Categorized | National News

‘No’ to GBRHA’s Lead on ‘Spy Bill’

The government has declined the Grand Bahama Human Rights Authority’s (GBHRA) suggestion for the organization to take the lead on the proposed Interception of Communications Bill.


In yesterday’s weekly press briefing, Press Secretary Anthony Newbold said the government will take the lead as far as consultation in regards to the proposed legislation.


“As far as the Interception of Communications Bill and the Grand Bahama Human Rights Authority in letting them take the lead on it the answer is no,” Mr. Newbold said.


“The government will not abdicate it’s responsibility certainly in something as serious as that.


“There will be widespread consultation and public consultation, but the government is going to take the lead on that and that’s how its going to go.”

In February, Fred Smith, QC, GBHRA president, warned that in its current form, The Bahamas’ proposed Interception of Communications Bill 2017 (known locally as ‘The Spy Bill’) will violate every citizen’s constitutionally protected right to privacy and strike a mortal blow to civil liberties in general.

While accepting that effective law enforcement requires modern surveillance capacities, Mr. Smith noted that in its current form, the bill is extreme, draconian and will lead to a situation in which “nobody’s intimate life will be free from scrutiny anymore.”

He said in order to strike a balance between law enforcement and civil liberties, there must be “deliberate consultation, thought … proper time for people to consider it, to look at what legislation has been proposed in other jurisdictions, how its working in other countries, to what extent it has or has not been abused.”


He called on the state to desist from its current effort to rush the bill through parliament without public consultation or information sharing.

Smith warned that there is great potential for abuse of this law – particularly in light of the recent illegal attacks by the current regime on civil society actors.

Last year, former Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald was fined $150,000 by the Supreme Court of The Bahamas for disclosing the private correspondence and financial information of environmental advocates Save The Bays (STB) in an effort to denounce the group as a clandestine political organization seeking to “destabilize the government.”


Written by Jones Bahamas

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