Cyber Crime Bill for Cabinet review
Given the controversy surrounding the Sedition Clause in the Cyber Crime bill, it is expected to be reviewed by Cabinet. This is according to Attorney General Basil Williams, who maintained his support for the clause, noting that the State needs to be protected.
The Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs on Wednesday argued that Guyana is not as developed to have other mechanisms or institutions to deal with persons who threaten the State and incite disaffection.
“The society is still young and it still needs to be protected…the State has to protect its people and has to protect itself,” Williams said during a press conference.
He alluded to post-election periods which are usually plagued by violence, noting it is at those times that persons can seek to incite disaffection.
Despite his view, however, the Attorney General committed to taking the document back to cabinet for review.
“I alone can’t deal with the Bill outside even though I feel that I have a position on it. And it came out of Cabinet. Our system is that it goes to Cabinet, comes back here, tidied up and then goes to Parliament,” the AG said.
The Cyber Crime Bill was taken to parliament on April 27 after two years at a Special Select Committee.
Clause 18 (1) of the Bill makes it an act of sedition for someone to use a computer system to circulate messages deemed to excite or attempt to excite disaffection towards the Government. The clause, according to Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan covers facebook posts –something which did not sit well with many persons who argued that the Bill will affect freedom of expression.
Previously, the law, he said only included sedition by way of public speaking as opposed to computerized posts.
Persons on Tuesday protested the Ministry of Public Security and called for the clause to be removed.