Minister of National Security Dr Bernard Nottage.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
NATIONAL Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage said Cabinet is expected to review the long-awaited National Intelligence Agency legislation next week.
He told The Tribune more than a year ago that he would bring the legislation to Parliament “soon,” but he never did.
Recently he revealed that the draft copy of the legislation had been resting on his desk even as the agency operated without legal authority.
“I’m taking a paper to Cabinet on NIA next week and when Cabinet has approved it we will table it in Parliament for public dissemination and for people to look at it and we will hear what they have to say and we will then determine when we will debate it,” he said yesterday.
The NIA is intended to be an intelligence gathering hub where law enforcement agencies would combine their efforts to pinpoint and address threats to the country’s national security. It was launched by the Progressive Liberal Party shortly after the 2012 general election.
Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner has in the past accused the government of “running a spy agency with no clear legal footing and no accountability.”
The government has since denied that the NIA is spying on civilians.
In May 2014, Free National Movement Leader Dr Hubert Minnis called on the government to shut down the NIA.
“They are working outside the law,” Dr Minnis said at the time. “They should not have started outside of the law. They should now be closed. It should be shut down until the laws and framework are in place to govern it.”
In December 2014, Dr Nottage told the media that the government had to postpone tabling the NIA legislation because the Office of the Attorney General had requested to review it.
He said at the time that he intended to have the legislation tabled before Parliament broke for the holidays in 2014.