Cyber Crime Bill will protect freedom of expression while protecting against criminal intent – PM

DPI, Guyana, Friday, July 20, 2018

Prime Minister Moses described the Cyber Crime Bill No.17 of 2016 as one which will guarantee the freedom of expression contained within the constitution whilst protecting citizens from criminal advocacy and dissemination of ideas that could lead to deaths.

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo.

He rebuffed arguments that the legislation, if passed with several amendments, would be undemocratic. The Prime Minister stated that “the Opposition leader, himself said that his MPs dropped the ball when the bill went to Select Committee.”

The veteran politician pointed out that he was actually in admiration of the Opposition leader who informed the media that “You can blame us” when he was asked about the apparent lack of knowledge that the PPP members had about the Bill.

Prime Minister Nagamootoo, an attorney-at-law, recalled that during the time of the PPP’s governance, those who are claiming the law is draconian were actually in bed with drug lords. He recalled the introduction of internet locally in 1996, whilst he served as Information Minister, and the caution expressed by some wary of the potential for misuse. However, he explained that mechanisms were put in place by the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company, to prevent its abuse.

He further added that bill, which was first read on August 4, 2016, is intended to combat the abuse of the internet, in a similar but updated manner, “it will protect against those intent on using the internet for criminal purposes. We have lagged behind in our efforts to protect citizens from computer-based crimes,” the Prime Minister noted.

The government has removed the contentious sedition clause of the bill, he explained, and some of the comments proffered by stakeholders resulted in the move to adopt some amendments.

In closing, the Prime Minister commended the House to see the Bill as an addition to the nation’s statutes that will protect citizens.

By: Paul McAdam.
Image: Jules Gibson.