The government has done the right thing and put on hold the Internet Crime Bill to allow for greater input from the wider population.
So the expected debate and passage of the Bill in the Senate on Wednesday did not take place in order to allow for our legislators to clean up the bill.
As Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Kenny Lalsingh announced the Bill will be sent back to the Lower House where hopefully the elected Members of Parliament will get it right before it is sent back to the Senate for approval and then onto the Governor-General for the final signature.
Hopefully, the government would finally appreciate the need for Parliamentarians to always seek greater input from the relevant stakeholders in the country on legislation which are taken to the house for debate and approval to become the law of the land.
This has become more important given the fact that the governing New National Party (NNP) controls all fifteen seats in the House of Representative and with no opposition voice to serve as a possible check and balance on controversial and questionable legislation.
If the current rulers had taken the Grenada Bar Association (GBA) on board with respect to the Internet Crime Bill then surely a number of unpleasant things would have been avoided.
The country has a number of competent lawyers who are nationalistic enough to offer free advise and make a meaningful contribution through their association to any legislation that would be taken to Parliament to affect the lives of all Grenadians.
As a matter of fact, the government side in the house is lacking badly in terms of qualified attorneys-at-law and should look outside in some cases for assistance.
Even the current Attorney-General who is the Principal legal advisor to government is not a senior member of the legal profession and can be considered as a “green horn” where the legal profession is concerned.
This is not to suggest that the AG is not competent but the fact of the matter is that he lacks the experience in the profession as previous office holders such as Dr. Francis Alexis and Jimmy Bristol.
It is one thing to appear before Magistrates and high court judges but it a horse of a different colour when it comes to excelling in a specialised area of the law such as legal drafting.
Over the years, our governments have found themselves at a disadvantage given the calibre of persons elected to serve in Parliament.
Several MP’s have privately admitted that they have no time to read and understand the number of legislation that are handed out to them for proper input before they are brought to the house.
In addition, our MP’s are not like Senators and other law-makers in some First World countries who have offices that are staffed by competent people who are well equipped to do the research and prepare them with the relevant information to make a meaningful contribution on all kinds of issues.
Our MP’s, especially those on the opposition side, will be extremely lucky enough to get assistance from the State to set up a little office to deal with the needs of their constituencies.
As a matter of fact, the meagre funds given by the government of the day to its own elected officials can hardly be considered as a budget to meet expenses like rent, salaries to a secretary and driver, as well as paying utility bills.
This is the real deal with most struggling Third World countries that are already living above their means and cannot even find the monies that are needed to service debt obligations to creditors much less adequately service the needs of their constituencies.
THE NEW TODAY is fully aware of the number of adverse comments in the international community on the intent of the government of Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell to give legal teeth to the Internet Crime Bill.
The most unfortunate remarks were those coming from some internet users who vowed not to visit Grenada – a charge that could amount to an assault on our vital tourism industry.
Absolutely nothing should be done to put “spokes in the wheels” of the industry which in recent years has contributed significantly to the upkeep of the nation in this worldwide recession.
It is our sincere hope that the government will get the Internet Crime Bill right the next time around.
The country can do without a debate on whether the true intent of the Mitchell government is to skillfully seek to bring back criminal libel through the back door.
Dr. Mitchell is no fool and is smart enough to understand that the world is moving in a particular direction and the country might be forced to pay a price that it cannot afford to handle at this point in time by seeking to criminalise wrong doing on the Internet.
Unless, Dr. Mitchell is abandoning his stated objective of using the victory of February 19, 2013 for his legacy.
So far the international community remembers him not for the clean sweep at the polls in 1999 and 2013 but his flirtation with so many questionable and shady characters in his 41 years parading on the nation’s political landscape.