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Parliament to Discuss Phone Tapping Issue


If people’s telephone calls are being monitored in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, it is happening without the approval or complicity of the government. {{more}}

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves made the government’s position known last Tuesday. He was responding to the Phone Tapping issue, highlighted in the March 10, 2006 edition of the Searchlight newspaper.

Former National Security Minister Sir Vincent Beache, now consultant in the Prime Minister’s Office, alluded to phone tapping at the launching of electronic certificates two weeks ago.

Sir Vincent, a former Parliamentary representative for South Windward, hinted that the introduction of Intercept Legislation was necessary in order to help with the prevention of criminal activity.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves declared: “This government has not approved or been involved in any wire tapping.”

Dr. Gonsalves adopted a defensive posture and added: “If it (Phone tapping) is happening, it is happening without the knowledge of the government.”

Dr. Gonsalves became this country’s Prime Minister following the March 28, 2001 general elections. He expressed caution about the phone tapping issue and stated: “I don’t know if anybody is tapping my phone.”

He alluded to a Caricom “proposal”, which he indicated “has the support of the United States, and British governments to have wire tapping legislation.”

“I don’t want to go that way unless we have a consensus in the Parliament,” the Prime Minister outlined.

The question of Phone Tapping will be brought more prominently into the public domain when the House of Assembly meets Thursday March 30.

The opposition New Democratic Party will be asking questions about the matter. This was disclosed by the party’s Public Relations Officer Vynette Frederick.

She outlined that “specific questions” were being compiled. Judging from Frederick’s response, the government cannot count on any opposition support on the matter. “We are positive that it is a question of national security,” Frederick said.

The PRO added that the matter of phone tapping was “something that we cannot support.”