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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06BRIDGETOWN315
2006-02-17 18:51:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Bridgetown
Cable title:  

GRENADA: A REQUEST COUCHED IN FAMILIAR ALARMISM

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  PINR  ASEC  SNAR  CH  GJ  VE  XL 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXYZ0020
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHWN #0315/01 0481851
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 171851Z FEB 06
FM AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1916
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1378
RUEHCV/USDAO CARACAS VE
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J2 MIAMI FL
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J5 MIAMI FL
						C O N F I D E N T I A L BRIDGETOWN 000315 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAR-RCOLLINS AND INR/IAA-RCARHART
STATE ALSO FOR DS/IP/WHA, DS/ITA. AND DS/ICI/PII
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/17/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR ASEC SNAR CH GJ VE XL
SUBJECT: GRENADA: A REQUEST COUCHED IN FAMILIAR ALARMISM

REF: BRIDGETOWN 294

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



1. (C) Summary: During a meeting with Ambassador Kramer,
advisors to Grenada Prime Minister Keith Mitchell requested
U.S. assistance in bringing a naval floating hospital to
Grenada during Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2007. Barry Collymore
and Dr. Rudy Webster warned that the opposition would take
advantage of the situation if the International Cricket
Commission (ICC) canceled Grenada's participation in the
March 2007 event. Throughout the meeting, Dr. Webster
continuously underscored concerns over the opposition's
growing radical ideology and its desire to change Grenada's
democratic system. In between the scare tactics that echoed
previous conversations between PM Mitchell and Ambassador
Kramer, Dr. Webster evoked past U.S. generosity and the 1983
U.S. intervention. Dr. Webster also noted the growing number
of left-of-center leaders in the region and Grenada's newly
established relations with the PRC. The GOG envoys,
arguments thinly veiled the implied threat of a coup d'etat
and loss of U.S. influence on the island if more USG
assistance fails to materialize. End Summary.

Health Facilities Lacking to Host CWC


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





2. (C) Ambassador Kramer met February 9 in Bridgetown with
Barry Collymore, advisor to Grenada's PM Keith Mitchell, and
Dr. Rudy Webster, Director and Chairman of the Health and
Medical Committee in Grenada for CWC 2007. The meeting was
held at the request of the GOG to discuss the inadequacy of
its medical preparations for the upcoming international
event. Dr. Webster explained that the GOG had started a
project to add a second phase to the General Hospital, a
325-bed facility. Unfortunately, Hurricane Ivan, in 2004,
and Hurricane Emily, in 2005, forced postponement of the
project. The ICC's recent inspection of Grenada found that
it had insufficient hospital beds or facilities to deal with
a mass casualty scenario. The ICC warned the GOG that
failure to provide additional hospital beds and necessary
health equipment would disqualify Grenada from hosting the
CWC semi-final matches. Dr. Webster said the hospital
expansion would not be completed before CWC and requested
that the USG provide a naval floating hospital to ensure
Grenada's participation in CWC. .

Grenada Cries Wolf, Again?


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





3. (C) Ambassador Kramer responded that while she understood
Grenada's predicament, this request was not for humanitarian
assistance or disaster relief purposes. Dr. Webster replied
that should the ICC cancel Grenada's participation, the
opposition would take advantage of the situation and use it
as a pretext to mount a coup d'etat. In addition, Grenada

was very concerned about the growing divide between the West
and the Muslims. Grenada, he said, was a soft target for
terrorists looking to harm citizens from Australia and
England during CWC. (Note: Currently only Australia is
scheduled to play in Grenada if its team advances to the
semi-finals. To Post's knowledge, Australia has not been
approached for assistance, but the British High Commission in
Bridgetown confirmed the GOG asked it also for a floating
hospital.) According to Dr. Webster, the presence of a
U.S.-run medical school and Grenada's laissez-faire attitude
toward security added to its attractiveness for terrorists.
Dr. Webster feared the growing divide in other parts of the
world was fueling the opposition, whose ideology had not
progressed since 1983. It certainly did not help, he added,
that several countries in the region had leftist governments.



4. (C) Collymore added that the opposition had espoused
militant ideas on national radio in response to the GOG
imposing a five percent tax. The opposition had called for
the electricity to be shut off nationwide and for businesses
to close down in protest. They lack respect for the rule of
law, he said, and their demonstrations during the chaos that
ensued after Ivan illustrate this point. According to
Collymore, the opposition is getting desperate since they are
losing followers due to Grenada's stability and the only
alternative to PM Mitchell, he warned, is a radical leftist.
Ambassador Kramer asked if earlier opposition attempts to
destabilize the GOG had been successful; Collymore replied
that they had not been.



5. (C) Collymore argues, however, that the PRC would very
much like to see the opposition in power. Dr. Webster took
the opportunity to explain the reason the GOG had switched
from the ROC to the PRC, claiming that the ROC had treated
the PM badly, thus leaving the GOG with no other option but
to "get into bed with a country that was philosophically
different from Grenada and the ruling party." (Note: Dr.
Webster failed to mention that PM Mitchell shopped around for
the best deal before siding with the PRC. The ROC refused to
give into the GOG,s demands and forced PM Mitchell to take
the funding the PRC offered as an incentive to end relations
with the ROC. End note.)

Other CWC Concerns


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





6. (SBU) Ambassador Kramer asked if the GOG had other
concerns regarding CWC. Dr. Webster replied that security
and disaster management were on the top of the list.
Ambassador Kramer said Grenada was probably further ahead in
terms of disaster preparedness than other Eastern Caribbean
countries and noted that the water system had not failed
during Hurricane Emily. Mr. Collymore responded that,
thankfully, Hurricane Emily did not lead to mass casualties
for which Grenada would have been unprepared in July 2005.

COMMENT: Same Old Song


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





7. (C) Dr. Webster is a former Barbadian Ambassador to the
U.S. who served during the George H.W. Bush and William J.
Clinton administrations. He explained that he lives in
Grenada rather than Barbados because his wife is Grenadian.
As a seasoned politician who unabashedly plays on all our
fears while reminding us of our generous spirit, Dr. Webster
seems to have been sent by PM Mitchell to bail the GOG out of
yet another possible disaster. PM Mitchell cannot afford to
lose hosting CWC as the revenue that would come from such a
large event would help jump-start Grenada's frail economy;
losing the match would also be a blow to the island state's
prestige, reflecting poorly on the PM and the New National
Party, in power since 1994.



8. (C) The scaremongering employed by PM Mitchell and his
advisors is again conveniently timed to spur the USG into
providing a quick-fix to Grenada,s current challenge,
preparations for Cricket World Cup. By approaching the UK
and probably Venezuela for similar or additional medical
support, the PM is clearly eager to address the short-fuse
need with help from any quarter. Similar tactics were used
in 2004 shortly before the USG announced it would donate over
40 million USD in aid for disaster relief and reconstruction
efforts after Hurricane Ivan. Once the GOG received that
aid, PM Mitchell soon forgot the coup threat and rejected
U.S. military presence in Grenada; several neighboring
countries, including Venezuela, were permitted to send in
uniformed troops to maintain order.



9. (C) In recent months, U.S. officials met with several
senior GOG security officials to investigate PM Mitchell's
fears of the opposition looking to unseat him (reftel).
Emboffs concluded, once again, that little evidence exists to
corroborate PM Mitchell's claims or those of his advisors.

KRAMER
KRAMER