Turn yourself in to the police! That's the advice Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has given to the 14-year-old girl who posted a Facebook video death threat aimed at Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar. The teen, who posted the video on Thursday, apologised yesterday after Ramlogan said the issue was being sent to the Police Commissioner for action. The situation has prompted the Government to start preparing laws to prevent abuse of the Internet to spread hate and violence. The girl's video contained comments indicating that a sniper would shoot the PM and there would be no evidence.
At yesterday's daily state of emergency media briefing, Ramlogan said the video also included racial statements. The AG had noted the girl's video in observing that people were posting items on the Internet, inciting violence. Saying he'd received an apology yesterday from the girl on his Facebook page, Ramlogan said: "As sorry as I might be for her action, and as disgusted and disappointed as some may feel by it, what you must do now is turn yourself in to the police and let them deal with it as it's a most serious matter. "This is a very grave mistake," he said. "I ask you and the best thing you can do is turn yourself in to the police and let the law take its course...and pray.
"God will always have mercy and there'll always be another door to open in life." On whether the Prime Minister would press charges against the girl, Ramlogan said the matter would be determined by the Director of Public Prosecutions. Ramlogan said the Government had received messages from its embassies on the issue as it had gone international, since Facebook was not confined to T&T. "How we deal with these questions is not a matter that can be trivialised," he said. He noted that teenagers were arrested in the UK by Scotland Yard for inciting and inflammatory Internet statements to encourage violence.
He said two men in their 20s in England were also sentenced to four years' jail for using Facebook to incite rioting and violence. Noting that UK Prime Minister David Cameron said the use of social media for violence must be stopped, Ramlogan said the UK had enacted legislation on the matter. Ramlogan said he had asked the Chief Parliamentary Counsel and the Law Reform Commission to draft laws for Parliament for regulations to monitor social networking sites.
This will ensure they are not being abused and misused by people with agendas and sinister motives to invite people to form gangs via the Internet. "Use of the Internet to spread hatred and incite violence and seditious matters is something we must now monitor as T&T is part of the global village and we must live up to date with the times," the AG said. "The intention is not to curtail freedom of expression, it's to focus on persons who misuse the technology for illegal acts and encouraging conspiracies and Internet gangs."