Sir Vincent: Some Telephones Were in fact Tapped
Former Minister of Government, Sir Vincent Beache has hinted that laws may soon be introduced to make telephone tapping legal here.
Sir Vincent, who is now a consultant in the Prime Ministerâs office, was speaking at the commissioning of electronic certificates last Monday, which means that persons can now obtain birth, marriage and death certificates electronically.
The ceremony was held at the House of Assembly in Kingstown.
Sir Vincent was high in praise for the new security measures which the development provides. But he used the occasion to press for measures to ensure safety within the wider society.
One way Sir Vincent believes that security can be enhanced is by making it legal for the Police to listen in to conversations on telephone.
Sir Vincent pointed to worldwide trends, which he declared criminals were taking advantage of. He cited, for example, that at times, goods stolen in St. Vincent and the Grenadines often ended up in other territories, owing to the sophisticated network of criminal organisations.
The retired politician expressed pleasure with the coming on stream of the electronic certificates. He was of the view that it would make it more difficult for persons to falsify documents relating to their identity.
He alluded to passport tampering, the frequency of which the introduction of machine-readable passports should help to reduce.
Sir Vincent noted that a number of persons were applying for Vincentian passports using birth certificates of Vincentians. In many cases, the applicants were not Vincentian by birth.
Sir Vincent said the time may be ripe for persons applying for birth certificates to have someone verify their identity.
The implementation of the electronic certificates is a culmination of a five-year exercise, supported by the Organization of American Sates (OAS).
Sir Vincent lauded the OAS for their commitment and commended them on a successful Drug Rehabilitation Programme, which they have carried out at the nationâs lone correctional institution.
Sir Vincent lamented that most of the criminal activity in the country was drug related. It was in that regard that he made his suggestion on Intercept legislation (phone tapping legislation).
He acknowledged that such measures would raise Human Rights questions. But he argued that âunless we have advanced information,â criminals might be keeping a step ahead of the law enforcement agencies.
Sir Vincent stated that âsome telephones were in fact tapped.â
â(It is) Better if it is done legally,â the Consultant added.