was announced through a press release dated August 12th 2010 from the Communications Unit of the Prime Minister. The release stated that the Cabinet earlier in that week discussed and approved The Interception of Communication Bill for introduction into the Parliament for the creation of a single legal framework within which the interception of communications on private and public networks would be responsibly authorised by a High Court Judge.
The Constituency#8 Representative was particularly concerned by the present state of affairs with regards to the technology of Communications Interception and whether the government has such equipment and technology already operational and in use.
“With the announcement of this proposed wiretapping legislation it begs the question whether the government is already currently indulging in such activities to monitor citizens of this country including political opponents, said MP Hamilton. “We have certainly seen over the last few months where many incidents have been exposed which involves the use of high-tech, interceptory type equipment in various clandestine activities of the Labour Party government. It is certainly not far-fetched to imagine that the government has already been indulged in this sort of activity and the legislation may just be a means to legalise it,” the first term MP Hamilton, opined.
Many citizens have been questioning the proposed bill and have proclaimed that the bill maybe a serious impingment and violation of the rights of citizens and also an invasion of privacy. The Labour government’s moral authority to properly implement and maintain such a legislation without abusing it has also been heavily questioned.
“I have been listening to my constituents, the people of St. Kitts-Nevis and the overwhelming majority shares in my concern over this proposed draft legislation,” said Hamilton. They all express concern not only of the legislation and the possible privacy rights implications but also the government’s moral authority to properly oversee such a legislation and not abuse it, Hamilton continued. “Frankly this labour governments track record when it comes to the privacy of citizens is not very good one as we can recall as far back as 1994 when the labour party circulated tapes of a conversation involving then Minister of Woman’s Affairs Constance Mitcham. This was before they even got into office. So one can only imagine what they are doing or are planning to do now that they are in office.”
Reference was made to the controversial Patriot Act passed by President George Bush amidst much opposition by scores of civil rights organizations including the ACLU which saw the legislation as a violation of the constitutional rights and an invasion of privacy of American citizens.
Hamilton said “Indeed, I am reminded of the controversial Patriot Act passed by President George Bush. I am very deeply disturbed at what appears to me to be our government’s hell-bent intention to rummage through the private affairs of citizens of this country in what appears to be an effort to not only monitor the activities of persons through the interception of their communications but also to control persons through the monitoring of their personal day to day activities. In the hands of any government such as the Denzil Douglas led administration this type of Bill is a very slippery slope, as any right-thinking citizen would agree.”
The Interception of Communication Bill is setting the stage for a new and comprehensive regime of interception of communications or eaves-dropping and wiretapping of mobile phones, fixed line phones, cell phones, telegraphs, internet wireless networks and devices, mailing systems including parcels and couriers, and other means of communication.