Sunday 12 July, 2020

WATCH: Bunting cites Government as being on a national spying agenda

File photo of Opposition MP Peter Bunting addressing party members.

File photo of Opposition MP Peter Bunting addressing party members.

Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) for Central Manchester, Peter Bunting has suggested that the Andrew Holness Administration is working with Israeli interests to spy on Jamaicans.

Bunting, who many political watchers believe is positioning himself to challenge Dr Peter Phillips for the leadership of the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP), made the assertion recently while addressing a meeting in his constituency.

To support his assertion, Bunting said billions of dollars had been set aside under the Ministry of National Security in the last and current budgets, to deal with cyber security concerns in the country.

He then pointed to a trip which he said Holness took to Israel two years ago, along with his national security advisor.

Bunting then exclaimed that, “And (after) two years’ time we still can’t hear what that trip (was) about”.

He added that: “What we now hear is that Israeli firms are providing the cyber security capability to the Government.”

Then the former national security minister suddenly shifted gear sharply:

“We also hear that a number of these Israeli firms have provided this intelligence capability to governments who have used it to spy on their political opponents; to governments who have used it to spy on the media; to governments who have used it to spy on human rights activists,” he declared.

“This is software that they use to infect your phone, and it can read your WhatsApp, your messages; it can reveal what is on your phone.

“So essentially, they use your own phone to spy on you,” he added.

“We have to be careful, as it can be used for political purposes,” Bunting then warned.

While insisting that the Government is spying or about to engage in spying on Jamaicans, Bunting declared that “the truth of the matter is, we have no modern legislation to govern the use of this kind of capability.”

He told Comrades that, “I am alerting you tonight. We must be very vigilant about what is going on. Everything that they are doing so far is shrouded in secrecy, and I’m telling you that if we couldn’t trust them with Petrojam, if we couldn’t trust them with NESoL, if we couldn’t trust them at the Ministry of Education, why do you feel that we can trust them with the very privacy of what’s on our cell phones… not me; I’m not trusting them!”

He was referencing some of the scandals that have engulfed the Government since it took office in 2016.

Bunting served warning at the meeting that the PNP would, in short order, be “asking some very hard questions about this Israeli spying capability that is being acquired, and to make sure that it is not going to be used on the citizens of Jamaica in a way to violate our privacy, and in a way to frustrate the democracy which we have worked so hard for in this country.”

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