Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 19th 2015 Contents A5
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Amendments can be made to exclude
specific groups of people, media practi-
tioners included, from the prosecution
under the Cyber Crime Bill.
This was an option Government Whip
Dr Roodal Moonilal gave to members of the
media after the weekly caucus meeting at
the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair,
Stating that he did not want to speak out
of turn, Moonilal said: "You could also look
at exclusion clauses... where you can exclude
a group of people with elementary occu-
pation. You could even exclude by sector.
"There is a way you could build the leg-
islation to target who might be the people
most likely to offend as opposed to the peo-
ple who even if they offend may be a public
Moonilal said it was agreed at the caucus
that there would be a small team to deal
with the matter.
The team is headed by Communications
Minister Vasant Bharath and will include
Attorney General Garvin Nicholas, National
Security Minister Brigadier General Carl
Alfonso and Food Production Minister
Moonilal said a comprehensive discussion
was held at the caucus where Alfonso gave
a full account of the bill and the consul-
tations that took place.
He said over the weekend the caucus
also received communications from several
organisations giving suggestions about the
issue. However, Moonilal said the recom-
mendations were not as detailed as the cau-
cus would have wanted.
At 10 am tomorrow the team would meet
at the Ministry of Communications with
the executive from the Media Association
of T&T (MATT) and the T&T Publishers
and Broadcasting Association (TTPBA) to
discuss their issues with the bill.
The clauses Moonilal identified were 9,
13, 19 and 20.
"They would meet with MATT and
TTPBA to have a bit more detail on what
they believe to be the offending clauses and
the some of the clauses in some way that
may be abused or violate their rights in
some way," he said.
MATT and the TTPBA issued statements
objecting to parts of the bill which they
described as "worrying" and "may ultimately
result in the demise of our democracy."
"We are well aware over the years of the
harassment of journalists and it is not some-
thing we would want to sit back and leg-
"It is something we are very mindful of.
So we will strike a balance between creating
new offences and new laws to deal with a
new level of crime with the use of technology
and at the same time balancing rights and
work engines," Moonilal said.
He said the Government would not vote
on the bill tomorrow but would wait for
the report on the meeting with MATT and
He said next Monday the caucus would
receive a report from tomorrow s meeting
on where it could make the necessary
amendments in time for the Cyber Crime
Bill to be debated on Parliament next week
"We intend to meet next week Monday
to discuss the matter further so that if needs
be appropriate amendments are made before
we go to Parliament so that the debate may
continue because there are several speakers
who need to deal with separate issues.
"As you know this cyber crime legislation
is a comprehensive pack. We are dealing
with cyber bullying and a host of other
matters so that we can continue on Wednes-
day so that we could continue with inter-
ested parties on Wednesday morning," he
Moonilal reaffirmed Government never
intented to restrict the freedom of the press.
Dry fire hydrants are being blamed for ham-
pering firefighters from extinguishing a multi-
million dollar fire in the Trincity Industrial
Estate on Sunday night which left almost 200
employees of a major office furniture manu-
The fire at MDC-UM Business and Home
Furniture s building at Consol Drive, Macoya,
began around 9 pm and quickly spread as it
was fed by the company s stock, which was
stored in over 100,000 square feet of warehouse
In a brief interview with media personnel on
the scene of the fire, joint managing director
of the company, Richard Farah, claimed dry
hydrants surrounding the building prevented
firefighters from containing the blaze before it
spread to the entire building.
"When I arrived on the scene the whole build-
ing was not on fire but they (fire officers) could
not stop it because there was no water," Farah
He estimated the damage to the business and
its stock at $80 million and said almost the
same amount would be needed to rebuild.
While he was thankful that no employees
were injured in the blaze, Farah said it would
take some time to rebuild as over 85 per cent
of the building was gutted.
"We have been one of the biggest office fur-
niture manufacturers in the Caribbean for over
30 years. Right now, this is the worst time this
could happen because we are involved in fur-
nishing those big buildings in downtown Port-
of-Spain," Farah said as he suggested that the
fire may affect his company s work in retrofitting
the Government Campus Plaza.
Although fire investigators were still on the
scene up to late yesterday attempting to deter-
mine the cause of the fire, Farah suggested that
vagrants who sometimes sleep at the back of
the building at nights may have been respon-
"It is not the cause of the fire that is the
issue, there was just no water," a visibly frustrated
Contacted yesterday, communications man-
ager at the Water and Sewerage Authority
(WASA), Daniel Plenty, acknowledged the issue
with the fire hydrants.
However, he noted several water trucks were
dispatched to the fire to supplement the large
contingent of fire tenders which responded to
"We (WASA) have a close working relationship
with the Fire Services. Whenever there is a fire
we always send water trucks to assist," Plenty
He said the authority would be working with
Fire Services Department, which is tasked to
monitoring fire hydrants in the industrial estate,
to have the issue quickly addressed.
Investigations are continuing.
A 13-year old boy from Cacandee Road,
Felicity, was held yesterday by Chaguanas
police after being suspected of setting fire
to a building at the Chaguanas South Sec-
ondary School. The building, which housed
Forms Three and Five, burnt down.
Three other students were also taken to
the station as witnesses for questioning.
According to reports, smoke was seen
coming from a building housing three class-
rooms around 11 am and students were
evacuated. The prefabricated building was
quickly engulfed in flames and completely
destroyed. The Fire Services rushed to the
school and extinguished the blaze.
Central Division head, Sen Supt Johnny
Abraham, Inspector Terrence Williams and
Sgt Jitindra Tooleram visited the school and
detained the suspect, and took away three
witnesses for questioning. He was being
held at the Chaguanas Police Station up to
Ironically, the fire broke out while officers
and Education Ministry officials were at
the school to launch a National Schools
Anti-Bullying Campaign, a release from the
police s Public Affairs Unit said yesterday.
ASP Michael Pierre and officers from the
Community Policing Secretariat were in the
session with about 200 students in the
school s auditorium around 11.15 am when
the fire alarm was sounded.
Police said the eastern wing of the building
housing two Form Five and one Form Three
classes was on fire.
Govt holds hand on
Cyber Crime Bill
TTPBA, MATT to meet with ministry tomorrow
Teen held for
arson attack on
Chaguanas South Secondary
School students gather outside
the school's compound after the
school was evacuated during a fire
yesterday. PHOTO: COURTESY CNC3
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