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Rowley: Let’s Look at All Old Laws

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PRIME Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley has suggested that the not only the Sedition Act but all old laws should be looked at.

Speak­ing at the Trinidad and Tobago Po­lice Ser­vice’s In­de­pen­dence Day function at the Po­lice Ad­min­is­tra­tion build­ing on Sackville Street, Port-of-Spain, Rowley said, “The biggest con­ver­sa­tion in Trinidad and To­ba­go to­day is how old the Sedi­tion Act is.

“And it’s time to get rid of it. Well then if that is how we ap­proach it, we might as well go with the whole bas­ket.

“Let’s get rid of the Tres­pass Act, that’s kin­d of old too. Let’s get rid of the act for mur­der and crime. And while we’re at it, let’s get rid of the act which speaks to com­mon as­sault, which dates way back to the days of King John and the Magna Car­ta.”

Pub­lic Ser­vices As­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent Wat­son Duke has been charged with sedi­tion for com­ments he made last No­vem­ber in re­la­tion to jobs at TTEC, TSTT and WASA.

Duke ap­peared in the Port-of-Spain Mag­is­trates’ Court on Fri­day and was grant­ed $250,000 bail.

Since then there has been much pub­lic de­bate on whether the Sedi­tion Act, which was passed in 1920, is out­dat­ed and should be re­vamped to cater to free­dom of speech as en­shrined in the Con­sti­tu­tion.

Row­ley said, “I don’t want to get in­volved in the pro­ceed­ings of the in­nards of the court, but as the pop­u­la­tion is ex­cit­ed about get­ting rid of the Sedi­tion Act, I want to ask cit­i­zens, is it the act it­self that is the prob­lem?

“Or is it al­right for a cit­i­zen-head of one sec­tor of the coun­try – to make dis­parag­ing and dam­ag­ing state­ments of an­oth­er sec­tor be­cause ‘it’s my right and free­dom to do so?’ And is it my right to say that if I lose my job, the end re­sult would be X, Y, Z?’’

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