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Feb 24, 2017

Government Moves to Address “Cyber Crimes”

The chorus of disapproval in the wake of the social media spectacle is forcing lawmakers to look carefully at new legislation to address the issue of cyber bullying.  As it stands, Belize’s laws do not cover internet crimes, allowing for online users to virtually get away with these offenses.  Earlier today, Solicitor General Nigel Hawke spoke of a taskforce that is being established to look at the issue of cyber laws.


Nigel Hawke, Solicitor General

“We’ve just discussed that there’s a committee set up that is looking at the issue of cyber crime legislation but it’s at the stage where it’s just a number of multi-sectoral groups which have been discussing the issue with the view of coming up with a final policy position to take to Cabinet for approval.  At some stage there will be some cyber crime bill or cyber security bill.  That is the hope, but it’s still on the horizon.”


Nigel Hawke


“And are you able to share who are a part of or who are the stakeholders that are being tapped?”


Nigel Hawke

“Well I think it’s members from [the Ministry of] Human Development, you have us, you have women’s groups and so on.  A number of different agencies will be involved in the consultations in getting to that process.”



“How long will it be before any such legislation is passed?”


Nigel Hawke

“Difficult to say.  Let’s say another two or three months you will be hearing something from us in terms of there’s a proposal or a policy going forward to Cabinet.”


Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General

“If I could just add to that.  We have to be fair.  Writing legislation and passing laws is not like you’re going to buy a pound of rice, you know.  Yoh noh go eena di shop, yoh give dalla and get yoh pound a rice.  Ih noh work that quickly, that instantaneously.  We have to make sure that the laws that we write and propose for passing are, you know, comprehensive.  For example, there’s this cheaters thing that they have and there was a minor on that thing.  Who do we hold responsible for that minor?  The parents, the person who took it?  What if the minor herself took the video and posted it?  Who do we hold responsible?  So it’s wide ranging and wide reaching.  We have to make sure that when we’re talking about passing legislation it’s not something that for all practical purposes can be done right now.  I spoke to the D.P.P. yesterday about it and we are looking into seeing if we can amend, make a simple amendment into the criminal code for right now to tackle minors being on Facebook or social media.  But, da Belize we deh you know.  If you were to prosecute everybody who had a bad thing to say about somebody else on Facebook everybody woulda deh da jail or di get sued because that’s all social media is used for, bashing people and outing people.  But we have to make sure that when crimes are being committed or things that are of such an indecent nature that it upsets us that we have to find the laws to address it.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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