Wiretapping: Mismanagement Of Law and Order

Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin

The news making the rounds that Commissioner Darwin Dottin is destined to be transferred to a government department to the role of a Permanent Secretary has raised some concern for BU. It is no secret Dottin is not a favourite of the current administration. The tension between his long time Deputy Bertie Hinds is also well known. Unfortunately, Barbados society is not inclined to disrupt the long held perception that the Royal Barbados Police Force is the best in the Caribbean and therefore does not warrant criticism. Such a view explains why traditional media is always willing to give the police a pass more oft than not.

Perish the thought Barbados may soon have to recruit a foreign Commissioner because local politics and growing strife within the hierarchy of the RBPF would prevent a local from holding the position. A look at T&T, Jamaica, St. Lucia and a few others give Barbadians a view of what is possible if we continue on the current path.

Recent legal action take by 15 police officers who in an unprecedented action challenged their omission from this year’s promotions should have sent warning bells to Barbadians.   Also Commissioner Dottin’s revelation that the  Police Service Commission (PSC) has given the junior rank an audience to air concerns and at the same time refused his request to do similarly. To aggravate the matter we have the opposition political party throwing its full support behind Dottin by asking him to speak out about the problems of the force at the same time asking for the members of the PSC to resign. It has been stated on BU and elsewhere, some issues are best left non partisan.

Of equal concern are the accusations which have been levelled at the Commissioner regarding the matter of wiretapping. Barbadians were alerted to the possibility of wiretapping when Anderson Bowen, a senior police officer, accused the Commissioner of wiretapping his telephone. The fact that Bowen was reinstated to his job after a lengthy suspension has left unanswered questions in the minds of many.  BU is aware that as part of the security for CWC2007 the local police force was equipped to perform ‘sensitive’ tasks. What has become of the equipment we don’t know although the Commissioner was quoted recently in the news that the Blimp used for CWC2007 requires repairs.

The belief in some quarters that the police has overstepped its authority by commissioning ‘eavesdrops’ on political targets and other prominent individuals merits the attention of Barbadians. We accept that the police has its job to do within the bounds of national security but what is the boundary?

0 thoughts on “Wiretapping: Mismanagement Of Law and Order

  1. David

    This nasty business going on in the Police Force is exactly what I have been complaining about for years, political interference in the Public Service.

    If the talk about transferring the Commissioner of Police is in fact true, it shows that those entrusted to administer important bodies should first be given some sort of orientation. The offices of constable all the way up to commissioner are all departmental post and as such none of them can be transferred outside of the Police Force without their consent. Officers who are appointed to general service posts can be transferred, without their consent, to where ever those post exists for example such post as: clerical officer, senior clerk, accountant, administrative officer, messenger, maid, general worker and permanent secretary are all examples of general service posts.

    I read in the Nation that the post of Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence and Security has already been identified. If this is in fact so, and I pray that it is not, it would confirm that the DLP is running the public service instead of the constitutionally appointed commissions. It would appear that the commissions are now reduced to being rubber stamps.

    The Police Service Commission does not recommend the appointment of permanent secretaries. That is done by the Public Service Commission after consultation with the Prime Minister. However, only the PM is responsible for the deployment of permanent secretaries. It would therefore be very troubling if the Police Service Commission could state that Dottin or anyone else would be appointed to a post of permanent secretary in any particular ministry unless they have colluded or conspired with the Prime Minister. I dare say that this is the stuff that no confidence motions are made of.

  2. @ david

    “It has been stated on BU and elsewhere, some issues are best left non partisan.”

    FACTS are the CENTRE i,e non-partisan/apolitical!!!

    • @all

      What do we (people) need to do?

      Law and Order is nothing to mess about with.

      Who has the evidence of wiretapping?

    (23) LAW AND ORDER

    As a matter of urgency, the new DLP Government
    Provide better remuneration for Police
    Improve and/or build new police stations
    in designated areas
    Increase the ranks in the police force creating
    more promotion opportunities
    Upgrade the Government Forensic Sciences
    Centre to help solve outstanding
    crimes and restore confidence in law enforcement
    Permit the police force to function free of
    political interference
    Convert Glendairy Prison into a publicly funded
    modern drug treatment and rehabilitation centre

    Permit the police force to function free of
    political interference

    Permit the police force to function free of
    political interference


    • @miller

      Thanks for the gut check. It is important Barbadians are reminded of the empty promises made come election time.

