Another secret service for Jamaica

What took place

Jamaica is to get yet another intelligence agency.  This is one of the recommendations of the National Security Strategy (NSS) report.

The agency would inform state decisions on strategic or policy issues which go beyond supporting planned operations.

It is to be mandated to gather strategic information, process it into strategic intelligence and provide the government with timely advice on matters of strategic importance. However, it is not intended to replace any existing intelligence organisation.

Minister of National Security Dr Peter Phillips, recently tabled the NSS report, as a Green Paper, in the House of Representatives and stated that action had already begun on some of the recommendations.

Among these are: The completion by the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) of a strategic defence review; changes in the justice system coming out of the recent cabinet retreat; and work is underway to transform the immigration, citizenship and passport service into an executive agency.

A Green Paper is a tentative government report of a proposal expected to stimulate debate, but without any commitment to action. But it is regarded as the first step in changing the law and may result in the production of a white paper which signifies government’s intention pass new law.

The National Security Strategy Development Working Group, headed by Rear Admiral Peter Brady, former chief of staff of the JDF, prepared the report for the Ministry of National Security. The team also included representatives of the police, the military, government departments and agencies, including customs and immigration, and the ministries of finance, justice and foreign affairs.

Commentators’ views

Generally speaking this announcement generated little debate. A few callers to radio programmes though, wondered whether the existing intelligence agencies are not doing the work outlined in the intelligence report.

They questioned why is it necessary to have another agency, which in their view, is merely duplicating the work of other agencies.