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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06BRIDGETOWN829 2006-05-15 16:26:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Bridgetown
Cable title:  

MALAYSIA PRIME MINISTER VISITS ST. VINCENT

Tags:   EINV OVIP PGOV PINR PREL JM MY VC XL 
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P 151626Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2488
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1436
RUEHKL/AMEMBASSY KUALA LUMPUR 0031
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					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BRIDGETOWN 000829

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EINV OVIP PGOV PINR PREL JM MY VC XL
SUBJECT: MALAYSIA PRIME MINISTER VISITS ST. VINCENT

REF: BRIDGETOWN 609



1. (SBU) Summary: Malaysia Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi visited St. Vincent and the Grenadines over the course of four days in April and May for what was touted by St. Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves as a follow-up to his successful March visit to Malaysia and Singapore. While in St. Vincent, the Malaysian leader addressed a session of Parliament, but spent most of his time vacationing in the Grenadine islands where St. Vincent's high-end resorts are located. The lack of a concrete agenda or results from PM Abdullah's trip to St. Vincent does little to clear up the circumstances surrounding Gonsalves's earlier trip to Southeast Asia (reftel), the purpose and financing of which remain unclear. End summary.



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Malaysia PM Unwinds in St. Vincent


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2. (U) Malaysia PM Abdullah visited St. Vincent and the Grenadines for four days, April 29 to May 2, for what was called a "working visit" in a press release provided by the Malaysia MFA. From St. Vincent, the Malaysia PM went on to Jamaica for a two-day "official visit." A reporter traveling with the PM wrote in the Malaysia Star that the Jamaica portion of the trip dealt with possible Malaysian investment in energy exploration and construction projects, while the PM was stopping in St. Vincent "mostly for a vacation and to unwind from the pressures of work."



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St. Vincent Rolls Out the Red Carpet


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3. (U) The Government of St. Vincent literally rolled out the red carpet for the Malaysia PM, who was greeted by the entire Cabinet and other dignitaries at St. Vincent's small airport when he arrived on April 29. After meeting with St. Vincent PM Gonsalves, the Malaysian vacationed for a few days on the Grenadine islands Mustique and Canuoan. He spent one of these days on a fishing trip accompanied by Gonsalves. PM Abdullah returned to St. Vincent proper on May 2 and addressed Parliament before departing for Jamaica.



4. (U) Note: Mustique is a private island containing over 75 private villas, many of which are owned by international celebrities. Canuoan is the location of the high-end Raffles Resort and an opulent villa complex and golf course developed by Donald Trump. The stylish environment of the Grenadines contrasts markedly with the somewhat squalid conditions encountered on the main island of St. Vincent. End note.



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Gonsalves to Visit Malaysia, Again


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5. (U) Following the Malaysian PM's departure, the Governments of St. Vincent and Malaysia released a joint statement with standard diplomatic language expressing further interest in "enhancing cooperation" in a number of areas. PM Gonsalves announced that he had accepted an invitation to make an official visit to Malaysia in June and would also see the Malaysian PM in September during the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) meeting in Cuba. St. Vincent formally joined the NAM at the organization's 2004 summit in Malaysia.



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Comment


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6. (SBU) When first announced, the Malaysian leader's St. Vincent trip appeared to suggest that PM Gonsalves had indeed accomplished something for his country by traveling to Southeast Asia earlier this year. Considering, however, that the "working visit" was really a vacation, it does not appear that St. Vincent will necessarily benefit from its PM's previous globetrotting. As stated in reftel, the Government of St. Vincent cannot afford such trips by its PM, which must be paid by third parties. The question remains, what do these third parties stand to gain from financing the travels of the leader of a small Caribbean island-state?

GILROY