Friday, July 12, 2013

Cabinet approves bill to amend the Libel and Defamation Act

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said Thursday cabinet has approved the bill to amend the Libel and Defamation Act. She told reporters the approval was made at the weekly cabinet meeting.

She also said no cabinet minister was involved in talks with the Guardian Media with respect to the Guardian's editorial policy. The Prime Minister said she questioned ministers about the matter

"Every minister was at that meeting present today (Thursday) said no they never met,” the PM said. "There’s been no political interference," she added.

She was responding to questions from reporters during a walkabout in the Chaguanas West constituency to support the UNC candidate, Khadijah Ameen. Some media reports claimed that 
two ministers met with the Guardian board last Friday to discuss editorial direction. 

"So far, not a single minister has admitted they met. They all said they did not meet,” Persad-Bissessar said. She acknowledged that some government ministers have had problems with stories that the Guardian reported. However she said that is their right. 

She reiterated government's commitment to protection of the media and noted that amending the libel act is an indication of the Government’s commitment to press freedom in T&T.

The PM promised in May this year to amend the act to remove Sections 9 and 10 of the Libel and Defamation Act, while keeping Section 8.

Section 8 of the Libel and Defamation Act states: "If any person maliciously publishes any defamatory libel, knowing the same to be false, he is liable on conviction to imprisonment for two years and to pay such fine as the court directs."

Section 9 states: "If any person maliciously publishes any defamatory libel, upon conviction thereof he is liable to pay a fine and to imprisonment for one year."

Reporters also asked the Prime Minister if she is worried about the 'green surprise' that Jack Warner has promised for Friday's mass meeting.

There are continuing rumours that some UNC MPs will join Warner's new Independent Liberal Party (ILP). Persad-Bissessar said it is a free country and people were free to go where they want. 

She also promised that the Local Government Election would be held when it is constitutionally due because her government holds elections when they are due.

The term of the local government bodies ends on July 26 and the election must be held by October 26.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai