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Peter Bunting Suspects Holness’ Government of Spying Using Israeli Technology

Alaina Hull

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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.

The commitment to deliver knowledge and information to the world is a duty that one should not take lightly; it is one that I do not take lightly. Equipped with 10 years of professional writing experience, and even more so of "scribbling in a journal", I aim to provide in-depth, accurate and expeditious news and information. "Journalism can never be silent: that is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault. It must speak, and speak immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph and the signs of horror are still in the air."- Henry Anatole Grunwald alaina@zlotonews.com

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Reforms in Jamaican Property Renting Laws in the Offing

Alaina Hull

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The government is updating the country’s Rent Restriction Act to align it with the times. The law, originally enacted in 1944, was last amended in 1983- 36 years ago.

Property Rentals Part of Growing Economy

The proposed amendments to the Act are said to be presently with the Chief Parliamentary Council, according to Pearnel Charles Jr., Senator and a Minister without Portfolio. The expectation is that the Rent Restriction Act, when amended, will provide a level playing field for both the tenants and the landlords. The government would want all citizens to own their own homes – a goal that may be difficult to achieve. Besides, there is always a section of moving population that creates the market for properties on rent.

The situation prevailing is that the current laws favour either the tenant or the landlord – but never in balance. It has to be made equitable. Only when the landlords feel their rights are protected, will they attempt to build more properties with the purpose of renting them out. It results in the overall growth of the nation’s economy.

Tenant’s Rights Equally Important

While law protects the rights of the property owners, those renting the properties would want their interests to be taken care of too. The Rent Restriction Act is meant to regulate some aspects like the security deposit the landlords demand. This is a key feature missing in the Act as it exists today. Here again, an equitable approach is necessary. The landlord would want to exploit the opportunity and demand deposit worth a few months’ rent, while the tenant would want to pay a minimum.

More importantly, there are cases of the deposits not being fully refunded to the tenants when the property is vacated. These are issues that the Rent Restriction Act must necessarily address and make provisions to control. Pearnel Charles Jr. is confident the amendments under consideration of the government, will indeed offer solutions. He indicated that provisions to ascertain the structural soundness of the property, before being rented out, would be considered within the Act. He also added that suitable provisions will be introduced to ensure the tenants are not taken for a ride with the properties they rent.

Implementation Equally Critical

The Jamaican Parliament may succeed in deliberating and successfully passing the amendments to the Rent Restriction Act soon. However, the real challenge will be in the effective implementation of law on the ground. The powers assigned to a body like the Rent Assessment Board may have to be expanded, to give the law power.

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Peter Bunting Suspects Holness’ Government of Spying Using Israeli Technology

Alaina Hull

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

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