Members of parliament Wednesday afternoon passed the Interception of Communications Bill (ICB) 2017.
The controversial ‘spy bill’s’ approval however, was not met without concerns expressed by opposition members about notable changes to the bill before it was passed.
Among concerns levied was the inclusion of a yet-to-be passed legislation for a National Intelligence Agency.
Leader of the Opposition Philip Davis also highlighted the fact that Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, once very opposed to the piece of legislation, was now visibly quiet during it’s passing.
Last month, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames defended the government’s decision in keeping the ICB, and promised there will be no allowance for personal agendas of the bill.
He said, “This bill provides for the accountability, transparency and a paper trail.”
“There are absolutely no provisions in this bill for personal agendas. One cannot act outside of the law to go after political adversaries, spouses, sweethearts, or anyone else as a matter of fact, without there being consequences.
“If the description of spying was ever applicable, it was for what the previous administration tabled.”
Davis, however, argued that the new ‘Minnis administration bill’, goes against the intent of the original bill that was tabled by the former Christie administration, which he said, would put the Supreme Court in charge of authorizing interceptions.
“Let me remind you, the ‘We March’ leader Renard Henfield said, if they pass this bill, ‘We won’t ever be able to organize another march or protest.’,” Davis recalled.
Attorney General Carl Bethel compared the two bills, calling the earlier bill an application to “any offence” including minor crimes, while the new bill would only apply to serious offences including murder, terrorism and drug trafficking.