Viewing cable 08BRIDGETOWN141
Title: COMMERCIAL OUTREACH TRIP TO ST KITTS, PART TWO

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
08BRIDGETOWN1412008-03-04 21:33:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Bridgetown
VZCZCXYZ2206
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHWN #0141/01 0642133
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 042133Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6182
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
UNCLAS BRIDGETOWN 000141 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EB/CBA - DENNIS WINSTEAD, 
COMMERCE FOR FSC SANTO DOMINGO 
 
E.O. 12958:  N/A 
TAGS: AMCHAM ETRD EINV PREL SC XL
SUBJECT:  COMMERCIAL OUTREACH TRIP TO ST KITTS, PART TWO 
 
Ref:  A) Bridgetown 95, 
         B) Bridgetown 49, 
 
¶1. (U) Summary:  Poloffs conducted a week-long commercial outreach 
trip to St Kitts during diplmatic week February 18 to 22.  Poloffs 
met with lcal business leaders, government finance and invesment 
officers, and hosted two receptions for thelocal American business 
community, while promotig increased engagement among the private 
sector irms in St Kitts and laying the foundation for the 
development of a possible AmCham branch office.  nd summary. 
 
NEW SKIPA AGENCY BULLISH ON LOCAL BUSINESS INVESTMENT 
 
¶2. (U) Mrs. Shawna Lake, who heads the recently established St. 
Kitts Investment Promotion Authority (SKIPA), was bullish on 
investment opportunities on the islands. SKIPA, established in 
December, 2007 with the assistance of USAID, facilitates investment 
by locals and foreigners alike by serving as a "one stop shop" for 
all inbound investment, coordinating the investment procedures for 
St. Kitts and Nevis.  At the time of the meeting, about 16 
interested parties had approached SKIPA for advice on investment: 
mostly European, but also some locals and one U.S. Company. Lake 
welcomed the idea of possibly forming an AmCham in St Kitts and 
promised to provide Poloffs with information on American investment 
in St Kitts and Nevis. 
 
MEETING WITH EASTERN CARIBBEAN CENTRAL BANK 
 
¶3. (U)  Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, Sir K. 
Dwight Venner, and Managing Director Mrs. Jennifer Nero spoke about 
the activities of the ECCB, which is similar to the Federal Reserve, 
with additional responsibility for/jurisdiction over the banking 
system of its member states. The ECCB is headquartered in St. Kitts 
with offices in each of its member states and has a total of 250 
employees. Sir Dwight indicated that he would like to see more 
US-based speakers come to the Eastern Caribbean region, suggested 
that this could be a great marketing tool for the AmCham as speakers 
come out to drive the message of entrepreneurship. 
 
¶4.  (U) Sir Dwight pointed out that the private sector in the OECS 
is a little behind Barbados. He noted that partnerships were 
occurring in non-traditional sectors of the economy, but at the same 
time lamented that there is a dearth of information verification and 
tabulation of accurate statistics. He noted that there is a program 
with the International Monetary Fund to raise the quality of 
statistics in the region, with the possibility of a regional 
statistics bureau. He also said that the ECCB is looking into 
tabulation of business statistics. 
 
MEETING WITH MINISTRY OF HOUSING, AGRICULTURE & FISHERIES 
 
¶5. (U) Mrs. Hermia Morton-Anthony, Permanent Secretary (PS) in the 
Ministry of Housing, Agriculture and Fisheries, expressed interest 
in professional training programs run by the USG, which they felt 
would assist them in the development of agribusiness units in the 
Federation. They also expressed interest in training from FAS to 
help them export agro-processing products to the US.  Ministry 
officials highlighted their partnership with the US Peace Corps 
through a workshop on meat preparation as well as other programs 
with the UNDP and IICA. The PS noted that while programs dealing 
with Youth at Risk are coordinated by the Ministry of Education, the 
Ministry of Agriculture administered "Project Strong" which provided 
social and vocational skills as well as internships at the 
Ministry. 
 
MEETING WITH ST KITTS TOURISM OFFICIALS AND TOURISM ASSOCIATION 
 
¶7.  (U) St. Kitts and Nevis Government Tourism officials highlighted 
the development of eco-tourism and sports tourism opportunities and 
promotion of major cultural events in the US market. They added that 
they would appreciate getting assistance in tracking consumer trends 
in good and services as well as data collection and statistics.  The 
president of the St Kitts Tourism Association, meanwhile, boasted a 
membership of 17 hotels and 60 allied members. He added that the 
Association will shortly undertake a membership drive to include 
guesthouses and smaller accommodation spots. The Association is also 
in a process of rejuvenation and restructuring. They are looking to 
expand their portfolio into non-traditional areas such as hotel 
marketing: something that has been largely ignored by the industry. 
He lamented that while US arrivals had increased; UK/European and 
Caribbean arrivals were down. He pointed out that the over-pricing 
of LIAT was at the centre in the decrease in arrivals from the 
region and he has been in contact with LIAT about the issue. He 
added that LIAT CEO, Mark Darby said that the region has to get used 
to high LIAT prices. He said that there are some small inter-island 
flights between the Federation, St. Maarten and Antigua but added 
that there was a need for increased capacity on these flights. 
MEETING WITH ST. KITTS AND NEVIS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 
¶10. (U) Mrs. Wendy Phipps, president of the local chamber of 
commerce, highlighted the work of the Chamber, noting that the 
Chamber had about 140 members; with 60% categorized as SMEs. She 
added that the Chamber was also the Employers' representative in the 
Federation. She pointed out that the Federation hosted around 750 
businesses; with this number fluctuating. Mrs. Phipps said that the 
Chamber welcomed special technical assistance on certain projects 
for its members, particularly in the area of manufacturing. The 
Chamber CEO also added that the Chamber hoped that there will be 
movement on the Caribbean Partners Initiative project to improve 
exchange of techniques and labor opportunities. 
 
(U) Comment:  This was a very successful trip as poloffs laid the 
ground work for future commercial outreach efforts, through meetings 
with key government officials involved in investment promotion as 
well as meetings with the local chambers of commerce.  All of our 
interlocutors welcomed increased trade and investment, and were 
optimistic about the future economic prospects of St Kitts and 
Nevis.  They also welcomed the possible establishment of a St Kitts 
and Nevis AmCham branch. 
 
Ourisman