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Grenada parliament withdraws controversial sections of Electronic Crimes Bill
Published on March 8, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

ST GEORGE'S, Grenada -- Grenada’s House of Representatives on Thursday withdrew controversial sections of the Electronic Crimes Bill.

The Bill was amended in the lower house of parliament, removing sections 6, 16 and 25.

The changes are said to be consistent with a promise made by the administration.

“So after listening to those voices and whenever I travelled out the first question being asked of me with the media concern is what are you doing about this? I assured my members that we were going to move to remove those sections,” Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell told parliament.

“We found that there was enough in the act to create some incentives for not breaking that law which we have passed. But since we felt that there were concerns we therefore decided to come here today to meet our commitment to those who were promise that we are going to do so. So they will know when this government says something. It means it,” he said.

Local, regional and international media watchdogs have been protesting the presence of the controversial sections of the bill.

Section 6 sought to punish persons with a maximum one year sentence and/or a fine of up to $100,000 for sending “offensive” or menacing messages by means of electronic communications.

Section 16 sought to punish persons with a maximum three year sentence for electronic stalking.

Section 25, on the other hand, provided police officers with the power to arrest persons without a warrant on suspicion of committing an offence.

“It was felt that that (section 25) was not really critical… don’t need to have that there because the police officer in the normal course of business does in fact have the right to arrest persons under the same condition. So there was no necessity, really for going forward,” Mitchell said.

Among members of parliament rising in support of the bill were Tobias Clement and Nickolas Steele.

"We are now placing the responsibility of proper scrutiny of media into the hands of the media, with this bill," said Steele.
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