Statement from Hamlet Mark, Senior Adviser on Information to the Prime Minister, on the issue of the Electronic Crimes Bill.
The Government of Grenada, and especially Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, remain committed to making the adjustments to the Electronic Crimes Bill that will eliminate any clauses that appear to infringe on the concept of a free media, or that seeks to criminalise libel.
We had hoped that the amendment would have been before the parliament at the last sitting, but it was not included on the Order Paper because of administrative delays at the legal department.
Given the latest developments, the Prime Minister has again instructed that the preparations are completed and that all concerned ensure that the matter will be on the agenda for the next sitting of parliament.
The decision to make the amendments was taken after the initial bill was passed in the parliament.
The consequent assent by the Governor General is almost an automatic administrative development that is handled largely through the office of the parliament.
There is no precedence under Grenadian statutes where the Prime Minister’s office could have stopped the assent, once it was passed in parliament.
What the policy makers can do is make the amendment in the parliament, which we are completely committed to doing.
We have transmitted that position to the Grenada Media Workers Association, and we have been in constant contact with the body throughout the period. We have, at some times, shared its frustration with the slow pace of the entire process.
In fact, we have another meeting with an executive committee of MWAG on Friday to ensure that the amendments, we are all committed to, are indeed comprehensive.
Neither the Office of the Prime Minister, nor my own personal position from where I sit, has a contradictory or adversarial position to what MWAG and such other interested parties are advocating.
We are confident that the issue will be cleared at short order; and the commitment made will be kept.