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‘Governor cannot stop legislation’ – Dr Kedrick D. Pickering

- Opposition wants amendment of Criminal Code assented to before new Computer Misuse law is passed
Dr the Hon Pickering made the statements today March 13, 2014 during the debate in the House of Assembly on the Criminal Code Amendment Act 2014. Today’s sitting is the Fifth Sitting of the Third Session of the Second House of Assembly. The Bill was taken through its stages and passed with amendments. Photo: VINO/File
Representative for the First District Honourable Andrew A. Fahie, speaking during the debate today, said, “based on procedure I see this as taking a risk
Representative for the First District Honourable Andrew A. Fahie, speaking during the debate today, said, “based on procedure I see this as taking a risk". Photo: VINO/File
Representative for the Third District Honourable Julian Fraser RA asked whether the Computer Misuse and Cyber Crime Act 2013 could go forward if the Criminal Code Amendment Act 2013 is not passed and assented to. Photo: VINO/File
Representative for the Third District Honourable Julian Fraser RA asked whether the Computer Misuse and Cyber Crime Act 2013 could go forward if the Criminal Code Amendment Act 2013 is not passed and assented to. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Dr the Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering is of the view that His Excellency Governor William Boyd McCleary cannot arbitrarily refuse to assent to legislation passed in the House of Assembly and noted it is standard procedure for the Governor to sign the bills into law.

Dr the Hon Pickering made the statements today March 13, 2014 during the debate in the House of Assembly on the Criminal Code Amendment Act 2014. Today’s sitting is the Fifth Sitting of the Third Session of the Second House of Assembly. The Bill was taken through its stages and passed with amendments.

Government in bringing the amendment to the House of Assembly aims to remove a section of the Criminal Code that deals with computer misuse to make way for a new Act called the Computer Misuse and Cyber Crime Act so that there will be no conflicts between the two pieces of legislation.

“I just wanted to say something about the Governor assenting to a piece of legislation. That is a standard procedure. The Governor can’t decide not to assent to a piece of legislation just because he doesn’t want to assent. There are clear procedural rules [that state] under which conditions [he could refuse],” said Dr Pickering. “He cannot sit from there and decide he doesn’t like what we are doing and he isn’t assenting,” said Dr. Pickering.

Minister for Education and Culture Honourable Myron V. Walwyn speaking during the debate today said, “We are living in a world where computers are [all around]. There is a very important privacy element that goes along with it.”

Hon Walwyn said that for a jurisdiction which revolves around financial services such as the Virgin Islands, it is very important that there are laws to protect what is stored on computers. He pointed out that the new law will also be for the benefit of people in their personal business affairs.

Representative for the Third District Honourable Julian Fraser RA asked whether the Computer Misuse and Cyber Crime Act 2013 could go forward if the Criminal Code Amendment Act 2013 is not passed and assented to. Hon Fraser said, “I see us preempting a decision by the Governor, what if the Governor does not assent to it? Do we come back here again?”

Dr the Honourable Christopher P. Malcolm, Attorney General, said that there is nothing wrong with assenting to both bills at the same time.

Representative for the First District Honourable Andrew A. Fahie, speaking during the debate today, said, “based on procedure I see this as taking a risk.”

He said that the old law must be repealed in totality before the new act is passed. “We need to make sure that whatever we repealing, that it is approved by the House and assented to by the Governor before we take it any further,” said Hon Fahie.

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