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Nottage Dismisses Fnm Deputy Spying Concerns As 'Foolish'

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Dr Bernard Nottage

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

NATIONAL Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage has branded as “foolish” FNM deputy leader Loretta Butler-Turner’s assertions that the government is spying on Bahamians.

While addressing scores of FNMs on Tuesday during a party rally, Mrs Butler-Turner insisted that the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) seemed to be a threat to the Bahamas’ democracy and independence.

She told supporters that the agency appeared to have no legal standing but seemed to be engaged in domestic spying on the Bahamian people. She made the claims in view of the fact that there has been no legislation brought to the House of Assembly to set up the agency.

But as reporters questioned Dr Nottage yesterday, he denied that the government was monitoring the public’s emails, phone calls and text messages.

When told that the basis of Mrs Butler-Turner’s comments was the Christie administration’s failure to bring legislation to the House for the NIA, Dr Nottage became defensive. It was then said by The Tribune that Bahamians had no idea of what was happening with the agency.

“How does she know that? What does she mean? What you mean nobody knows what’s going on with it? I have an idea of what’s going on. But I don’t care to deal with that now. I am not checking anybody’s private business. We are after criminals,” Dr Nottage replied.

Later in the afternoon session of the House of Assembly, Dr Nottage said he was well aware of what was going in the Ministry of National Security.

“They make these assertions in order to attract a crowd. They are telling lies and it is not becoming of a Member of Parliament, nor is it becoming of a deputy leader.”

Mrs Butler-Turner demanded that the Speaker of the House Dr Kendal Major retract the comments using the word “lies”. But Dr Nottage insisted that “lies are being told about me.”

During the rally, Mrs Butler-Turner said: “What we may now have is a possible illegal agency engaging in spying on the Bahamian people, possibly listening to our telephone calls, reading our texts and emails, gathering information on God knows who and for God knows what.

“What is the legal standing of this domestic spy agency and network? If it has no legal standing, how is it being funded? What exactly is the budgetary authority for this agency?”

Mrs Butler-Turner said that attached to the agency were several uniformed branches, including the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF), the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF), and both the Customs and Immigration departments.

Former RBDF commodore Clifford “Butch” Scavella heads the NIA. She further questioned the type of information being collected.

Comments

lionfish 6 years, 3 months ago

He says everything is 'foolish.'

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 3 months ago

...and he never takes responsibility. When it comes to light that they are spying on people ...and they are...he will claim to not have anything to do with the day to day running, not his fault.

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DillyTree 6 years, 3 months ago

I think LBT is giving the PLP government way too much credit. These morons can't even submit a bill to the house without it being full of grammatical errors and mis-spellings, let alone run a spy network.

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 3 months ago

It's not a "professional" spy network...it's a bunch of nosey mean spirited people eavesdropping on political enemies.

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 3 months ago

BTC employees have been tapping/listening in on phone conversations for YEARS, how they do it , I have no idea, they do it. A change in ownership is not going to change culture in one day. I recently had someone ask for my number. When I told them I wasn't giving it to them they told me they could find out anyway, all they had to do was make a phone call to a relative. No that's not the exact same thing, but it's all "culture". Using the information for side pay or to help a political affiliate is a finger tip away.

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 3 months ago

Fine. Yes I know, I don't really care what colour shirt they have on. A change in government might if we don't elect one crammed with people who've changed shirts from red and yellow to green just so they get elected. Get rid of these scummy hedonistic thieving politicians from all sides

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FattCatt 6 years, 3 months ago

Agreed.http://s04.flagcounter.com/count//kfo..." height="1" width="1" />

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asiseeit 6 years, 3 months ago

I WILL BET ANYBODY A MILLION DOLLARS THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF THE BAHAMAS SPY'S ON BAHAMIANS! If you are a fool bet me. I know they know who I am but I just do not care, my country means more than just me! I will tell it like it is no matter what!

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sheeprunner12 6 years, 3 months ago

Ditto.......................... what is "privacy" in the post Snowden era???????

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 3 months ago

Pot-a-to, po-tat-to, generalcrazy. The point is private information was extracted outside of normal procedure and used in a manner not intended when it was originally collected, I call that "someone" spying. Maybe that's not the correct technical term

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banker 6 years, 3 months ago

they would outsource it to a foreign company

You hit the nail on the head. They have a nominal Bahamian on staff who is the front man and does nothing and all the work is done by foreigners. I was surprised to see the qualifications of the guys doing the work. Pretty high up there and all from afar. If it isn't the government, it's somebody, but they are here and they are spying.

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 3 months ago

Yeah they are, they know how we voted too. They're not supposed to, that's private as well

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BahamianAway 6 years, 3 months ago

As usual Bahamians are once again given a trail of breadcrumbs that lead nowhere and off they go chasing the wild goose.

Does anyone seriously think that the government of The Bahamas is illegally spying on anyone? I would like to think that if the government had access to that kind of technology and the ability to successfully operate it they would use it to better the nation. Think of how many drug deals, murders, and other illegal activities they could possibly stop if said technology existed in The Bahamas.

But then again when as any government ever done anything to benefit Bahamians. For all we know they are deliberately contributing to the crime. (just playing devil's advocate).

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misunderstoodyoungbahamian 6 years, 3 months ago

I personally would have to agree with everyone who feels as though they "could" be spying on us...shame on those of you who do not give your fellow Bahamians credit for having the technological no how required to accomplish such a small task... for example... it is quite easy to track anyone's whereabouts nowadays that has a smart phone (which most of us do) by accessing their imei code from any third party app that we are so eager to download and utilize on a daily basis such as viber, whatsapp, or twitter to name a few.. and once acquired it doesn't take a M.I.T specialist to to intercept messages sent across such narrow frequency bands as the ones provided by our "awesome" service provider... and if all else fails the platform currently being utilized by our cellular service provider is not that hard to access contrary to what some may believe...now with all that being said.. that is not to say that they are definitely spying on the Bahamian public... but i would hope that it puts the notion to bed that Bahamians can not do it... if you are still skeptical about it ... all i need is 7 magical digits to find out where you will be spending happy hour and i can explain further over a cold one lol.

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BahamianAway 6 years, 3 months ago

I think I agree with you...they can barely track known criminals. The Bahamas government does not have access to that type of technology. Furthermore if they did I think they would have already used it as a political ploy.

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