Caswell knocks Sir David

Trade Unionist Caswell Franklyn is taking a swipe at chairman of the Law Reform Commission, Sir David Simmons, for the comments he made about the Cybercrime Bill during Monday’s hearing by the Joint Select Committee.

Franklyn, who has publicly voiced his opposition to the bill, told the DAILY NATION: “What David Simmons did in the Senate was not his finest hour.”

He took umbrage with Simmons’ defence of the Bill.

Sir David on Monday dismissed critics of the Bill, pointing out it did not block freedom of speech or breach their constitutional rights. The former Chief Justice said Barbadians were free to transmit data as long as it did not defame others or cause any of the distresses listed in the bill.

However, Franklyn stated: “The Bill cannot be defended in the way that he is saying – that Barbadians are free to transmit data as long as it did not defame or cause any of the distresses listed in the Bill. It doesn’t say defame and – it says or – so even if it doesn’t defame you but your comments on the computer can cause the person distress then you can find yourself in jail for seven years.”

More explicit

Quoting from the Bill, Franklyn said: “Section 19 of that Bill even makes it more explicit. It says a person who intentionally uses a computer system to disseminate any image or words not caring whether they are true or false and causes or is likely to cause or subject a person to ridicule contempt or embarrassment, is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $70 000 or to imprisonment for a term of seven years or both.”

He said: “Pray tell me how can you punish somebody for intentionally using a computer to tell the truth because the bill said whether it is true or not, if it causes distress and you intentionally do it, you are guilty of an offence. So it is not defamation, it is trying to choke off the people from speaking – it is trying to stop you from telling the truth. Now if it is true why you punish me for telling the truth?” he asked.


Franklyn, a former personal assistant to Sir David, further knocked the formation of a Joint Select Committee and his attendance at the hearing.

“So they are reflecting on that bill contrary to the standing orders . . . . He should not

be there. He was for all intents and purposes a very senior parliamentarian, he was Attorney General and he was also leader of Government Business – so in those two capacities he should know the standing orders of the House and the standing orders do not allow this monstrosity that they have calling a Joint Select Committee.

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