Pain is a wonderful teacher, and in the Caribbean, few countries have experienced economic and social pain like Jamaica.
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Moonilal beefs up Internet security
Housing Minister and Leader of Government business, Dr Roodal Moonilal, has increased his Internet security to stop hackers from accessing private and sensitive e-mails. Within a matter of days, a leaked audio recording of a government minister describing Cabinet colleagues as “rats” and an e-mail correspondence detailing political strategy both surfaced in the public domain. Moonilal does not think those two incidents are isolated, but rather evidence of People’s National Movement (PNM)-led “Nazi-type political tactics.”
“It disturbs me that a minister cannot even offer a critical view in private without Gestapo interception by the PNM,” Moonilal said in an e-mail exchange with the Sunday Guardian. He said insulting remarks made on the audio recording were already sorted out and “put to rest.” He said the PNM infiltration of private e-mails was triggering a “national hysteria” and was a sign of the Opposition’s desperation.
“It is a hunger for power at all cost. But the creation of this Gestapo society poses a threat to our democracy and liberal values. The PNM operatives are back to the bad old days of pre-2010,” he said. Moonilal also described high-tech changes at the ministry designed to keep out tech savvy hackers. He said he has spoken to both his local IT experts and a specialist cyber-crime unit out of the United States.
“I do intend to strengthen firewall capacity and use simultaneous locking devices and ‘white list’ applications to stop such further attacks,” he said. “In a bid to keep the PNM and Rowley from getting their paws on my confidential information which includes national security information, I have also ordered new state-of-the-art software applications for virus barriers that Rowley may have used,” he said. Moonilal said if all else fails, he may have to trust local mail carrier, TTPost, with his important information.
The e-mails exchanged between Moonilal and Government supporter and social blogger Phillip Edward Alexander detailed plans to undermine Rowley and the PNM. Alexander was also part of the Roundtable discussions with Rowley, Movement for Social Justice leader David Abdulah and trade union leader Ancel Roget in the days leading up to the Section 34 march in November 2012.
However, he fell out with the Roundtable group when a demand made by him and Democratic National Assembly founder Kirk Meighoo that the three leaders form a coalition against the Government was dismissed; Alexander then parted ways with the informal grouping. Before his close ties with the Government, Alexander was also a fixture at environmentalist Dr Wayne Kublalsingh’s three-week hunger strike in December 2012. Alexander is now a political strategist for the Government.
A media release was issued late Friday night on a UNC letterhead containing Charles’ response to the information leak:
“It is clear that the PNM continues to avoid enunciating policies, plans or a vision that will benefit the people of T&T and improve the quality of their lives. Instead of providing alternative policy options that deal with poverty, crime, creating well-paying jobs, and reducing our high food import bill, the PNM continues to major in minors.
It is my hope that the PNM will, on their platforms, articulate forward looking policies, so that we can enter into a reasoned debate which will allow voters a clear choice. Our intention is to make sure voters are informed about Keith Rowley, his lack of vision, and his history of non performance.”