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Prime Minister ‘Hasn’T Indicated Regret’ Over Criticism Of Christie Administration’S Bill

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Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has given no indication he regrets his criticism of the Christie Administration’s Interception of the Communications Bill despite its likeness to the one his administration tabled in Parliament several weeks ago, according to press secretary Anthony Newbold yesterday.

Critics have accused the administration of hypocrisy in seeking to pass a Bill it staunchly opposed just several months ago.

Asked yesterday if Dr Minnis accepts the hypocrisy charge from critics, Mr Newbold said: “The Prime Minister always makes decisions based on the information he has available to him. He hasn’t indicated to me any regret about any statements. I know this government intends to have wide public consultations with all the bills that are coming.”

The Interception of Communication Bill has not been altered much from the Christie Administration’s version of the legislation and critics of the new version have not specified what provisions in it erodes protections that existed in the original Bill.

In February, Dr Minnis said of the Bill: “This piece of legislation, which has been rushed and rammed down the throats of the Bahamian people, should not be allowed to stand. It is a breach of the privacy of the public at large, and it is our fear that this Bill has more to do with blocking any opposition to this corrupt government, than being a useful crime fighting tool.”

Opposition leader Philip “Brave” Davis has said the new Bill gives too much power to politicians.

Part VI of the new Bill, about listening devices, was imported from the Listening Devices Act. That law would be repealed if the Interception of Communication Bill passes through Parliament.

That section gives the minister responsible for national security the power to authorize anyone to use a listening device for a period not exceeding 30 days.

It also allows the commissioner of police, after consultation with the attorney general, to authorize police to use a listening device for a period not exceeding 14 days.

Yesterday, Mr Newbold said: “Whatever bills that are gong to be brought, those bills already laid, wide public consultation will take place. People will get to weigh in and everybody’s view will be considered and the best bill possible will be that bill that will end up being passed into law for the Bahamian people.

“Obviously the government is not going to say this is the bill and we are going to pass this. That’s not going to happen.

“The government understands that it has a responsibility to the people especially in light of all those statements that were made to ensure that people participate in the crafting and eventual passing of laws,” he added.

Comments

TalRussell 2 years, 4 months ago

Comrades! Which one is the human ventriloquist with his hand up the other....ACE or the PM?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 4 months ago

It is becoming increasingly clear that Minnis will say and do anything before he has the facts and then do likewise notwithstanding what the facts may be once he has them. The Spy Bill is perhaps the most dangerous piece of legislation ever tabled in parliament as regards its outright assault on certain of our most basic constitutional rights. As Davis points out, the Minnis-led FNM government has indeed amended the PLP's version of the Spy Bill in a way that even the corrupt Christie-led PLP government did not dare to do. The AG, Carl Bethel, should be severely chastised for allowing Part VI of the FNM-amended Spy Bill to read as it now does.

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Reality_Check 2 years, 4 months ago

Repost: Can you just imagine for one moment how such a spy statute would have been used by the corrupt Christie-led PLP government???!!!! Crooked Christie and his evil wicked witch of an attorney general (Allyson Maynard-gibson) would have used the dangerous spying powers to serve their own very corrupt greedy purposes and at the same time crush the voices of all opposition to them, including the free-press. The change of government on May 10, 2017 would never have occurred and most of us who heavily criticized the PLP (including many bloggers to this website) would have probably faced trumped up bogus charges of one kind or another before being carted off to prison. "No!" we cannot afford for any government to ever have such dangerous and intrusive powers over us. It would result in the end of our constitutional rights and democracy no matter what the distinguished lawyers and politicians in our country may tell us. That's the harsh reality! The threats to our society are not such that we should be willing to allow our government to listen in to our most private conversations and surveil all our other communications (internet and otherwise). Simply put, the dangers of doing so far outweigh any possible benefits! If there is one matter that warrants a national referendum, it would be this proposed spy statute as it would definitely be challenged on many legal fronts eventually triggering the need for the proposal of certain undesirable amendments to our existing constitution. With this in mind, a national referendum should be held first as opposed to the Minnis-led FNM government trying to ram the proposed spy statute down our throats after informal public commentary on it. Do the right thing Minnis - call for a national referendum (not a public survey) on this most important matter!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 4 months ago

Repost - I read the entire 'spy' bill and had all I could do to contain my many grave concerns while doing so. Succinctly put, such a statute is most ill-suited for our country no matter what the authorities in the more developed countries may have to say about our need for it. We do not need this spy bill to fight the type of crime that exists in our country. Agencies of developed countries would have us believe we need it to help fight global terrorism. Well that's nothing but hogwash. The developed countries are the targets of terrorism and they have both the need and resources necessary to fund the spying activities of highly secretive national security agencies. That's not the case for our small financially strapped country. But perhaps more importantly, any such a spy statute would be much too prone to abuse by any government of the Bahamas and a serious threat to our constitutional rights and democracy.

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