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Premier defends his govt’s proposed ‘high’ penalties in BVI’s Cyber Crime Amendment Bill

“Yes, the fines were higher than normal. Yes, the penalties were higher than normal but the problem that we have is worse than normal” — Premier Andrew Fahie.

In the face of criticism from international media who argue that certain sections could jeopardize the freedom of media workers in the territory, Premier Andrew Fahie has defended his government’s proposed amendments to the BVI’s Cyber Crime Amendment Act of 2019.

Addressing the issue during a press conference on Monday, the Premier confirmed that he received correspondence from an unnamed international media group who expressed their concerns over the bill.

Premier said he has responded saying that the 2019 amendments — which proposed major penalty increases of more than a decade in prison and/or fines of up to half-a-million dollars for cyber offenders — are needed in the territory.

AlSO READ: Opposition legislator disagrees with proposed penalties

He said: “Yes, I respect the freedom of the media, but research has shown that the media too has to be held accountable for some of what they print. It is not saying that the media cannot print. It is saying that the media or anybody who disseminates incorrect information, the fine will be high. Well, some of you in the media will say: ‘that’s a little high, but how do you repair a man’s reputation when you are finished destroying it?”

Fahie continued: “What cost could you put unto his reputation and even if you say ‘sorry’, how does that irrevocable damage be dealt with? So yes the fines were higher than normal, yes the penalties were higher than normal but the problem that we have is worse than normal. And, to deal with an unconventional problem, you have to do an unconventional solution. The only people who have to worry about the Cyber Crime Amendment Act is those who intend to be malicious, whether it be the media or the regular citizen in the BVI.”

It should be ascended to!

The Premier then called for the aforesaid bill to be made into law. That decision now rests with Governor Augustus Jaspert, who must give every bill Royal Assent to make it law.

“I am confident that the most democratic process has been taken place through the Cyber Crime Amendment Act, and it should be ascended to. 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,” he stated.

“It was nothing that sped up or rushed. Yes, there were some concerns named, and I wrote back, and yes that bill needs to be assented to because while we are playing games, young people’s lives are being destroyed.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Press Institute were some of the international entities who voiced concerns on the amendments to the bill.

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7 Comments

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  1. Jay says:

    What about high penalties for gun crimes?

  2. VG says:

    This governor is a disappointment. All he does is pretend he likes us and is helping us but is really fighting against this government to try to destroy us.

    Like 1
    Dislike 4
    • Truth Teller says:

      No he is not a disappointment. He is however shining a light on corruption and nepotism. That’s why you don’t like him.

  3. Clearly says:

    I am now clear on this issue. Governor Assent to the Bill Now please. Our YOUTH lives & reputation depend on it.

  4. Getting this wrong says:

    This law could EASILY be used to oppress individuals and silence opposition.

    In the era of fake news and zero political integrity we should all be wary of these sorts of laws. Freedom of speech is valuable. Freedom as a whole is valuable. The Premier states that he may use this law to limit freedom of expression and information sharing.

    You want to stop defamation? Have a law on defamation.
    You want to stop cyber crime, have a law on cyber crime.
    Do not confuse the two.

  5. ? Lock and Key: ? Book says:

    He trying hard to get ahead and usurp the book that’s about to drop on them, but the “bitter truth” (title of book) must be told.

    Why not triple the penalties, this still will not detour us. What is good for one political party should be good for all political parties. Dirty politics will not be used for the benefit of one political party alone, then blocked once in power.

    Wait for it. The art of political war is to strike when least expected. When the book do drop, will be under ?. Do carryon for now…There is just too much wickedness in one place hiding in the crevices of Politics and Religious rhetoric, and it needs to be fully exposed.

    Understandable why soo many of our people lack the courage to change anything. Just look at what the government of the day is trying hard to do- silent freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

    As “getting it wrong” rightfully commented, “You want to stop defamation? Have a law on defamation. You want to stop cyber crime, have a law on cyber crime. Do not confuse the two.”

    And might we add, locking-down freedom of the press and free speech is tantamount to a communist state.

    Obviously black “wannabe” supremacy is live and well; and if not checked, can become worst than their counterparts- they just do not know when to stop.

    International standards have already been established, use those as guidelines and stop trying to reinvent the wheel to protect some political party interests.

    Back to silent mode for now.

  6. Whistleblower says:

    What about the whistleblower legislation we were promised? We need more transparency. This Cyber Crime can be used to silence critics.

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