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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07BRIDGETOWN1256
2007-09-27 12:19:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Bridgetown
Cable title:  

AMBASSADOR'S VISIT TO ST. KITTS AND NEVIS

Tags:   ENRG  ECON  EINV  PGOV  PREL  CVIS  XL 
pdf how-to read a cable
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DE RUEHWN #1256/01 2701219
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FM AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5555
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE
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RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J2 MIAMI FL
RUEHCV/USDAO CARACAS VE
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J5 MIAMI FL
						C O N F I D E N T I A L BRIDGETOWN 001256 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

WHA/CAR FOR ALAIN NORMAN
L/CID FOR MARGUERITE WALTER
WHA/EPSC FOR LISA KUBISKE
EEB/ESC/IEC FOR MATT MCMANUS
EEB/IFD/OIA FOR HEATHER GOETHERT

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/24/2017
TAGS: ENRG ECON EINV PGOV PREL CVIS XL
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S VISIT TO ST. KITTS AND NEVIS
HIGHLIGHTS BIOFUELS, U.S. INVESTMENT

REF: A. BRIDGETOWN 801


B. BRIDGETOWN 1195

Classified By: AMB. MARY M. OURISMAN FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D).

Summary
-------



1. (U) During her September 19-21 visit to St. Kitts and
Nevis to celebrate that nation's National Day, the Ambassador
raised biofuels and the Angelus expropriation case with Prime
Minister Denzil Douglas and Foreign Minister Timothy Harris.
The Ambassador also used the trip to draw public attention to
USG contributions to regional security in an address to a
graduating ATA class, and handed over PD funds to help
support our shared cultural heritage at the Alexander
Hamilton House on Nevis. The visit received extensive press
interest and focused attention on our continued commitment to
the region following the June, 2007 Conference on the
Caribbean. End summary.

Green Light for Biofuel Cane Production


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





2. (U) On September 10, Minister of Sustainable Development
Nigel Carty, the GOSKN's lead on biofuels, publicly stated
that in six to eight months an organization will be in place
to ensure investment in ethanol production and expressed hope
that in two years, the first bottle of ethanol will be
produced in St. Kitts and Nevis. The Ambassador encouraged
Douglas to also publicly endorse the initiative, noting that
an endorsement from the Prime Minister would add significant
weight. Douglas did not commit to making a personal
statement to media, but confirmed that his government has
agreed to officially move forward with biofuel development
plans. Douglas said Minister Carty speaks on his behalf and
assured the Ambassador that the GOSKN will work with the
Organization of American States to plan specific next steps.

Build It and They Will Go: The Angelus Saga


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





3. (C) The Ambassador also pressed both the PM and Edmeade to
resolve the Angelus expropriation dispute between the GOSKN
and former Amcit Angelus property owners, to establish better
lines of communication and transparency with the affected
Amcits, and to provide quick and fair compensation. The
Ambassador raised USAID's Investment Promotion Authority
project in St. Kitts, emphasizing the link between its
success and the ability of GOSKN to protect foreign
investment. Douglas offered his empathy for the Amcits and
explained his interest in resolving the conflict quickly.
Douglas and Edmeade told the Ambassador that the GOSKN is in
its final negotiations with the Marriott Corporation to
invest in the Angelus property. Both agreed that before
Marriott purchases the property, the present property dispute
must be resolved. In order to resolve the dispute, however,
an agreement on adequate compensation must be finalized.
This creates a catch-22 situation in that compensation can

only be awarded once Marriott purchases the property.



4. (C) According to Edmeade, the Attorney General's
designated liaison between the GOSKN and Amcits was absent
for the last month due to illness, but would soon resume her
duties and try to improve communication with Amcit property
owners. In addition, Douglas pointed out a new obstacle in
the process - the GOSKN is now investigating possible
criminal activity associated with some of the property owners
who allegedly provided false claims. Edmeade, charged by
Douglas to monitor the dispute resolution closely, told the
Ambassador that the process of compensation should begin by
December 31, 2007, but could not specify a date when actual
compensation would be awarded since the claims investigation
has to be concluded first.

Using Cruises to Finance Regional Security


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





5. (C) The DCM met separately with GOSKN Minister of National
Security Dwyer Astaphan, who predicted that the Caribbean is
on the road to destruction if it continues with its
ill-preparedness to address regional security. Astaphan

pointed out that the absence of a region-wide holistic
approach and tremendous lack of resources, combined with the
evolving sophistication of criminals and terrorists, is a
recipe for disaster. At the September 21 Diplomatic Security
Anti-terrorism Assistance Course graduation in St. Kitts,
Astaphan reiterated these concerns to the press, warning that
it would take only one terrorist incident--or even rumor of a
terrorist incident--to cause cataclysmic economic damage in a
region that depends on tourism for its survival. Astaphan
proposed - both during his speech, and to the DCM privately -
an idea for a USD $20 per head security fee for cruise
passengers that would generate close to USD $100 million a
year to provide the necessary resources to prevent terrorism
and combat other criminal networks.

A Contribution Alexander Hamilton Would Be Proud Of


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



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





6. (U) On September 20, the Ambassador traveled to Nevis to
meet with its Premier, Joseph Parry, and sign a grant for USD
$40,000 to the island's Alexander Hamilton House and Museum
to upgrade the Alexander Hamilton exhibit. (Note: The
Alexander Hamilton House and Museum is where Alexander
Hamilton was born 250 years ago this year, and serves to link
the history and culture of Nevis with that of the United
States. End Note.) In her meeting with Premier Parry, the
Ambassador reiterated the USG's commitment to re-engagement
with the region and noted that the contribution to the
Alexander Hamilton House and Museum offers an excellent
opportunity to display the strong historical ties between the
United States and the Caribbean, as well as attract tourists
to Nevis' capital.

USG Looking Good in SKN


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





7. (U) The Ambassador's trip to St. Kitts and Nevis generated
excellent press. In her speech to the graduating class of
the ATA Civil Aviation Course, also covered by local and
regional print and radio media, the Ambassador reiterated the
USG commitment to the Caribbean, providing tangible examples
and highlighting a total value of contributions to the region
over the last three years, amounting to more than USD $100
million.

Comment


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





8. (U) Since the U.S.-Brazil Biofuels Conference was launched
in St. Kitts and Nevis, which puts the country on the map
with regard to high-level partnerships with the United
States, Embassy Bridgetown has been proactively drawing
public attention to the USG commitment to the Caribbean in
the spirit of the White House-CARICOM Joint Communique issued
in June 2007. The Ambassador's visit, combined with
effective press coverage of other tangible deliverables,
successfully reinforced the USG's commitment to the Caribbean
and as a result, earned the public gratitude of the GOSKN.
Embassy Bridgetown will seek out similar opportunities to
showcase USG Caribbean engagement during all of the Eastern
Caribbean National Days due to take place within the next two
months.
OURISMAN