Regarding The Unlawful National Intelligence Agency
Over one year ago last February, I publicly raised the matter of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) back when I previously wrote a weekly national newspaper column.
I also raised this on my Facebook Page in early 2013, since I knew the Agency had been established without necessary legislation, and that $72,000 of public funds was allocated in the new government’s first fiscal Budget (2012/2013) as the annual salary for a Director of a surveillance Agency the country knew little to nothing about.
In their next Budget (2013/2014), the “Director NIA” line item was inexplicably removed from the section of the National Security Ministry’s Budget that covers salaries, and a new recurrent budget line item called “National Intelligence Agency” was created under the “Grants, Fixed Charges & Special Financial Transactions” block of National Security’s Budget – with an unexplained increase in allocation to $100,000.
The NIA currently falls directly under the Ministry of National Security and not the Royal Bahamas Police Force, which suggests the Agency’s Director answers to a politician and not the Commissioner of Police like the Force’s current surveillance and intelligence branch (SIB) does – already a major red flag regarding this secret surveillance agency.
The Parliament has voted twice (via two fiscal Budgets) to approve allocations for the NIA. Last week the matter was brought up by an Opposition MP for the first time. Now that Minister BJ Nottage has told the press that this Agency is carrying out its secret activities on Bahamians without lawful authority (as no law is in place to give effect to the Agency), we wait to see whether the media and Opposition will do the necessary with respect to this serious matter, as it has now been well over a year since this unlawful Agency has been carrying out its secret activities on Bahamians.
Bahamas, laws are made by the Parliament, not by the mere words that come out of a politician’s mouth. And activities do not suddenly and automatically become legal just because it is the government that is carrying out those activities.