      Coincidentally another election is on the horizon.

  4. @ David
    “Thanks for the gut check. It is important Barbadians are reminded of the empty promises made come election time.”

    A check of the BLP 2008 manifesto would show sensible, strategic proposals I expect the upcoming edition to be even better. Not empty and pie in the sky.

  5. @David

    Miller can tell the bu bloggers what is happening to the forensic lab after we have spen so much money to construct it.


    Dont PM dtermines who act as DPS, Owen used to do so.

  6. “the Jamaican drivers were not involved in the 38 pounds of illegal drugs found in a container shipped with their racing cars.”

    See how brilliant our cops are. Only took a few days to prove the innocence of these Jamaican drivers.Awesome police work.

  7. I have been wanting to take the time to comment on this report since I first read it. Time, however, was a factor preventing me until now.

    In the wake of the hacking of the telephone of Jeff Broomes, the issue of phone hacking has become a major one in Barbados.

    In most common law countries, there are laws that protect the individual’s rights to privacy. In the UK, there is the Data Protection Act 2000 (along with the legislation that accompanies it) and I provide a site that may be useful to those who are interested: http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/freedomInformation/freedomInfo.shtml . In Canada, each province has its own “Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy” legislation. For instance, in Ontario it is the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act: http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_90f31_e.htm

    Barbados was threatened with FOI and POP legislation by this current government as a part of its political manifesto, as successive governments had failed and refused to implement same – take note, Enuff. We are still waiting.

    It is to be noted that the Ontario legislation is dated 1990 (22 years go). The UK legislation, passed in 1998, came into force in 2000. Barbados, in 2012, after being promised this legislation no later than 2008, is still waiting.

    Today, it is not so much the hacking (or bugging) of the traditional telephone which is the issue. Rather it is cyber attacks that are of the greatest concern. Remember that it was Jeff Broomes’ cell phone that was hacked and messages sent to Hal Gollop’s cell phone. To hack a traditional phone, you need the consent and cooperation of the phone company. The phone company will require a judicial order. And for a judge to provide a judicial order, just cause must be shown. Otherwise, you can sue the phone company (well, it may take you 20 years to determine the case, but in theory at least, if not in practice, you can sue the phone company).

    However, cell phones and things like Skype and the various chat facilities provided by Google, Yahoo and Hotmail, open a whole new scope for internet identity and information theft. It is known that many law offices conduct tele and video conferences via Skype and, indeed, I have noted from international press reports that many of these are received via Skype. And you ask why this would be important?

    It is important from the point of view of law offices and doctors offices – anyone individual or group whose communications may be covered by privilege. Think “solicitor-client privilege”. If that is breached by hacking, then the Constitution is breached. If it is an overseas communication from, for example, the UK, between solicitor and client, not only is the Barbados Constitution breached, but also the UK Data Protection Act.

    If the hacking is being conducted by the Police in Barbados absent the proper authorisation, then it is committed by Barbados itself. I am sure you can see where that would lead.

    But I have to note that even with traditional telephones, the very high percentage of use of walkabouts. Walkabouts rely on wireless, and this increases the potential for unlawful hacking.

    Two summers ago, I was on a visit to the UK. I purchased myself a UK “mobile phone” on arrival in the UK. The family with whom I was staying programmed their “Bluetooth” hands-free device into my mobile phone so that I could receive calls from them while I was driving. I was at a supermarket (well, you know how we Bajans love supermarkets) and I went to connect my mobile phone to the Bluetooth – and it connected to someone else’s mobile phone and I was unwittingly a party to an extremely salacious conversation about an assignation that had taken place the previous evening. I did my best to disconnect, but not being familiar with the intricacies of the equipment, it took a while. And NO, it was NOT deliberate. Until that point, I thought I knew all there was to know about the birds and the bees – boy was I wrong!

    What amazes me is that government is well aware of the problem. Indeed, the EU had a study done, entitled “ICT LEGISLATION AND THE IMPACT ON E-COMMERCE IN BARBADOS” by the Cybercrime Research Institute. The resulting report is online and here it is: http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/projects/ITU_EC_ACP/hipcar/in-country_assistance/Barbados/2011_ITU_HIPCAR_Barbados_Training_Businesses.pdf . PLEASE READ THIS!!!!! IT IS VERY IMPORTANT!!!!!

