Cablegate: Conference On the Caribbean - Moving Ahead On

DE RUEHC #6663/01 2531801
O 101747Z SEP 07




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) This is the first in a series of periodic updates
for posts describing progress on June initiatives and
deliverables of the 2007 Conference on the Caribbean. It also
requests posts to engage with host governments to encourage
effective follow-through on the part of relevant host
government agencies regarding these initiatives (see para
13). Coordination is underway in Washington on initiatives to
advance economic growth, invest in people, and improve
security as outlined in the joint statement of the President
and CARICOM heads of government. The success of these
initiatives requires posts' continued support in
communicating our goals and next steps with CARICOM members
and officials. End Summary.


2. (SBU) Before the Conference, WHA and the U.S. Trade
Development Agency (USTDA), in coordination with Customs and
Border Protection (CBP), successfully developed an action
plan for the U.S.-CARICOM Customs Partnership. USTDA is
working with implementing partners (e.g., CBP) to further
develop training programs and capacity building assistance to
strengthen and modernize CARICOM members' customs procedures
and policies. In coordination with State, USTDA plans to
conduct a definitional mission in the region in the Fall of
2007, to further this joint Customs project.

3. (SBU) The USG remains engaged in finalizing an updated
Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with CARICOM.
CARICOM first requested updating our existing 1991 TIFA at
the Trade and Investment Council in October 2006. USTR
suggested edits to this agreement and awaits CARICOM's
response. USTR has also expressed interest in another TIC
meeting, but wants a substantive agenda with CARICOM before
setting a date. In June, USTR received official notification
from the CARICOM Secretariat that ASYG Irwin LaRoque would be
their new interlocutor on trade issues. Heretofore, the
Director General of the Caribbean Regional Negotiating
Machinery (currently Richard Bernal), had been the primary
point of contact for such issues.

4. (SBU) State continues to work with the Government of
Brazil, the InterAmerican Development Bank, and the OAS on a
biofuels partnership program. The President announced Haiti,
St. Kitts and Nevis, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador
as target countries. USG and Brazilian officials traveled
with a senior OAS delegation to St. Kitts, Aug. 28-29, to
present the OAS' feasibility study to the government and seek
support to advance biofuel cooperation there. In Haiti, the
Dominican Republic and El Salvador, USTDA has hired Winrock
International as technical consultants who will travel to
these three countries in September to begin feasibility
work.Primary State POCs on this are Matt McManus (EEB/ESC),
Brenda Haendler (EEB/ESC/IEC) and Faith Corneille (WHA/EPSC).

5. (U) At the June Conference on the Caribbean, the
Secretary reiterated her interest in negotiating a Science

and Technology Agreement with CARICOM by the end of calendar
year 2008. WHA/CAR and OES are responsible for coordination


6. (SBU) WHA/CAR is working with WHA/PPC, PRM, and the
International Organization for Migration (IOM) to develop a
returnee reintegration pilot program for CARICOM. We expect
IOM to submit a grant proposal in early September, thereby
allowing us to obligate funds before the end of the fiscal
year. The current plan is to launch this project in Jamaica
and then expand it to Guyana and the Bahamas; the CARICOM
countries that receive the most deportees from the United
States. The program will aim to help returning citizens
reintegrate into their home countries and strengthen each
target country's capacity to provide such services as
referrals, information on relevant laws, temporary housing,
health care, job/skills training, and microcredits.

STATE 00126663 002 OF 002

7. (SBU) USAID will expand the Caribbean Centers for
Excellence in Teacher Training (C-CETT), starting in 2008.
Plans for the expansion remain preliminary, but the project
will either focus on reaching more teachers or on expanding
operations beyond those countries currently benefiting from
the program. USAID will implement this through the Jamaica
mission. (Note: The C-CETT is based in Jamaica, and Kingston
is the only USAID mission in the English-speaking Caribbean
so involved in education, and has been since 2002. End Note)

8. (SBU) USAID will also fund the creation of a dedicated
Caribbean ENTRA 21 program in partnership with the
International Youth Foundation (IYF). IYF relies on both
public and private partners to fund and implement this 21st
century job-skills training program aimed at high-tech and
labor-market-needs based employment. USAID will coordinate
with IYF for 2008 implementation.


9. (SBU) Working through the OAS/CICTE process, we provided
CARICOM members with port, tourism, and infrastructure
security training in advance of the 2007 Cricket World Cup.
We will provide additional funding to CICTE to build upon the
CWC assistance to:(1) enhance member states' capacities in
access controls to port facilities, cargo security, customs
and immigration performance and procedures, including police
and guard procedures; (2) improve the ability of target
countries' law enforcement personnel to detect fraudulent
travel and identity documents, as well as enhance
communication and institutional links between customs and
border security agencies in order to promote cooperation and
collaboration in the control and fight against document
fraud; and (3) build the capacity of CARICOM states to
improve and standardize security controls in airports to
comply with ICAO standards. CICTE will work with governments
directly in coordination with USOAS, and is already putting
together a DHS/DOE assessment of energy systems security in
Trinidad and Tobago.

10. (SBU) DHS remains fully committed to completing and
perhaps expanding APIS. Originally developed for Cricket
World Cup, APIS proved a mutually beneficial border security
tool. APIS also enjoys senior support from the USG and
CARICOM. DHS hopes to send an audit team to Bridgetown in
September and is seeking a telcon with Bajan Attorney General
Marshall regarding the still un-negotiated Operational

11. (SBU) Officials from TSA proposed expanding the Federal
Air Marshals program to CARICOM earlier in 2007. A
successfully negotiated MOU with interested countries would
allow TSA to provide training on developing a similar program
in the region, in addition to interim U.S. FAMS on board
intraregional flights. State will renew coordination with
TSA to determine next steps.


12. (SBU) State will support NOAA's expanded Caribbean
disaster preparedness efforts, including development of a
regional all-hazards warning system and consortium building
on current information and best-practices sharing. NOAA
awaits a response from CDERA (Caribbean Disaster Emergency
Response Agency) on this concept, but NOAA has met with the
CARICOM ambassadors in Washington as a precursor to the
Conference. (Implementation is expected to begin in 2008.)


13. (SBU) While closing the Conference on the Caribbean,
Secretary Rice acknowledged CARICOM's commitment to partner

with the United States on a wide array of mutually important
areas. To follow through on the commitments made by the
President and Secretary to Caribbean counterparts at that
gathering, posts are requested to engage with their CARICOM
and host nation interlocutors by reiterating our commitment
to this process and encouraging prompt, effective
follow-through from pertinent ministries/offices on the
above-mentioned initiatives. WHA/CAR will spearhead overall
coordination and commits to sending monthly updates to ensure
proper coordination with posts.

© Scoop Media

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