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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06BRIDGETOWN753
2006-05-03 21:45:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Bridgetown
Cable title:  

CARIBBEAN WHALING VOTES SOLD TO JAPAN

Tags:   AORC  EAID  EFIS  PGOV  PREL  SENV  JA  XL 
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DE RUEHWN #0753/01 1232145
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 032145Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2395
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1415
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0076
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 000753 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/02/2016
TAGS: AORC EAID EFIS PGOV PREL SENV JA XL
SUBJECT: CARIBBEAN WHALING VOTES SOLD TO JAPAN

REF: 05 BRIDGETOWN 2296

Classified By: CDA Mary Ellen T. Gilroy for reasons 1.5 (b)
and (d).

C O N F I D E N T I A L BRIDGETOWN 000753

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/02/2016
TAGS: AORC EAID EFIS PGOV PREL SENV JA XL
SUBJECT: CARIBBEAN WHALING VOTES SOLD TO JAPAN

REF: 05 BRIDGETOWN 2296

Classified By: CDA Mary Ellen T. Gilroy for reasons 1.5 (b)
and (d).


1. (C) Summary: Caribbean nations sold Japan their support
for ending the international ban on whaling, complain
environmentalists who fear that the Caribbean could help
Japan overturn this prohibition during the International
Whaling Commission's (IWC) June meeting in St. Kitts and
Nevis. The six small countries of the Eastern Caribbean have
received hundreds of millions of dollars in aid from Japan in
a quid pro quo that led them to be among the most vocal
proponents of ending the commercial whaling ban, according to
critics. The Caribbeans have argued in response that whales
are a renewable resource, the hunting of which can be
sustained. Despite their protestations to the contrary, the
Eastern Caribbean has played a role in the whaling
controversy out of all proportion to the limited
international agendas and financial resources of these small
island-states. The situation suggests that Caribbean
governments are not averse to selling their positions on
whaling, or other issues for that matter, to benefactors that
offer aid to these economically troubled countries. End
summary.

--------------
Whaling Votes Sold to Japan
--------------


2. (U) Japan purchased the support of the six small
island-states of the Eastern Caribbean for the Asian nation's
effort to end the international ban on whaling, according to
several leading environmental groups. The most recent
accusation came from the International Fund for Animal
Welfare (IFAW) during an April conference of Caribbean
environmentalists. The IFAW also accused St. Vincent and the
Grenadines of denying its research vessel "Song of the Whale"
permission to enter Vincentian waters during a recent

Caribbean voyage.


3. (U) The six Eastern Caribbean states, Antigua and Barbuda,
Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St.
Vincent and the Grenadines, have voted consistently since
1992 to repeal the IWC's moratorium on commercial whaling,
according to several published reports including one by the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Critics contend that
the Caribbeans' votes are the result of a concerted Japanese
effort begun in 1986, the same year the IWC imposed the ban
on whaling, to influence governments by delivering
substantial amounts of aid. Japan pays for the Eastern
Caribbean countries' membership in the IWC and attendance at
its annual meetings. Japan has also provided funds to assist
St. Kitts and Nevis in hosting the IWC's 2006 annual meeting.

--------------
Dominica's White Whale
--------------


4. (U) Japan was the top bilateral donor to the six Eastern
Caribbean nations during the period 1998 to 2002, according
to the Japanese Embassy in Trinidad's website. The most
significant Japanese assistance to the region has been to
support the fishing industries in these sea going societies.
Japan has provided approximately US$220 million in grants to
construct numerous fishing-related facilities in all six
countries. Dominica, at US$51 million, has received the most
fishing-related aid, including construction of a US$15.12
million fishing complex in the town of Marigot on the
island's rugged Atlantic Coast. Completed in 2002, this
gleaming, modern facility that includes a large concrete
seawall, pier, refrigerated fish storage building and public
market, presents a stark contrast to the ramshackle town and
small fishing boats it serves.

