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Cablegate: Jamaica: Government Defeats No-Confidence Motion

VZCZCXYZ0013
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKG #2065 2912045
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 182045Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY KINGSTON
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 3774

C O N F I D E N T I A L KINGSTON 002065

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAR (RANDALL BUDDEN)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/17/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON KCOR JM
SUBJECT: JAMAICA: GOVERNMENT DEFEATS NO-CONFIDENCE MOTION

REF: KINGSTON 2020

Classified By: Charge d'affaires, a.i. James T. Heg for Reasons 1.4 (b)
and (d).

1. (U) On October 17, Parliament debated for eight hours a
no-confidence motion brought by Bruce Golding, leader of the
opposition Jamaica Labor Party (JLP), against the ruling
People's National Party (PNP), in response to the controversy
surrounding the USD 500K in political funding donated to the
PNP by Dutch oil trader Trafigura (reftel). The motion was
defeated, as expected, by a vote of 33 to 23, with Members of
Parliament (MPs) voting strictly along party lines.

2. (U) Golding opened the debate and stated that the
opposition believes that the Trafigura controversy is enough
to cause the country to loose confidence in PSM and her
government. Golding suggested that the USD 500K "gift" from
Trafigura was carried out in a clandestine and surreptitious
manner and that the entire affair was sleazy and incestuous.
Golding argued that respectable democracies hold their
governments accountable and respectable Parliaments secure
that accountability.

3. (U) Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller (PSM) spoke
during the debate; however, rather than addressing the issue
head on, she charged that the no-confidence motion had been
brought to deflect attention from a censure motion against
JLP MP Karl Samuda brought by the newly appointed Minister of
Information and Development, Donald Buchanan. Buchanan
replaced Colin Campbell as Information and Development
Minister last week after Campbell resigned due to the fall
out over the Trafigura scandal.

4. (C) On October 18, PolOff spoke to JLP Member of
Parliament James Robertson regarding the aftermath of the
no-confidence vote. Robertson stated that the PNP had
"weathered the storm," but that the invincibility of PSM has
cracked. Robertson also stated that he thought his party
should have focused their attack on Philip Paulwell, Minister
of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce, rather than on
PSM since there was no way that the "most popular prime
minister in Jamaican history was going down, but the PNP may
have given up Paulwell." According to Robertson, the
earliest that he predicts elections will be called is June
2007 after Cricket World Cup.

5. (C) Comment: No information has yet surfaced to directly
implicate PSM in the scandal. The JLP will certainly try to
keep the issue on the front-burner. It has knocked PSM's
march to a likely victory this fall in early elections off
stride. The Prime Minister now, baring any further
revelations, will likely choose to delay elections and allow
this scandal to blow over and be forgotten by Jamaican
voters, as so many have in the past. End Comment.
HEG

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