BVI News

Governor delays govt’s Cyber Crime amendment due to concerns with freedom of speech and press

Governor Augustus Jaspert has said the delay to assent the VIP government’s Computer Misuse & Cyber Crime Amendment Act of 2019 is because of a few concerns he has in the Bill surrounding freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Governor Jaspert was at the time responding to a question posed from members of the media on Monday, February 3, following Premier Andrew Fahie’s recent call for him to assent the Bill, which passed in the House of Assembly last year.

“The bill is an important bill. It includes areas in there about how we protect children online, how we tackle issues like fraud and people who are abusing the online space. It also has some very important areas that have been flagged to me and to the Premier as well about speech and what is the right level of speech online, including for the media in particular,” Governor Jaspert stated.

“Those are important issues. What is the right of the media to cause inconvenience or annoyance? Is it right or wrong that a journalist can cause inconvenience? Those are some of the issues that are being debated,” he explained.

Discussions being had with Premier

Governor Jaspert further said that active discussions are being had between him and Premier Fahie as the two has been corresponding with regards to the Bill since December 2019.

“The Premier is aware of the issues. I have written to him on them and as he responds I’ll consider that and make a decision as to how we proceed … I hope to be able to talk through those issues or come to a conclusion on those issues and make a decision soon,” he added.

Bill underwent most democratic process

Meanwhile, Premier Fahie in a media conference last month had expressed confidence that the Computer Misuse & Cyber Crime Amendment Act of 2019 had undergone the most democratic process in the Virgin Islands and questioned why it had not yet been passed into law.

He said: “We totally ventilated that bill just like the other times, clause by clause, page by page, word by word, spot by spot on the page. Now, you tell me that this was the most ventilated bill in the history of the Virgin Islands what could possibly pop up that should not have been seen before by any entity even those who have concerns now? When everybody had a chance to deal with it from the onset.”

Bill met with huge criticism locally and internationally.

Since the announcement of the Bill, it has been met with vast criticism from international entities and local political figures who expressed concerns that the Bill could jeopardize the freedom of media workers and outspoken residents in the territory.

The Bill, once made law, will see persons who are found guilty of electronic defamation being fined up to $100,000 or a maximum of three years in prison or even both.

For other crimes within the Bill, the fines and prison sentences have vastly increased — from convicted persons having to pay in upwards of $50,000 or face imprisonment for a maximum of five years, to $500,000 and or a maximum of 14 years in prison.

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19 Comments

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  1. Thank you Gov says:

    VIP think they smart, trying to indirectly shut us down. Lots to spill here.

    Like 19
    Dislike 1
  2. hold it up says:

    The Computer Misuse & Cyber Crime Amendment Act of 2019 should definitely be aligned with the freedom of speech and freedom of the press bills. With no freedom of speech and freedom of the press bills, I understand the Governor’s approach.

    Politician must realized that the BVI don’t belong to them.

    The support the Governor in holding up all bills if they are not aligned with our own freedom is speech bill that should have been in place many years now.

    No one can justify the reason why we dont have any of these bills in place.

    Like 15
  3. Keep them in check says:

    This dictator style of governance has got to stop.

    Like 14
  4. 2020 says:

    The year for clear vision. I for one was willing to support VIP at the start, but their bullying ways and intimidation tactics just turned me off completely. Now I can’t trust anything they say anymore. They say one thing and do another. The memo has been posted ?. Countdown to new election.

    Like 14
    Dislike 1
  5. 2020 says:

    The year for clear vision. The 2020 team is ready and able to launch into full campaign mode if VIP and their gang members keep talking with fork tongues. The memo has been sent ? to all possible imposters in office at the moment.

    Like 10
    Dislike 1
  6. Good says:

    Governor do your thing. This guy want to have a little Cuba here.

    Like 13
  7. my dime says:

    Sounds like all hell going to break loose this month. Their 1st year anniversary should be interesting.

  8. Eagle eye says:

    If you put a fat hog in a 3 peace suit and place him in a house of gold what is he? $40 for anyone who can tell me.

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
  9. Collateral Damage says:

    This deliberate back-door attempt to silence freedom of speech and freedom of the press just takes the cake. Hold up! VIP got to go!!! Kim Jong-un leadership style in disguise going on here.

    Like 12
  10. WELLSAH! says:

    Did we join with North Korea because of Brexit? What kind of cybercrime bill is this? VIP, come on now…

    Like 10
  11. memo is right says:

    The VIP pushing hard to get this pass through quickly like they and their crew belong to a saintly choir.

    Like 10
  12. vip heckler says:

    Fahie and his gang used the internet to slaughter all the other political parties now he here looking protection. I wish i could’ve call him a c***k

    Like 16
    Dislike 1
  13. Lol says:

    @Eagle eye. A fat piggy bank.

  14. hell no says:

    NO NO NO GOVERNOR DON’T PASS IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Political Intelligence says:

    Both the the VIP and NDP are guilty of their failures towards freedom of speech. VIP AINT NO BETTER THAN NDP!!!

  16. Boom!! says:

    This is so retarded like who came up with this rubbish an a total waste of time it have more important issuses people have their mouth to say what ever they want so what is the real puint of this why you dont pass a bill to get all government workers to do there work and stop wasting time

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