Sep 24, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act (AML/CFT Act) and the Cybercrime Act are among the set of laws that are to be reviewed and amended. This is according to Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall.
The AG disclosed the aforementioned on Tuesday night during his weekly programme, “Issues in the news.”
The AG stated that he believes that some of Guyana’s laws have to be reviewed, because he thinks that they are repulsive. “Many of those laws were passed during the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+ AFC) tenure, and we have to get them together and remove those excesses from the law,” Minister Nandlall added.
According to him, the laws that will be amended are the AML/CFT Act, the Cybercrime Act, among others. He noted that there are aspects of the Cybercrime Act that must be reviewed. “I can recall when we were in opposition, we were opposed to certain provisions in the Cybercrime Act and oftentimes, I reflect on those components of our law that have to be reviewed,” the Minister said.
In July 2018, the former Government had used its majority to pass the contentious Bill, with an amendment excising a controversial sedition clause. Despite the amendment to the sedition clause, the then PPP Opposition had stated that the amendment did not go far enough.
Section 18, Subsection (1) (a) of the Bill was subject of intense criticism from the then Opposition. That section had originally provided a sedition clause, which stated that a person commits an offence of sedition, punishable by imprisonment for five years, if the person, whether in or out of Guyana, intentionally publishes, transmits or circulates by use of a computer system or any other means, a statement or words, either spoken or written, a text, video, image, sign, visible representation, or other thing, that brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law in Guyana.
However, that subsection was later removed by way of an amendment by former AG, Basil Williams. Along the same lines, the divisive Cybercrime Bill was passed, but is expected to be further amended by the Government.
Moreover, the AG pointed out that while they are aspects of the Cybercrime Act that must be amended, he noted that the AML/CFT Act has a lot of immoderation clauses that need to be amended – one such part he noted is the clause where the authorities can go into someone’s bank account.
While amending some of the laws is something that the Government intends to do, the AG noted that this cannot be achieved overnight. He stated that first the Government will have to remove the offending clauses before amending the law. He also disclosed that there is a unit at his chambers with responsibility to review some of the laws that were passed from 2015 to 2020, and to highlight the offensive issues in those laws. According to the AG, this will then lead to the selected clauses being brought up for discussion and possibly removed from Guyana’s legislative landscape.
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