wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy Privacy
Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07KINGSTON133
2007-01-26 19:37:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Kingston
Cable title:  

JAMAICA: FORMER PRIME MINISTER PATTERSON BELIEVES

Tags:   PREL  PGOV  EINV  EIND  ETRD  ECON  EWWT  EFIN  ECIN 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXYZ0005
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKG #0133/01 0261937
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 261937Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINGSTON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4240
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
						C O N F I D E N T I A L KINGSTON 000133 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAR (RANDALL BUDDEN, BRIAN NICHOLS)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/25/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV EINV EIND ETRD ECON EWWT EFIN ECIN
CARICOM, JM, XL
SUBJECT: JAMAICA: FORMER PRIME MINISTER PATTERSON BELIEVES
NATIONAL ELECTIONS NOT IMMINENT; PAINTS UPBEAT PICTURE OF
INVESTMENT, ECONOMY

Classified By: Ambassador Brenda L. Johnson, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

Summary
-------

1.(C) The possibility of national elections in February is
receding, in the estimate of former Prime Minister P.J.
Patterson; his successor Portia Simpson Miller is more likely
to wait to call them later in the year. In a private meeting
with Ambassador, Patterson outlined his extensive investment
consulting work and conveyed a generally upbeat assessment of
Jamaica's economic prospects. End Summary.

2.(U) Ambassador (accompanied by Poloff) paid a courtesy
call on former Prime Minister (PM) P.J. Patterson in his
expansive office in the Life of Jamaica Building in downtown
Kingston on the morning of January 25. Now retired from
active politics, Patterson was succeeded as PM and Leader of
the ruling People's National Party (PNP) by Portia Simpson
Miller (PSM) in March, 2006. These days primarily an
investment and financial consultant, he nevertheless remains
closely connected with the inner circles of the PNP, among
whose supporters he is a venerated senior figure. He
exchanged views on a range of political and economic
questions.

Buoyant Investment Climate


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



3.(SBU) In response to Ambassador's inquiry, Patterson said
he had been involved in a variety of consulting work over the
last year, concentrating on regional and international rather
than domestic markets. While he stood ready to do "anything
Jamaica wants or needs," he was careful not to exert any
"undue influence." He sought to encourage every opportunity
for investment; much of his work was "pro bonum." He noted
that the U.S. was the largest investor in a number of key
areas in Jamaica, including expansion of the bauxite
industry, the financial community, information and
technology, and the transportation sector. His Government
had worked hard to benefit from the Container Security
Initiative (CSI), and Jamaica was grateful for it. Berthing
demand at Kingston's container terminal had proven greater
than anticipated, and operations were expanding rapidly. And
of course, tourism and the cruise ship industry were
thriving. Because of high fuel costs and environmental
concerns, cruise ship operators these days were increasingly
focusing on short voyages; he therefore believed Jamaica must
develop more attractions for cruise ship visitors. There
were possibilities for new cruise ship facilities in Port
Royal and Montego Bay.

4.(SBU) Patterson said he remained a keen proponent of the
Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), and was "seeking
to move to the next, more difficult step in regional
integration." He also had assisted the British Commonwealth
in establishing criteria for future membership, and recently
had worked on behalf of the UN in the Congo. The OAS had

invited him to deliver a lecture as part of its Distinguished
Lecture Series. The Ambassador complimented Patterson on his
recent article elucidating the game of cricket for the
uninitiated, and said the Discovery Channel's recent feature
on Jamaica, in which Patterson had been involved, had been
extraordinary.

New Stadium in Trelawny


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



5.(U) Patterson then noted that the new stadium in Trelawny
Parish had been intended not only for cricket, but rather as
a multi-purpose sports and entertainment facility. The
Government now had decided to invite corporate groups to bid
on leasing and managing the new stadium; he hoped it could be
made available for off-season training by sports teams. The
Ambassador offered to contact parties in the U.S. with
expertise in designing and managing such projects; Patterson
was appreciative.

National Elections


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



6.(C) The Ambassador then noted that, despite recent
widespread speculation that PSM would call national elections
for February, only yesterday in private conversation the
Under Secretary for Trade in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and Foreign Trade (MFAFT) Amb. Lorne McDonnough had assured
her this would not be the case. With characteristically
smooth charm, Patterson observed wryly that, since retiring


from active politics, he had "deliberately put myself in a
position to hear what others are saying," rather than saying
anything himself. Nevertheless, it seemed to him that "as
the days go by, the possibility of elections in February is
receding." He knew from experience that a PM had to "crank
up the party organization" before announcing elections,
rather than after; this he had not yet seen. As elections
could not be held during the Cricket World Cup (CWC) series
beginning in March, if PSM wanted them in February, as a
practical matter she would have to make the announcement
within the next two or three days; it seemed more likely she
would wait until after CWC.

7.(C) In response to Poloff's inquiry regarding the
agreement announced January 24 between the PNP and the
opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) to revive the
bipartisan committees of the parties and take other measures
to avoid violence in the run-up to elections, Patterson
observed that the PNP and JLP actually were only adopting and
reaffirming arrangements and decisions which he and
then-Opposition Leader Edward Seaga had put in place in the
run-up to the 2002 elections. He was "glad to see the new
candidates sign on," and also noted that the long-standing
Code of Conduct for elections remained in force. (Note:
Patterson did not offer any prediction as to whether the
level of violence during the upcoming elections would be
comparable to that experienced in 2002. End Note.)
JOHNSON