Categorized | National News


The Minnis administration yesterday opened debate on proposed legislation for its own version of what  is now being rebranded the National Crime Intelligence Agency(NCIA),  having dismantled the so called secret National Intelligence Agency upon taking office. 

The agency is  a centrally located intelligence network with vast new powers. 

National Security Minister Marvin Dames said, “essentially, the NCIA will be the main assessment agency, as it will play a wider role in gathering, analyzing, coordinating, disseminating and reflecting the complex overlap of both domestic and international security issues.

“This new development in national security is a necessary change that has been long contemplated and is arguably overdue,” he said. 

As drafted, the bill has three purposes – a focus on coordinating intelligence gathering and joint strategy planning among law enforcement heads, the second to collect information and intelligence with respect to activities that may be suspected of being a threat and coordinate effective networking between regional and international departments.

This  was  proposed  in the face of the constant threat of drugs and guns. 

Minister Dames said, “the purpose of this Bill is not to intrude in the lives of law abiding citizens. Such interferences in the lives of law abiding citizens would not be justifiable and it is not the intended purpose of this Agency.”

He added, “the unfounded ideas as they are, must be addressed, so that the Bahamian people have a full and clear understanding on the purpose and need for this Agency. I must reiterate the need to enhance national security.”

In terms of oversight and control, the agency will be void of political interference. 

Arguing for the Progressive Liberal Party, Englerston MP Glenys Hanna-Martin charged that despite its implications and the request for the bill to be delayed – the government sought no real and actual consultation on the bill, begging the question that the government is seeking to bully its way through the house with this serious piece of legislation.

She said, “ In this bill there are instances of absolute control of the provisions of the powers and intrusions by the Prime Minister, and shows an incredible lack of accountability in this Bill.

“The proposed agency lacks independence and autonomy and is subject to political control. By its appointments and  directions,  it is therefore amenable to abuses and violations of the fundamental rights and freedoms of which I spoke, and come become a political tool.”, she added. 

In its present form – the bill,  she said,  will not get the official opposition’s support. 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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