May 08, 2018 News
…says new Bill must conform to internationally-accepted Budapest Convention
Attorney-at-Law, Christopher Ram has recommended that Government produce a new Cybercrime Bill to the National Assembly that conforms to the internationally-accepted Budapest Convention.
According to Ram, coalition parties, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) “have used the ruse of a Cybercrime Bill to reintroduce Sedition Legislation nakedly seeking to protect not the State, but the Government”.
“That is not what cybercrime laws are about. My recommendation is that the entire Bill be scrapped and replaced by a Bill based on the Budapest Convention,” Ram stated.
Over 130 countries have accepted the Convention as a guide or have signed on to adopt the principles in their cybercrime legislation.
The Convention is the first international treaty on crimes committed via the Internet and other computer networks, dealing particularly with infringements of copyright, computer-related fraud, child pornography and violations of network security. It also contains a series of powers and procedures such as the search of computer networks and interception.
The Organisation of American States (OAS) through its ministerial working Group on cybercrime has been steering members towards the adoption of the Convention.
Ram said having read the report and the minutes of the Parliamentary Select Committee which reviewed the Bill and the Bill itself, the representatives who sat on the Committee did a rather superficial and poor job under the chairmanship of the Attorney General Basil Williams.
Government Members on the committee included Khemraj Ramjattan, Minister of Public Security; Nicolette Henry, Minister of Education; Michael Carrington and Audwin Rutherford.
The opposition members on the committee were Gail Teixeira, Chief Whip; Clement Rohee; Anil Nandlall and Gillian Burton-Persaud.
AIMING AT AFC
AFC Leader Raphael Trotman has stated that his party will not support the Sedition Clause (Clause 18) in the Cybercrime Bill while Ramjattan, the AFC Chairman, has countered the leader by stating his full support for the Bill.
Ram noted that Trotman must be aware that Ramjattan along with AFC MP Carrington were members of the Committee and that both were present and voted to retain the ‘dangerously offensive Clause’.
In fact, Ram pointed out that Ramjattan played a key role in the Parliamentary Committee, including referring the Bill to a lecturer at a meeting of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association which he attended, and also in offering guidance to the Committee that the Commonwealth has a standard Legislation/Model Act, and the Cybercrime Bill emanated from that Act.
“At best, Mr. Ramjattan could only have been referring to the 2002 Commonwealth Computer and Computer Related Crimes Model Law. Incidentally, a 2014 Discussion Paper on Cybercrime Model Laws prepared for the Cybercrime Convention Committee (T – CY), reports that the Commonwealth Model Law could not be found on the Commonwealth Secretariat’s website and has been of little relevance in terms of impact upon Commonwealth countries or even generally.”
Ram stated that he found Trotman’s statement offensive, because it represents a pattern of conduct in which Trotman and the leadership of the AFC seek to distance the Party whenever questions arise in the public over odious matters supported by the Party in private.
“Under the party’s duplicitous leadership, the policy is to support even the most reprehensible and outrageous acts of the coalition, and in the event there is public outrage, the reaction is distance, deny and disown,” Ram stated.
He noted that the AFC has done so in relation to Value-Added Tax (VAT) on education, the parking meter contract and the Esso/Hess and CNOOC/NEXEN petroleum contract.
Ram who played a leading role in the formation of the AFC said he is shocked to see what the party has become. He described the party as ‘opportunistic, self-serving and dishonest – seeking only to promote the interests and comforts of a few leading members’.
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