Maia Eustace, daughter of Leader of the Opposition, Arnhim Eustace, says there is a belief that telephones are being tapped in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and this affects how people communicate with each other.
She made the observation at a New Democratic Party rally on Friday night in Rockies, a village in East Kingstown, the constituency for which her father is Parliamentary Representative.
She said that, like an abusive partner, the ULP seeks to control who people associate with.
“That is very typical of abusive relationships,” said Eustace, a lawyer.
“You see that suggestion that phone calls are being monitored? Do you know how many Vincentians speak in code on the telephone? Whether it is true or not that they have the capacity to monitor your phone calls, you live in fear of it. You are afraid to communicate to your friend something that concerns you…” she said.
“When I pick up our phone at home, if it is our main phone number, sometimes, I will even say, ‘Good morning, sergeant’, before I begin the conversation. Because I have to hail up the good people in the Special Branch who are working so hard,” she said.
“So, when you live in fear that they are monitoring you, that curtails your freedom, whether they are monitoring your freedom or not.”
She said some persons are questioned about the reasons they visit certain other people.
“… you are told afterwards ‘What were you doing there?’ ‘I hear you been by so and so.’ ‘That is frowned upon. Be careful, watch out.’ So you now stay away from your own friends, you are alienated by what should be your support system and you are all alone, but they continue to associate with whomever they want,” she said.
Former Minister of National Security, Vincent Beache, said when he was in office that wiretapping was taking place in St. Vincent, but later said it was not being done by the government.
In 2010, amidst a controversy about the election date, Prime Minister, Ralph Gonsalves said he had communicated the date to Governor General, Frederick Ballantyne via a secure telephone line, raising questions about whether some telephone lines in the country were not secure.