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Member of Parliament for Manchester Central, Peter Bunting, has accused Prime Minister Andrew Holness, and the government, of spying on opposition leaders and activists. He went on to heap criticism on the PM recalling his earlier assertions that Holness had authoritarian tendencies. He then delved into the Israeli angle a bit, connecting the PM’s visit to Israel 2 years back.
Israelis Supplying the Technology to Snoop
The thrust of the speech rendered by Peter Bunting was on how the Jamaican Prime Minister had used his official visit to Israel in 2017 to seek help in supplying the latest software to eavesdrop on cellphone conversations of political rivals. Bunting went on to buttress his argument by citing the billions of dollars being spent by the Ministry of National Security, particularly for cybersecurity. He claimed these funds were being paid to Israeli firms. The Manchester Central MP did not divulge any direct link or evidence to establish his claim except to say ‘we hear this’ and ‘we hear that’.
Warns His Comrades to be Vigilant
Bunting then cautioned his People’s National Party (PNP) supporters gathered at the event to be careful while using their mobile phones or sending WhatsApp messages. He said the Israeli software was capable of infecting mobile phones to collect the information being communicated through them. He then told the gathering that the Jamaican opposition party will be questioning the government on the details of the Israeli capabilities and will fight to prevent any invasion of privacy of the citizens of the country.
The MP then reminded the PNP supporters of how in the past there were instances of Andrew Holness taking unilateral action even as the leader of the opposition and had to face a court judgement that reversed his arbitrary sacking of two senators. He had used their letters of resignation handed to him pre-signed. Another sensitive issue raked up by Peter Bunting related to the appointment of Justice Bryan Sykes as Acting Chief Justice. He claimed this as an act displaying authoritarianism.
Whatever the authenticity of the PNP MP’s claim on spying by the government, it has definitely stirred a hornet’s nest.