    This whole report merely underlines the desperate need for FOI and POP legislation. We look to attract foreign investment here to Barbados. Quite apart from the biggest argument why foreign investors should stay away from Barbados, which is the public service workers and the courts, why in hell would any serious investor who, like all serious investors today, is dependent on cyberspace, come to a country where he has absolutely no protection………….or redress?

    Please, Chris Halsall, if I am in error on any points, feel free to correct me. I am only a fledgling in this field in which you are an expert. I defer to you with gratitude.

    • It was reported in the Anderson Bowen case the incident of wiretapping was a matter of national security.Who would have authorized the evedrop in this instance?

  8. @Amused (September 2, 2012 at 9:23 AM): “The family with whom I was staying programmed their “Bluetooth” hands-free device into my mobile phone so that I could receive calls from them while I was driving.

    Bluetooth is what is referred to as a “pico-net”. The range is something like 10 meters. Max.

    What your host family allegedly did was make your phone accept connections from this handset when it was in close proximity. At no time did this function allow you to receive calls from them while you were driving.

    Now, another question — why would you let someone have that kind of access to you phone?

    You do have it password protected. Correct?

  9. @CH. You got that wrong – at least from my experience – or I am misunderstanding. The Bluetooth was for an earpiece and calls coming into my mobile phone came through the earpiece. So, yes I did receive calls from the family I was staying with. No, I don’t have my UK mobile phone on a password but I will put one on and I don’t have a cell phone in Barbados, because of the potential for tapping.

  10. @ Amused .
    Since I am a total technological fool , I am in no position to conclude whose phone was hacked ,ie Mr Broomes’ or mine . I can however state the bare facts . A block of messages intended for an identified cellular phone was feeding into BOTH my land line and cellular line at regular one-minute intervals . After being advised by another far more knowledgeable than I what the problem MIGHT BE , I called in the police and made the saved messages available to them . As I am led to believe the matter continues to be under investigation . Those are the hard facts .

  11. @Amused: “You got that wrong – at least from my experience – or I am misunderstanding.

    You’re not misunderstanding — I did. So your hosts provided you with a wireless headset to allow hands-free reception of calls. This then made it legal for you to take calls while driving.

    @Amused: “No, I don’t have my UK mobile phone on a password but I will put one on and I don’t have a cell phone in Barbados, because of the potential for tapping.

    Everyone’s cell phone should have a password. Most people don’t, though, because it’s an extra step when the user wishes to use the phone (other than when receiving calls). However, not having a password means that anyone who has physical access to the phone can do whatever they want with it if they gain access, including installing malware.

    Additionally, everyone should add a password to their voice mail, or change the default. This is the vector which most “phone hacking” uses.

    Lastly, there is no more risk of tapping here in Barbados than anywhere else. The “kit” to do so is Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS). At the end of the day, you shouldn’t say anything over the phone you’re not comfortable having your enemies know.

  12. @Hal. Yes, I was told that your telephone and Jeff Broomes’ had been hacked. I was also told that the Poice had, inexplicably, placed upon Jeff Broomes the onus of clearing himself from responsibility for the phone hacking and that this takes the form of a letter, a copy of which I will make best efforts to procure and post on BU. In the meantime, is this true and did the Police demand the same of you who were also hacked? If yes, what do you propose to do about it? If no, can you explain why the onus should be on Jeff and not also on you who were also hacked?

    Can you share with us and enlighten us as to why Jeff would be required to exclupate himself from he same victimization as that suffered by you, and you not, if not.

    In any and all circumstances, I hold this to be a matter of public interest and importance and I hope you will find the time and be kind enough to take the time to elaborate on the incident wich I am sure you will agree merits to be fully and transparently ventilated.

  13. @ Amused | September 4, 2012 at 3:12 AM |

    Hear! Hear! Very good call. Would be most surprised if Hal responds.
    That beamer probably decapitated him; intellectually speaking of course.
    If true it would reflect badly on the quality of justice in this 2×3 place.
    Could you tell us, Amused, why Lady Justice (Justitia) of recent vintage carries balancing, scales, a sword and is blindfolded? Or does this have no significance in Bim?

