Right and I was using this through the mcpani tool which just calls it. I think the issues were less with the API call (which doesn't do too much) and more with the tools that use the calls as well as some of the fine details.
The issue I had was not having to mirror CPAN, which seemed to be part and parcel of how the tools operated and every tutorial on the subject. I figured out how to get around this (note my prev response in this thread).
There is a remaining issue which is cpanp needs the version number to do the install and it isn't clear why this is.