JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the National Security Council has looked at two critical pieces of legislation that are at various stages of development.
  • The first, he said, is the National Security Council Act, which will “situate the Council in law and give it some kind of permanence and structure, which would be [a] forum through which we can have the kinds of sensitive discussions on national security issues”.
  • “The other is the National Intelligence Act, where we have developed a concept paper for that, and through the Internal and External Affairs Committee [of Parliament], the Minister of National Security can give the House a briefing.”

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the National Security Council has looked at two critical pieces of legislation that are at various stages of development.

The first, he said, is the National Security Council Act, which will “situate the Council in law and give it some kind of permanence and structure, which would be [a] forum through which we can have the kinds of sensitive discussions on national security issues”.

“The other is the National Intelligence Act, where we have developed a concept paper for that, and through the Internal and External Affairs Committee [of Parliament], the Minister of National Security can give the House a briefing.”

Mr. Holness was responding to questions posed by the Opposition during Tuesday’s (October 29) sitting of the House of Representatives.

He further instructed that the appropriate internal and external affairs committee of Parliament be convened as soon as possible, so that sensitive matters of national security can be discussed.

“It is important that the citizens of Jamaica have confidence in the actions of the Government,” he said.

He noted that part of that confidence building is that the Opposition, which also has a duty to the public, must be kept informed about national security matters, while maintaining the level of confidentiality required.

“Where we are short and where we are lacking is that we do not have a fully developed system of information sharing in national security when it comes to these issues.

“We have started; we have a National Security Council. It is working, it is still very new, this is an area, which obviously needs greater attention and we have to further develop the architecture within the National Security Council to have that kind of information sharing,” he added.

Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Peter Phillips, welcomed the call by the Prime Minister for the convening of the appropriate committees.

“Not only would we welcome the exchanges within the appropriate committee of Parliament but we would welcome a commitment also to putting the appropriate legislative framework in place, so that we can actually find common cause in this anti-crime effort,” he said.

The National Security Council is responsible for coordinating policies on national security issues.