Written By Ernesto Cooke
Leader of the DRP Anesia Baptiste said that the Cyber Crime Bill was not written from scratch by the drafters in SVG, but, it is a model bill that was handed down to us by the” Harmonizing in ICT policy project” ,an effort across the Caribbean.
Baptiste said she made this clear when she first spoke on the bill at the Human Rights Association discussion at French’s house.
The DRP Leader says that Guyana is facing the same bill, Trinidad is facing the same bill which was shelved at the election and now the current Prime Minister will have to look at it, all with the same section 16 like ours, hence bills around the region has similarities like the one here.
What am saying is that select committee has the opportunity to make the right kind of adjustments ensuring that the people rights and freedoms are protected.
However when it comes to the fundamental freedom of expression, I don’t think they are doing this, Baptiste said.
Baptiste said they are not doing this primarily because “the Prime Minister has believed in criminalizing defamation for thirty something years and he ain’t changing his mind”.
She says secondly it would appear that the Government does not have a problem generally in criminalizing speech.
The DRP Leader says the Cyber Bullying part of the bill is essentially criminalizing speech, she said we are not dealing with rape or murder, we are dealing with words that may hurt or humiliate, and you are willing to give a man a criminal record for that including the possibility of sending him to jail.
I am saying that is extreme, and the Prime Minister refuses to see that argument is true, Baptiste said.