It wasn’t that long ago, that Bahamians were up in arms because the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States had a system activated that allowed for the recording of all cellphone calls taking place in The Bahamas.
This was back in 2014. Our government asked for an explanation from the United States. The situation was that serious.
This same Bahamian central administration now wants to bring an “Interception of Communications Bill” to the House of Assembly. The Bill is to be tabled and the government certainly has the numbers for passage.
Indeed, it could become law that the Commissioner of Police, and get this, he or “a person on his behalf” could obtain a Supreme Court warrant to open up the communications links (telecommunications operators, internet providers and postal services) of every Bahamian, if deemed necessary.
This is a wide territory of private invasion.
It is yet another indication, ironically, of the lack of communications skills possessed by Prime Minister Christie and his administrative colleagues. They don’t seem to understand that when something of this magnitude is being considered, it is imperative that the general public is given a thorough understanding of every single facet of the proposed law.
On the surface, no Bahamian would likely feel comfortable being subjected to the kind of search comprehensive private the “Interception of Communications Bill” would make legal. It brings to mind a police state, whereby the citizens can have no secrets from the central administration.
That’s not democracy.
This interest on the part of the government should have been tossed out for the public to digest long before now. It seems that it is upon us so suddenly it does indeed look like something clandestine.
Our Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell, on behalf of the government and the country, in 2014 reportedly confirmed reaching out to the U.S. Government and subsequently, disclosed the intention to “launch an inquiry” into the surveillance method.
How trustful can Bahamians be of the proposed bill?
Maybe the full explanations of the government, in particular, regarding serious crime and security threats, will suffice for Bahamians. A lot more communications with the Bahamian people are indeed necessary, however.
Mitchell is controversial, but believable. He should be the one making this pitch for the government, to the Bahamian people.
Published Wednesday, February 15, 2017