National Security Minister, Hermangild Francis, has welcomed the publication of ‘Restored Confidence’, written by former Police Commissioner, Vernon Francois.
“I have started reading it and I think it makes for interesting reading,” Francis stated.
He was responding to a question posed by a reporter Wednesday.
Francis said that as a former police officer himself, he is happy to see a former officer ‘delving into that realm.’
He said he is happy for Francois and hopes people buy the book and read it.
In the book, the former Police Commissioner raised questions about the legality of representatives of at least two police departments from the region having been stationed here, to make use of this country’s communications intelligence gathering facility.
Francois wrote that it should be incumbent on the government of Saint Lucia to explain the legal basis for other police departments to use this country’s facilities.
Francois disclosed that the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) legally gathers communication intelligence.
But he said what he was never able to ‘wrap my head around’ was the legal standing of other police forces that were using the Saint Lucia facility to gather intelligence.
Minister Francis said what Francois wrote about eavesdropping would be an operational matter.
“I have no knowledge of what he is talking about there. He would have done that during his time as Commissioner – I was out of the police force at that time, having left in 2009, before he became Commissioner,” Francis disclosed.
The minister observed that police officers have the ability to gather intelligence.
But he said he is not privy at this time to the sort of intelligence that they use.
“The Interception of Communication Act is there and it is not just a simple thing. For you to be able to do that, there is a process. You must be able to identify the individual, go to a court and swear before a Judge that there is credible evidence about an individual involved in various activities. That Judge, if he is satisfied with the information,may grant you permission to do that. But it is not something you can do on your own, you need to go to court.”