparations.
OURISMAN