By Karyl Walker
Sunday Observer staff reporter
September 16, 2007
The Organised Crime Investigative Division is now probing the recent
mysterious theft of two desktop computers from the Ministry of National
Security, taken from the fortified seventh floor, where former minister
Peter Phillips had his office.
"I can confirm that a computer was stolen from a seventh floor office
sometime between (week before last) Friday night and (last) Monday
morning," Deputy Commissioner in charge of crime, Mark Shields told the
"An employee left the office and returned to work Monday morning and
found that the computer was stolen," Shields added. Shields said that
there was no evidence of forced entry. The only entrance leading to the
particular area of the seventh floor is manned round the clock by two
Jamaica Defence Force soldiers and is equipped with a metal detector.
Meanwhile, freshly sworn in Minister of National Security Derrick Smith
told the Sunday Observer that a second computer was also stolen from an
office on the fourth floor. The minister said the reported theft had
left him feeling "suspicious".
"I am very suspicious and very concerned that it happened during this
time of transition," Smith said, adding that he discovered that the
computers were missing when he went to the ministry after he and 16
other Cabinet colleagues took their oaths of office at King's House last
Smith said the computer that was stolen from the seventh floor was being
used by a political appointee who recently resigned from the ministry.
"It was assigned to, and being used by, a political appointee," Smith
said. But according to the new security minister, "the major concern is
that during the week, an office on the fourth floor was broken into and
another computer stolen".
Shields told the Sunday Observer that while there have been no arrests,
a number of persons had been interviewed. The security minister said he
expected the police to close in on the persons responsible for stealing
"We are expecting them to be able to apprehend someone. Security checks
suggest that (during that) period only four persons, two soldiers and
two cleaners, had access to the building," Smith said.
Smith said he has ordered permanent secretary Gilbert Scott, to conduct
an immediate security check. "I have instructed the permanent secretary
to arrange a security audit done to ensure that we don't have any
incident of the sort again," Smith told the Sunday Observer.
The theft of the computers come on the heels of reports that documents
were being shredded at various government ministries, raising suspicions
that attempts were being made to hide corrupt practices by persons in
the previous administration.
The People's National Party (PNP), which had been in government for 18
years, was beaten by the Jamaica Labour Party in the September 3 general