Elvin Nimrod: The Bill does not offend freedom of speech

Legal Affairs Minister, Elvin Nimrod has said that he does not see anything wrong with the Electronic Crime Bill that has received its fair share of public ridicule.

Minister Nimrod who appeared on a radio programme on the Grenada Broadcasting Network (GBN) last week Wednesday said his government believes that the public opinion is much more heavily weighed in favour of the bill than any individual opinion.

The Bill was passed in the Lower House of Parliament on June 28, but was withdrawn when it made its way to the Upper House two weeks ago.

The Senate raised concern about Section 6, sub-section 1 of the Bill, which relates to freedom of speech.

It states, “A person not knowingly, without lawful excuse or justification send by mail on electronic system or an electronic device [a] information that is grossly offensive or has a menacing character [b] information which he or she knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill-will persistently by making use of such electronic system or any electronic device, or electronic mail, or an electronic message for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience, or to deceive, or to mislead the addressee or recipient of the origin of such message.”

It also says, “A person who contravenes section 1 commits an offense and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $100,000.00 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year.”

The International Press Institute, a world watchdog group, has raised concerns about the new Keith Mitchell-led government in Grenada using the bill to bring back criminal libel that was abolished by the previous administration, through the backdoor.

Minister Nimrod said he does not see the Bill offending freedom of speech, but promised that it would be reviewed as a means of seeing what amendments could be made.

“Individually, by myself I really cannot detect anything really what is wrong with this portion of the legislation,” he added.

The Bill seeks to make provisions for the prevention and punishment of certain electronic crimes.

Minister Nimrod believes the average person would conclude that this is a very meaningful, relevant, and timely piece of legislation.

The Legal Affairs Minister looked at the advantages and disadvantages of modern technology.

He told the host of the radio programme that electronic technology is a “double-edged sword” that can bring many benefits, but equally results in a lot of detriments.

The senior Government Minister spoke of modern technology not only being the tool in advancement in communication, but also being able to be useful in educational enhancement of the people.

However, he said modern technology creates the opportunity for the commission of crime, the invasion of privacy, and fraud among others.

“We live in a world and we live at a time when electronic technology almost dictates our daily lives,” he remarked.

The Electronic Crimes Bill is among a list of E-Bills that are due to become law on the island as part of an OECS initiative.

The others are the Electronic Filing Bill, Electronic Transaction Bill, Electronic Transfer of Funds Bill, and the Electronic Evidence Bill.


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