Attorney General, Senior Counsel Basil William today said he intends to return the contentious Cyber Crime Bill to Cabinet for it to be reviewed and for possible changes to be made before it is sent back to the National Assembly for debate and passage.
The Bill has attracted widespread criticism for a sedition clause.
In its current form, the Bill makes it an offense for persons to use a computer to excite disaffection to the government. But the administration in the face of criticism has argued that it does not affect freedom of expression.
Today, the Attorney General said he alone cannot address the concerns raised and therefore he will be engaging Cabinet to make possible changes.
“This is transparency and good governance at work,” he declared.
The Bill was first tabled int he National Assembly in 2016 by Williams but was sent to a Special Select Committee for review and changes.
The Attorney General had chaired the Special Select Committee where the Bill was being addressed for the last two years.
He is baffled as to why the same PPP Opposition members who supported the Bill in the Committee would now raise objections to it.
But the PPP itself had admitted that its members “dropped the ball” in finalizing the Bill for presentation to the House.
Local transparency watchdog, Transparency Institute Guyana Inc., and several other activists have called for the scrapping of the sedition clause in the Cybercrime Bill
Persons are resisting Section 18 (1) (a) of the Bill, which indicates that a person commits the offense of sedition if he brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law in Guyana.
According to Section 18 (1), a person can commit the offence whether in or out of Guyana by intentionally publishing, transmitting or circulating 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.
The penalty ranges from four months in prison to a life sentence where death occurs.