It is official! The National Intelligence Unit was disbanded on 30 June 2001 and replaced by the National Security Service (substituting brain with brawn?). The remit of this new elite agency is to gather “information that contributes not only to our national, but also regional and international security requirements and to the maintenance of peace in our country.” International eh? So they must have at least one “James Bond” type character amongst them! Although it seemed to me that Xavier Duval was playing most of 007’s more glamorous roles while jet-setting around the world as Minister of Tourism.
Below is the transcript from the National Assembly Oral Answers to Questions – 21 May 2002. There are some fantastic jokes within it which I have taken the liberty of highlighting. Humour apart, I noticed a couple of blatantly misleading statements, can you spot more?
Our “intelligence” agents are career police officers. Is that not a contradiction in terms?
As of 2002 there were only 164 of them. Good grief! Navin has more agents than that in Triolet alone!
NATIONAL SECURITY SERVICE (NSS) – SETTING UP
(No. B/316) Mr M. Dulloo (Third Member for Grand’ Baie and Poudre d’Or) asked the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence & Home Affairs and Minister of External Communications whether he will state when the National Security Service (NSS) was set up to replace the National Intelligence Unit (NIU) and, for the benefit of the House, obtain information as to –
(a) the number of members/officers of the NIU which has been retained to serve in the NSS and the number which has been transferred elsewhere or dismissed, with a breakdown rank-wise; and
(b) any organizational or structural changes put into place.
The Ag. Prime Minister: Mr Deputy Speaker Sir, I am informed by the Commissioner of Police that the National Security Service (NSS) was set up on 30 June 2001 in virtue of the Police (Amendment) Act No. 9 of 2001.
As regards the number of former NIU staff which have been retained or transferred, I am tabling the information as provided by the Commissioner of Police. May I draw the attention of the House that the then National Intelligence Unit, now the National Security Service, continues to be staffed by career Police Officers. These officers are liable to be posted to various sections of the Police Force to meet operational requirements.
The question of bringing structural changes to the new NSS is under study.
I do not think it is proper to reveal the operational details of the National Security Service, but I am assured by the Commissioner of Police that the methodology of information gathered and interpretation is being reviewed to ensure that such information contributes not only to our national, but also regional and international security requirements and to the maintenance of peace in our country.
Mr Dulloo: I have one supplementary question. We haven’t had the benefit of seeing the figures. We’ll look for it. Can the Ag. Prime Minister tell us whether there has been an increase in the number of officers since the setting up of the NSS?
The Ag. Prime Minister: I was quite surprised when I looked at the figures. In fact, since the general elections only 12 officers have been transferred from NSS to elsewhere and 131 officers remained with the NSS.
Actually, there are 131 and then 33 officers have been sent there so that the actual total number of officers posted to the NSS is 164.
NSS MEMBERS – POLITICAL ACTIVITIES/PUBLIC GATHERINGS – PRESENCE
(No. B/317) Mr M. Dulloo (Third Member for Grand’ Baie and Poudre d’Or) asked the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence & Home Affairs and Minister of External Communications whether in regard to the National Security Service, he will state what measures have been taken to ensure that its members/officers –
(a) do not trail any individual for his political activities;
(b) are not present at political activities, including public meetings, to report thereon; and
(c) are not present at such political activities or public meetings to record speeches.
The Ag. Prime Minister: Mr Deputy Speaker Sir, the House will recall that one of the main objectives of amending the Police Act in 2001 was to specifically prohibit National Security Service Officers from trailing any individual for his political activities. May I quote the relevant Section of the legislation –
“No Police officer nor any person referred to in section 19(1) or (2) shall –
(a) trail any individual on account of the involvement of the individual in any political activity or in any other form of lawful protest or dissent;
(b) act as a political activist, or engage in any political activity, or interfere in any manner with any electoral process.”
The Commissioner of Police has further informed me that strict instructions have been given to officers attached to the NSS in this connection.
Any infringement of the law or of the instructions would make a person indulging in such activities liable to prosecution in Court or to disciplinary action as the case may be.
Moreover, the presence of Police Officers at public gatherings of a political or other nature as is the case in all public places is to ensure the maintenance of law and order.
I am further informed that the presence of members of the National Security Service at any public gathering is meant only for security purposes, and for recording of speeches that may eventually be required for production in Court with a view to adducing evidence in such cases as “Incitement to racial hatred, defamation and causing disaffection among members of the public”.
Mr Dulloo: May I ask the Ag. Prime Minister, therefore, whether the recordings of speeches during political activities and during public meetings are not for the purpose of submitting the content of the speeches to the Prime Minister of the day?
The Ag. Prime Minister: I have just replied for what purpose such recordings are.
Mr Dulloo: Sir, therefore, do I take it that such recordings could be made available on demand by any member of the public?
The Ag. Prime Minister: Any member of the public? I doubt that.
Mr Dulloo: Are they made accessible to Ministers on demand to know what has been said about them during public gatherings or public meetings?
The Ag. Prime Minister: I am sure this is not made available to Ministers, in general, but the Prime Minister is in daily contact with the Commissioner of Police and is informed of any problem.
Mr Dulloo: Is the Prime Minister, therefore, submitted the full transcript of the speeches of public meetings?
The Ag. Prime Minister: If and when required, I am sure.