  14. @ Amused .
    I would only wish to say that a number of statements were taken from me by the police ; they must know why they took so many statements . I also made the said recorded messages available to LIME and they too , to the best of my information and belief are continuing their investigation . I have chosen to stay away from controversy and allow the respective authorities to get on with their work . I am sure that you would agree with me that that is the proper thing to do under the circumstances . I remain eager to know what has been found out .

    • @Hal Gollop

      Thanks for responding, this is a matter which is of interest to BU and one we would like to debate as information becomes available.

  15. Amused

    I don’t know who the police suspect to be perpetrator, and hence their reasons for handling persons differently. For what it is worth, the information available to me is that Gollop and Broomes were not the only persons who had their phones hacked. I have heard that in addition to those two, several of the teachers who gave evidence that was unfavourable to Broomes also suffered a similar fate.

    A police investigator would have to ask himself why would Gollop hack the phones of his clients to receive information that was readily available to him. Maybe that is the reason why Gollop is being treated as victim and not as a suspect. I can’t say for certain why Broomes is being treated differently, so I won’t speculate.

  16. @Hal. I completely understand and I did actually know better than to think I would get away with that tactic with you. And yes, I agree with you. There is not really anything else you can do.

    @Casewell. Your comment above seems to suggest that I (or someone) has suggested or stated or implied that Hal is in some way culpable for the phone hacking. Let me assure you that one of the few counsel in Barbados whom I hold in the highest esteem is Hal. I am well aware that there would be no wrong-doing by Hal.

    BUT, what I find most peculiar is your statement, “I have heard that in addition to those two, several of the teachers who gave evidence that was unfavourable to Broomes also suffered a similar fate.” Why was this never brought out, until you just sprung it on us all? Or is this yet another variation of the spin you have been so unsuccessfully trying to employ?

  17. @ Amused | September 4, 2012 at 3:14 PM |
    “Let me assure you that one of the few counsel in Barbados whom I hold in the highest esteem is Hal. I am well aware that there would be no wrong-doing by Hal.”

    Any one who is a pal of Leroy Greenverbs must attract the moral microscope of the nation. Any one who associates with this man whether in business or as a representative in any form cannot get a free pass when it comes to morality. Both the moral compass and microscope must be brought to focus on all proceedings. Only his doctor is above reproach where this man is concerned.

  18. Wire tapping is not the only problem but eaves dropping by the top executives of your work place is a very serious matter. One saturday a group of us, came in work overtime, we stopped for a break and ended up watching television in the hall, then out of the blue we heard a voice asking us if we could hear him clearly, we answered in the affirmative, then the voice told us, he is the service man for some company and he is just servicing the equipment, but we must not be concerned since, it is never used.He then told us he was in the C.E.O’s office.Then we realised that many of our conversations are obviously monitored, what we thought were lights actually was some form of wire tapping device. We then wondered why was he servicing equipment that according to him was not being used. I have to add here that the C.E.O. office was 2 floors up and this is one of the Trinidadian own financial institutions in town.

  19. @Pretty Blue Eyes: “Wire tapping is not the only problem but eaves dropping by the top executives of your work place is a very serious matter.

    If you are on someone’s property, and/or are using their equipment without paying for it, then you can be legally monitored. You may not like it, but that’s beside the point.

    BTW, I had some time to find the Laws of Barbados related to this. Please see the Barbados Computer Misuse Act. Since almost all modern telephones, and all “telephony switches” they talk to, are computers this act applies to telephone conversations and voice messages as much as e-mail and electronic financial transactions.

    Admittedly, this act is very poorly written, and is missing a great deal. But it still has enough “teeth” to define unlawful (and, by elimination, lawful) intercept. There was a session at the Telecommunications Unit a year ago sponsored by the ITU to analyse this law and improve it. I have no idea what has happened to the recommendations.

  20. And here is the publicly available documents from the ITU HIPCAR session at the Telecommunications Unit intended to help Barbados have appropriate, and internationally aligned, laws.

    HIPCAR Project – Second Stakeholder Consultation and Validation and Capacity Building Workshop on the Legislative Frameworks on Cybercrime (e-Crimes), Interception of Communications, and Electronic Evidence
    5-6 September 2011 (Bridgetown, Barbados)

    My understanding is after this consultation the recommendations were to be passed to a “drafts person” to write the language, which would then be passed up the chain for review and eventually be passed into law.

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