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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06BRIDGETOWN2248
2006-12-27 13:33:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Bridgetown
Cable title:  

NEW ST. LUCIAN CABINET: MOSTLY QUALIFIED, BUT...

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  PINR  ASEC  ST  XL 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHWN #2248/01 3611333
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 271333Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3965
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE
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 002248 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/CAR
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/19/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR ASEC ST XL
SUBJECT: NEW ST. LUCIAN CABINET: MOSTLY QUALIFIED, BUT...

REF: BRIDGETOWN 2202

Classified By: DCM Mary Ellen T. Gilroy for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).



1. (C) SUMMARY: Prime Minister Sir John Compton's new cabinet
was sworn in on December 19. Although the UWP picked
appropriately prepared candidates for most ministries, it
seems the Foreign Minister and Minister for Home Affairs and
National Security are surpringly inexperienced for their
positions. Arguably, these two ministries will prove most
crucial in U.S.-St. Lucian relations. Also, Home Affairs,
with its authority over the police and security forces, will
prove key in preparations for Cricket World Cup and curbing
the rising crime problem. It is likely that these two
ministers are placeholders and that PM Compton will prove the
prime actor behind these ministries. See paragraphs 4, 5,
and 16 for details on these two appointments. END SUMMARY.



2. (U) On December 19, the newly elected United Workers Party
(UWP) government swore in its cabinet ministers, completing
the new government's formation. The new cabinet includes all
11 UWP members of Parliament, three of the six defeated UWP
candidates, and two new faces. Sketches of the appointees
appear below:

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance: Sir John Compton



3. (C) PM Compton is no stranger to St. Lucian politics,
having already served as Prime Minister for almost 30 years
(1964-79, 1982-96). In his previous administration, PM
Compton was infamous for being an authoritarian manager of
all aspects of government affairs. Former UWP campaign
manager and current editor for the Voice newspaper Victor
Marquis stated that Compton's power as PM was the closest
thing to "god-like" he had ever seen. As an example, Marquis
told of an incident when his home was to be auctioned because
he was behind on payments. Marquis mentioned this in a
meeting with then-PM Compton, who picked up the phone and
said, "Marquis's house is to be auctioned tomorrow. Put a
stop to it." As a result, Marquis still lives in that house
today. There is no evidence that PM Compton's management
style--characterized by some as dictatorial and
micromanaging--will be any different in this current
incarnation.

Minister for External Affairs, International Financial
Services, Information, and Broadcasting: Rufus Bousquet



4. (C) Bousquet served in Parliament from 1992-97 and as a
junior minister at the Ministry of Trade during that period.
He has business niches in the tourism and financial services
sectors. However, it does not appear that he has any
experience that would qualify him to be Foreign Minister.
Prior to the elections, UWP candidate Stephenson King
commented that, if victorious, Compton would likely serve as
PM, Finance Minister, and Foreign Minister. It is possible

that Bousquet is a puppet minister with PM Compton
controlling the strings. Senator Guy Mayers, a major player
in the UWP, admitted that he did not know Bousquet's
background and that the decision to appoint him to External
Affairs was, "a matter of finding somewhere he can serve."

Minister for Home Affairs and National Security: Dr. Keith
Mondesir



5. (C) Mondesir was an optometrist in Canada for 22 years,
but was charged with violating the Personal Health
Information Act when he sold contact information for almost
16,000 patients to LensCrafters International. (NOTE: This
information is a matter of Canadian public record and
available on the Internet. End Note.) He appears to have no
background in national security or police matters. When the
new Minister for Social Transformation "Spider" Montoute
informed PolOff of Mondesir's appointment to the Home
Affairs, which directs the police and security forces, he
also stated that Compton will be watching this ministry very
closely. Like Bousquet, it seems Mondesir may be a puppet
minister under Compton's control. This is surprising given
that the need to curb crime was one of the UWP's chief
campaign messages.

Minister for Housing, Urban Renewal, and Local Government:
Richard Frederick



6. (C) Speculation abounded as to where Frederick might wind
up, particularly given his history as a police officer and
lawyer, his ties to drug traffickers, and his March 2006
by-election victory revitalizing the UWP. His appointment to
this ministry surprised many who were expecting Frederick
would serve as Attorney General or Minister for Home Affairs
and National Security. On December 15, four days after the
election, Frederick stated on television that he had asked
for Home Affairs, but was told he deserved something more
challenging. PM Compton, in a December 19 television
appearance, stated that Frederick's ministry will play an
important role in reducing crime because the urban slums are
an "incubator for crime." More on Frederick will be reported
in septel.

