The Cybercrime Act is deliberately being used to single out and muzzle those who are critical of the government, says Opposition Member of Parliament (MP), Geeta Chandan-Edmond.
During her budget presentation earlier today, the former Magistrate said that the “misuse” of the act has now sparked fear into the hearts of those outspoken Opposition MP and affiliates.
“People cannot, even I cannot post on Facebook in peace…Since August 2 , Guyanese have lost the basic indulgence of speaking their minds on social media…I cannot post on Facebook in peace, because the government’s cyber security team is scouting our pages. They’re scouting the pages of ordinary Guyanese to abuse the Cybercrime Act,” she told the House.
Ironically, that Act was introduced by the former APNU+AFC government, now in Opposition, of which the MP is a member. But Chandan-Edmond said that it was never the intention of the then government to use the legislation to go after political opponents.
“It was intended to stop child pornography, the sharing of nudes without permission, and the use of electronic devices for terrorist activities…It was never envisaged to be used to protect thin-skinned, snowflakes in the government from emotional abuse and trauma because they are subject to public critique and ridicule. We call on the government to stop abusing the Cybercrime Act. We want to return to the simple pleasure of posting our views, our candid views on social media and in a very responsible way also,” the former Magistrate said.
Talk Show host and activist Gavin Matthews was charged last year with using a computer system to cause damage to the reputation of Culture, Youth and Sport Minister Charles Ramson Jr.
On July 16, 2021, APNU+AFC MP, Annette Ferguson, was placed on self-bail when she appeared before a City Magistrate to answer a cybercrime charge.
Opposition MP, Sherod Duncan was also recently charged and placed on $200,000 bail for allegedly referring to the Information Technology (IT) Manager of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) as a ‘jagabat’ and ‘trench Crappo’.