BELIZE CITY, Mon. Sept. 28, 2020– At last Friday’s sitting of the House of Representatives, the Cyber Crime Bill 2020 was returned to the House and received bipartisan support from members of the House. The Cyber Crime Bill covers a wide range of internet crimes and will seek to protect vulnerable groups from sexual and psychological abuse and protect confidential data by limiting or restricting the ability of private and public entities to access such data.
The Bill, which is aimed at addressing a scourge of illegal online activities in Belize, was returned from the House Committee, where committee members indicated that the only modification of the law they were requesting was stricter penalties for offenders.
The area representative for Lake Independence, Hon. Cordel Hyde, rose to comment on the importance of this bill and also drove the point home that persons in the public would unknowingly be committing these online offenses if a wide-reaching education campaigned is not carried out.
“Madame Speaker, this bill is comprehensive, game-changing. The rules as we know it will never be the same. I think it is important for us to spell out some to the public, what’s inside this bill. No longer will anyone be allowed to take pictures of someone’s private parts without their permission and publish that all over social media, to harass, ridicule, embarrass, intimidate or blackmail a person,” remarked Hon. Hyde.
Hyde added,” No longer will anyone be allowed to threaten public, personal, or private information to extort or cause ridicule or shame to another person. No longer will anyone be allowed to disseminate information they know to be false with the intent to embarrass or harm someone’s reputation.
“No longer will anyone be allowed to lure children into child pornography or to engage in a sexual conversation with a child. No longer will anyone be allowed to arrange a meeting with a child for the purpose of abusing or engaging in sexual activities with the child even if you take no step to actually affect this meeting.”
“This legislation is strong and is far-reaching; if you commit any of these offenses, you will go to jail and you will go to jail for long,” he said.
The Minister of Education, Youth, and Sports, Patrick Faber, commented, “The changes that we made in the committee were basically to say, Madam Speaker, that we disagree with those who brought it to this point, that in fact, we thought the penalties ought to be stiffer, and we want to send the signal that these cybercrimes are no joke, and I agree with all the colleagues so far who said we need to educate the population on what these crimes are.”
He added, “We need to let them know that when they are caught doing this, that the penalties are going to be stiff.”