Minister for Social Transformation, Human Services, Family
Affairs, Youth, and Sports: Lenard "Spider" Montoute



7. (U) As mentioned in reftel, Montoute, 44, is a
U.S.-educated athlete now quickly rising in the St. Lucia
political scene. During the campaign, Montoute was appointed
a deputy party leader and his exemplary performance points to
his leadership potential in the UWP. He is likely to
function as Deputy Prime Minister, but to the best of our
understanding has not yet been officially named DPM.
Montoute is known universally by his nickname Spider; he
legally changed his name so it could appear on the 2006
ballot as "Lenard Spider Montoute." It is rumored that he
lost votes in 2001 when voters could not find "Spider" on the
ballot.

Minister for Health and Labour Relations: Dr. Stephenson King



8. (U) Dr. King has previously served two terms in Parliament
and as Minister for Health in the previous UWP administration.

Minister for Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries: Ezechiel
Joseph



9. (U) Joseph is a new to politics, with this election being
his first contested. However, he is an expert in
agriculture, having worked in the Ministry of Agriculture for
20 years and recently as a lecturer at the Sir Arthur Lewis
Community College.

Minister for Education and Culture: Arsene James



10. (U) James ran unsuccessfully for Parliament in 1997, but
won in 2001 as an opposition member of Parliament (MP). He
is a career educator with a degree in law.

Minister for Communications, Works, Transport, and Public
Utilities: Guy Joseph



11. (U) Joseph was a natural for this position, having served
as President of the National Council on Public Transport and
CEO and Director of the Public Transport Service Corporation.

Minister for Trade, Industry, and Commerce: Senator Guy
Mayers



12. (U) Mayers ran against previous Commerce and Tourism
Minister Phillip Pierre, but lost. Now he has been appointed
Senator in order to serve as Minister of Commerce. He served
two terms as president of the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce
and is the managing director of Mayers Printing, which owns
the Mirror newspaper.

Minister for Economic Affairs and Economic Planning, National
Development, and Public Service: Senator Ausbert D'Auvergne



13. (U) D'Auvergne served as the permanent secretary for
Planning and Development under the previous UWP
administration. Multiple sources have said he did an
excellent job in that position, with one of the current
ministers calling him the "Super PS" and Compton's right-hand
man at the time. He also was the founding member of the now
defunct National Democratic Movement (NDM) party.

Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation: Senator Allen
Chastanet



14. (SBU) Chastanet has been working as the second vice
president and chairman of the marketing committee of the St.
Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association. He is also owner and
director of a popular St. Lucian resort, former
vice-president of Air Jamaica, and a board member of the ICC
Cricket World Cup West Indies 2007 Committee. He completed
his undergraduate studies at Quebec's Bishop's University and
earned a master's degree in banking at the American
University in Washington, D.C. As the new Tourism Minister,
Chastanet will assume previous Tourism Minister Pierre's role
as chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization. Chastanet
has been a long-time contact of the Embassy.

And Four Junior Ministerships



15. (U) In addition to the 11 ministers, the UWP appointed
four junior ministers to the cabinet. Senator Tessa Mangal,
who unsuccessfully competed in the election, is junior
minister to the Ministry of Social Transformation. Mangal
worked as a teacher and tour guide, and then left for England
to study law at the Universities of Wolverhampton and
Northumbria. She has also previously served in the Senate.
Senator Gaspard Charlemagne, who also failed to win his seat,
has been appointed as junior minister to the Ministry of
Education. This is appropriate as he served over 40 years as
an educator and retired as Chief Education Officer. Marcus
Nicholas, the new junior minister to the Ministry of
Agriculture, is beginning his third term as an MP. A
pre-election issue of the Star newspaper commented, "His
stint as Leader of the Opposition has been dismal." Finally,
MP Edmund Estephane is junior minister to the Ministry of
Commerce. Estephane was a virtual unknown prior to the
election, never having run for office previously. Prior to
politics, Estephane was a teacher, a national athlete, and a
1990s track star at San Diego State University. He first got
involved with politics through D'Auvergne's NDM.

COMMENT



16. (C) Generally, PM Compton and his UWP have chosen
candidates with appropriate experience to head each ministry.
The two exceptions, however, appear to be the ministries
most important for U.S. interests: External Affairs and Home
Affairs/National Security. Post is particulary concerned
that neophyte Home Affairs Minister Mondesir will have
primary responsiblity for the security forces, including the
police, during the March-April 2007 Cricket World Cup. (St.
Lucia is scheduled to host multiple games, including the
semi-finals.) It seems that Compton has appointed men with
no relevant experience to conduct foreign policy and national
security so that he can exercise maximum authority over these
matters.
OURISMAN