--------------
Whale Watching and Hunting, Not Incompatible
--------------


5. (U) Dominica proved itself to be a staunch ally of Japan
during the 2005 IWC meeting in South Korea, where the
Dominica representative, Lloyd Pascal, explained to the press
that his country is a whale watching destination that also
looks forward to the "day when whale harvesting" can begin.
Pascal said that whale meat could be used in Dominica as a
source of food and sold as a commodity. He denied that there
was any contradiction in his country, a noted eco-tourism
destination, conducting whale watching and hunting
simultaneously. Pascal also denied that the Japanese had
influenced his Government's position on whaling.


6. (C) Note: In contrast, Dominica Foreign Minister Charles
Savarin characterized his country's relationship with Japan
as a clear "quid pro quo" during a 2005 meeting with Emboffs
(reftel). Refreshingly, in 2001 Antigua and Barbuda Prime
Minister Lester Bird said to the press, "I'm not going to be
a hypocrite," and admitted to taking Japanese aid in exchange
for supporting an end to the ban on whaling. End note.

--------------
St. Vincent's Whaling Tradition
--------------


7. (U) The Eastern Caribbean nation with the most direct
interest in whaling is St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where
the residents of Bequia, one of the small Grenadine islands,
engage in "aboriginal subsistence whaling." The IWC allows
Bequians to take up to four humpback whales a year in
recognition of the island's traditional whaling culture. At
present, two crews of Bequia whalers use small wooden boats
and hand-held harpoons to hunt whales, typically taking two
or three a year. The whale meat is divided among the
families of the whalers with excess meat sold on the island.
The whalers have recently attempted to make their trade,
including the butchering of the whales, appear less grisly to
the many foreigners who vacation on Bequia, St. Vincent's
chief fisheries officer explained to Poloff.


8. (SBU) Comment: It is curious that Bequia has been
permitted "aboriginal subsistence whaling" by the IWC. The
island is not inhabited by aboriginal people but by persons
of African and European descent whose ancestors only began
hunting whales with the arrival of commercial whaling in

1875. The international industry virtually ended by 1925,
after which the island attempted to keep a local whaling
industry alive with limited success. Bequia being given
aboriginal whaling rights seems somewhat akin to the modern
residents of Nantucket, Massachusetts, being allowed to hunt
whales because their forebearers were commercial whalers.
End comment.

--------------
St. Kitts to Host Whaling Commission
--------------


9. (U) The Caribbean's position on whaling will receive
heightened attention when the International Whaling
Commission holds its annual meeting in St. Kitts and Nevis.
The IWC's scientific committees will meet May 23 to June 15,
after which the actual Commission will meet June 16 to 20.
The Government of St. Kitts has indicated that during the
meeting it will push to end the ban on commercial whaling.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Cedric Liburd told the
press that the IWC should allow the resumption of limited
whaling. He explained that this was an important issue to
the countries of the Eastern Caribbean, which could use
whales "to feed our people." The Minister placed the whaling
issue in the context of the recent closure of St. Kitts's
once dominant sugar industry, the negative economic impact of
which necessitates that the country "tap into" other natural
resources such as whale stocks.

--------------
Comment
--------------


10. (C) The Eastern Caribbean clearly sold its votes on
whaling to the Japanese, despite the efforts of these
governments to frame ending the ban on whaling as a potential
economic boon to their countries. The small, cash-strapped
governments in the region have limited international
political agendas and frequently opt out of international
fora that would appear to concern their national interests.
It seems unlikely, therefore, that these governments would
consistently take a stand on whaling and send representatives
to IWC meetings around the globe unless prompted to do so by
Japan. The conviction with which Eastern Caribbean
governments advocate ending the whaling ban suggests that
Japan has been extremely successful in its approach to
finding and coaching allies in an unpopular cause. This
example of checkbook diplomacy may be particularly stark, but
it is far from the only example of financial suasion trumping
scruples. The willingness of Eastern Caribbean governments
to "adjust" their positions, whether over whaling,
recognition of China versus Taiwan, or support of Venezuela
and Cuba, suggests that when a regional leader asserts a
"principled stand" on an issue, it may mean that there was no
money in it.

GILROY