We Have Been Sitting On A Story For Six Months
For six months, Barbados Free Press has not published a story about how Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) personnel were trained in the interception of private phone calls, mobile communications and email by IST Inc. – a Florida company that is alleged to have made improper payments to law enforcement officials in the United States. During our investigations, we were able to confirm much of what our source told us with just a few simple phone calls to Florida – calls that anyone could have made at the time.
As well as the training of RBPF electronic communications technicians by IST Inc., our unpublished story also related that the Royal Barbados Police Force had received modern interception equipment and had more on order. Our source told us that the equipment wishlist included a sophisticated “digital spectrum analyser” used to locate and identify radio and cell phone transmissions. We were also aware that meetings had been held with communication industry representatives to establish liaison channels for the legal interception of private communications by police at various relay centres. This, it was explained to us, is all rather standard procedure between police and communications companies everywhere – and especially during major events like Cricket World Cup.
We did not publish the story at the time because we did not want to interfere with the RBPF’s ramp up of security and electronic surveillance capabilities in preparation for Cricket World Cup 2007.
Although little if anything has been written in the Caribbean media about electronic surveillance of potential Islamist terrorists by law enforcement, even without our story it doesn’t take too much guesswork to speculate upon some of the capabilities being used by the men and women who protect us all. The terrorists and other nasties like drug dealers are of course already well aware of police capabilities and routinely try to avoid electronic surveillance.
So by writing this story, we aren’t by any means letting the cat out of the bag or telling our country’s enemies anything they don’t already know… and there is far more detailed information available on the internet than appears on this blog. We wouldn’t even bother writing this story – except for one thing…
We have been told that on at least two occasions, persons have discussed using Royal Barbados Police Force personnel, resources and technical interception capabilities to identify the publishers of the Barbados Free Press blog. These persons want to use the police for a political purpose.
BFP believes there is a high probability that this information is accurate as the previous information provided to us was shown to be true. Certain police personnel may, or may not, have been approached already. We are not in a position to know.
And so, we write this open letter to each member of the Royal Barbados Police Force…
To Each Member Of The Royal Barbados Police Force:
As we are sleep in our beds in the middle of the night, you and your companions are on patrol protecting our homes and our families. You deal with the worst our society can offer: the violent, the hopeless, the innocent victims who cannot be helped. We can walk away from unpleasant situations when you have to stay and deal with the worst.
And when there is real trouble, real danger – when all of us run away in fear, you stand fast. You cannot run and you do not – no matter that you must at times be as frightened as any sane person would be. Duty compels you to master your fear and you do.
All this must take it’s toll on you personally and upon your family, yet you and your companions continue to protect and to serve Barbados for far less money than is paid to police personnel elsewhere in the Caribbean and abroad. You do this out of a sense of duty and commitment. This must be so because you could easily find higher paying employment with another police force or in a different career.
For all of that, we thank you – and if it were in our power to pay you as you should be paid, we would do it tomorrow. There are many other national expenses that should be secondary to a well-equipped and fairly-paid police force. As we have said many times before…
The Royal Barbados Police Force should be the highest paid, best trained and best equipped policing organization in the Caribbean. The police are the true guardians and promoters of the most important segment of our economy. If the tourists don’t feel safe in Barbados, you can kiss goodbye to about 80% of our gross national revenue… (original BFP article link here)
But the police are also guardians of something much more important than our economy.
You and your companions are guardians of our democracy and of our freedoms – which you protect every day that you remain impartial and go about your duties without fear or favour. There are always those in any society who – for their own purposes – attempt to use and misuse the authority and power of individual police officers or policing organizations.
The citizens of Barbados rely upon each police officer to be true to their duty, true to the rule of law and honourable in all things. Without this sense of duty and honour by you and your companions, our society would be quite different.
We have trusted you in the past and we continue to trust you to be true to Barbados, to the rule of law and to yourself.
When they ask you to be otherwise – you know what to do.
Marcus, Robert, Shona, Cliverton, George & Auntie Moses – and all the rest of your fellow citizens who read Barbados Free Press.