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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06PORTOFSPAIN529 2006-04-28 19:06:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Port Of Spain
Cable title:  

JAMAICAN PRIME MINISTER VISITS TRINIDAD

Tags:   EPET ETRD PREL TD XL 
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VZCZCXRO8621
PP RUEHGR
DE RUEHSP #0529/01 1181906
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 281906Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY PORT OF SPAIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6769
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 3585
RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE
					UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PORT OF SPAIN 000529 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EPET ETRD PREL TD XL
SUBJECT: JAMAICAN PRIME MINISTER VISITS TRINIDAD

REF: (A) POS 488; (B) 05 POS 2064; (C) 04 POS 2042



1. SUMMARY: Energy dominated the visit of Jamaican
Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller to Trinidad April
24-26. Regional crime, drug trafficking and security
concerns relating to the 2007 Cricket World Cup also
figured in discussions she had with T&T PM Patrick
Manning. No new agreements came out of the visit,
which was Simpson-Miller's first as PM and came during
Manning's stint as CARICOM chairman. End summary.



2. Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller paid a visit to
Trinidad & Tobago April 24-26. It was her first
official overseas visit since assuming her current
office, and responded to an invitation by T&T Prime
Minister Patrick Manning, who is the current chairman
of CARICOM. The two met in a three-hour discussion,
and Simpson-Miller delivered an address to members of
the T&T Manufacturers Association (TTMA), and visited
the headquarters of the T&T National Gas Company.



3. While receiving state honors by the GOTT, Simpson-
Miller's visit was overshadowed by the April 24
conviction of T&T Opposition Leader and former PM
Basdeo Panday (ref A). As a result, details of her
visit were relegated to business pages of Trinidad
papers.



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


PetroCaribe takes center stage


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




4. At a press conference following their April 25
meeting, Manning and Simpson-Miller addressed the
PetroCaribe arrangement with Venezuela. Manning
reminded the media that T&T had taken a decision to
facilitate participation by other CARICOM members, such
as Jamaica. By voluntarily giving up Common External
Tariff (CET) protection for the regional refining
industry, Manning said those countries would be able to
take advantage of favorable payment terms for petroleum
products from Venezuela. Simpson-Miller said she was
bound as PM to do what she could to benefit the people
of Jamaica, including participating in PetroCaribe.



5. In a remarkable moment of directness, Manning
reduced the essence of his government's position on
PetroCaribe to a single sound bite. The Guardian
quoted Manning, explaining why T&T and Barbados have
not signed onto PetroCaribe, succinctly: "The reason
is that in T&T we have a refinery ... and in the case
of Barbados because they have a processing arrangement
with the T&T refinery."



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


Gas for Jamaica, Aluminum for Trinidad


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




6. Simpson-Miller said during the visit that T&T agreed
to a long-term arrangement to supply gas to Jamaica.
In turn, she said, Jamaica agreed to invest in the
Alutrint aluminum smelter project proposed for Trinidad
(ref B). According to a GOTT statement issued after
the press conference, gas supply options for Jamaica
include:

(1) Compressed natural gas,
(2) Liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Atlantic LNG Train
4, or
(3) LNG from the yet-to-be-built Train "X."

The supply of gas is supposed to begin in 2009 under
MFN payment terms (which would rule out the third
option).



7. Econ Chief spoke with MFA CARICOM desk officer
Jennifer Marchand on April 27 about the visit. We
asked specifically about Simpson-Miller's statement
that Jamaica would "invest" in the Alutrint smelter
project. Marchand said there were no/no signed
deliverables during the visit. The agreements
announced, according to her, were verbal ones. Yvonne
Gittens-Joseph, T&T High Commissioner-designate to
Jamaica, told DCM after the TTMA luncheon that the key
issue for the visit was energy. Marchand told us
essentially the same thing, though she added that
Cricket World Cup 2007 was a significant issue. She
elaborated that discussion centered on security
concerns for the event, and were similar to those
CARICOM officials raised recently with the Secretary in
the Bahamas. Marchand said crime and Haiti were not as
prominent in the visit. According to her, the recent
elections in Haiti boded well for eventually bringing
Haiti back into the CARICOM fold. Marchand had little

PORT OF SP 00000529 002 OF 002


say about crime (though Simpson-Miller stated in the
press conference that the two countries are working
together on the issue through ministries of national
security).



8. COMMENT: The visit appears to have had little in
real substance. The gas agreement was not much
advanced from the MOU signed in 2004 (ref C) and firm
details have not been worked out. Manning's statement
on lifting the CET for PetroCaribe largely repeated a
position he took in January. The visit's greater value
(besides enabling post to dust off old cables) may be
in building a relationship between the two leaders, who
have strong personal religious beliefs, and their
nations, which share challenges of dealing with
escalating crime, making a success of regional schemes
like the CARICOM Single Market (CSM), and managing
differences over PetroCaribe.

AUSTIN