Persons found guilty of spying on private citizens will be prosecuted, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said on Wednesday evening. Speaking at a meeting of the parliamentary caucus of the United National Congress (UNC) at the Rienzi Complex, Couva, Persad-Bissessar said her Government remained committed to ensuring the privacy of citizens under democratic rule.
She said an investigation was underway into alleged wiretapping by officers of the security Intelligence Agency (SIA). She added: "You will see what happened in Parliament last Friday, the 'maccoing' that was taking place from the highest offices in the land using your taxpayers dollars, the resources of the state, for illegal activity. "That matter is before serious investigation and those who do the crime will have to do the time."
Persad-Bissessar said later today the Interceptions of
Communications Bill would go before Parliament. She said under that proposed legislation, only a High Court judge would be allowed to order interception of communications. The Prime Minister said the wiretapping of private citizens could not have been for the benefit of T&T. She said: "It must have been for the purpose of intimidation. It must have been for the purpose of blackmail. Why else would you have been collecting information?" she asked.
Persad-Bissessar said the Government did not know what became of the information that was collected. "I think that you are smart as anybody else and you would understand when you are tapping trade unionists, Opposition politicians, prominent persons in public life, among others, you were up to absolutely nothing good in this country," she added. She said it must have been divine intervention that an election was called two and one half years before it was due. She urged UNC supporters to stand up and ensure detractors did not derail the Government.