Digest for the month of April 2019

Your monthly digest on all legal technology news happening around the Caribbean.


*        In support of the Digital Assets and Registered Exchanges Bill, 2019 (DARE) The Minister of Finance, Peter Turnquest released a statement stating the draft legislation gives The Bahamas a competitive advantage in the world of digital asset solutions, as they become a growing, much-talked-about asset in the financial services sector. Click here to read more.

You can view the Digital Assets and Registered Exchanges Bill, 2019 here.


*     Bitt, the Barbados-based financial technology company, has signed an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the e-Governance Academy (eGA) in Estonia on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. This MOU will facilitate closer collaboration between the parties, towards achieving greater accessibility and efficiency in the public’s everyday interaction with their Government, in countries across the Caribbean.

Some other features of e-governance include secure digital archives of health and police records, land registry and electoral processes.

Click here to read more.

Cayman Islands

*        Legislators have raised concerns over the slow pace of Cayman’s planned CCTV upgrade project in order to tackle crime. Click here to read more.


*        Secretary-Treasurer of the Waterfront and Allied Workers Union (WAWU), Kertiste Augustus, has called on the Dominica Media and Communication Association (DMCA) to pursue the enactment of a Freedom of Information Act for Dominica. Click here to read more.


*        In the wake of increased cyberattacks on its systems, the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission is warning the public to ignore emails seeking personal information or money and report any such suspicious activity. Click here to read more.

*        Guyana Police Force’s (GPF’s) Cyber Crime Unit is currently investigating a several cases which include illegal activities such as the hacking of financial accounts and transferring of monies into fake accounts, fake Facebook profiles involved in threats, sharing of nude photographs without permission and a ransomware attack against a governmental institution. Click here to read more.


National Identification and Registration Act

The recent judgment can be viewed here.


*        Jamaica's Supreme Court ruled that aspects of the controversial National Identification and Registration Act (NIDS) are in violation of the Constitution and has declared the entire law null and void. Chief Justice Bryan Sykes said it was the unanimous decision of the Court that the mandatory requirement of NIDS for persons to submit biometric information is indeed a violation of the right to privacy, which is stipulated by the Constitution. Click here to read more.


*        OPPOSITION Leader Dr Peter Phillips says the Government should be aware that there are implications for the contract which it recently signed for the data processing of the proposed National Identification and Registration System (NIDS), as a result of the recent ruling by the Constitutional Court that the legislative framework for the system is null and void.

Dr Phillips further urged the Government not to persist in wasting taxpayers' resources, as it must determine a way forward for the legislation before proceeding further. Click here to read more.

*        The Office of the Prime Minister, in a statement said it was respectful of the Constitutional court's ruling in respect of the 2017 National Identification and Registration Act, and will spend some time carefully reviewing the judgment, after which a more fulsome response will be forthcoming. Click here to read more.


*        Almost two weeks after the Constitutional Court struck down the National Identification and Registration Act, which was to allow the introduction of a National Identification System (NIDS) in Jamaica, the Andrew Holness Administration is still to decide on its next course of action amid reports of a split in the Cabinet over the response. Click here to read more.


*        The Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ), Jamaica Chamber of Commerce and the Jamaica Manufactures and Exporters Association say bipartisan support is necessary to settle contentious differences in the legislation and avoid provisions which breach the Constitution. Click here to read more.


Other news

*        A web portal for victims to report cybercrimes or cyber incidents will become operational by month-end. Head of the Jamaica Cyber Incident Response Team (Ja-CIRT), Dr  Moniphia Hewling, who made the disclosure on Friday, said that her team is getting the portal ready with the domain name system (DNS) being ironed out. Click here to read more.


*        Canadian company Blockstation and the JSE signed an agreement paving the way for the Jamaican exchange to become one of the few in the world to allow live trading of cryptocurrencies. Apart from the buying and selling of coins, the Blockstation platform will allow local companies to list their assets in what is called a security token offering. Click here to read more.


*        Tesha Miller has filed a lawsuit against Television Jamaica (TVJ) claiming that he was defamed by the media house. Click here to read more.

*        ICT experts are advocating for a levy on the different tiers of commercial Internet users to swing the pendulum against net neutrality.

Sheldon Powe, immediate past president of the Jamaica Computer Society (JCS) argues that equality is a misnomer because the issue of regulating net neutrality must be put in place. Therefore, Jamaica should not fool itself into thinking otherwise.

Click here to read more.

Trinidad & Tobago

*        A fe­male Spe­cial Re­serve Po­lice (SRP) has won her law­suit over her sus­pen­sion by for­mer po­lice com­mis­sion­er Stephen Williams, af­ter a provoca­tive pho­to­graph of her in uni­form was shared on so­cial me­dia two years ago. De­liv­er­ing an oral judge­ment at the Hall of Jus­tice in Port-of-Spain yes­ter­day, High Court Judge Devin­dra Ram­per­sad ruled that Williams act­ed op­pres­sive­ly when he de­cid­ed to sus­pend Sophia Dun­can pend­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­to the is­sue.Click here to read more.

*     THE TTPS Cyber Crime Unit is warning the public that they are liable to pay a $2,000 fine or spend six months in jail, if they are caught bullying people online. Speaking earlier at the weekly police press briefing at the Police Administration Building in Port of Spain, Cpl Marvin Walker reminded the public of Section 30 of the Offences Against the Person Act which speaks to harassment. Click here to read more.


*        The Organization of American States (OAS) and the Regional Alliance for Free Expression and Information signed an agreement this month to work together in the defense of fundamental rights such as free expression and access to information in the Hemisphere. Click here to read more.


1.    ICO’s in Barbados By Rasheed Griffith

Barbados should carefully consider policies to promote the utilization of alternative capital formation arrangements.

The Barbados Stock Exchange has announced its interest in providing a platform for cryptoasset trading within Barbados. While this should be fundamentally embraced we have to step back a little to understand the realistic prospects of this move. In this article, I will give an overview of the key concepts and instruments involved in the cryptoasset trading debate and then briefly outline how they should be treated in Barbados.

Read more here.


2.    Intellectual Property and the future of new businesses in Guyana by Barrington Braithwaite

I WAS invited to do an interview for television on the cultural industries subvention and some reflections of copyright. Though it was never aired on TV it was relegated to the radio, and I got some calls by phone and stops on the street by people who just didn’t understand what Intellectual Property Rights mean. We are behind the world when it comes to believing and understanding that it is more likely that someone with money will steal your manifest idea and there’s nothing you can do about it. 

Every Industrial innovation, ICT programme built, traditional healing method; every novel, photograph, piece of clothing and accessory designed, artwork, play written, song composed, furniture and Jewellery designed, fabric design, tapestry and recipe that summons attention carries with it a potential industry, if legally protected.

Read more here.

Around the World

Tens of millions of people use smart speakers and their voice software to play games, find music or trawl for trivia. Millions more are reluctant to invite the devices and their powerful microphones into their homes out of concern that someone might be listening. Sometimes, someone is.

Amazon.com Inc. employs thousands of people around the world to help improve the Alexa digital assistant powering its line of Echo speakers. The team listens to voice recordings captured in Echo owners’ homes and offices. The recordings are transcribed, annotated and then fed back into the software as part of an effort to eliminate gaps in Alexa’s understanding of human speech and help it better respond to commands.

Read more here.

Digest for the month of May 2019

Digest for the month of March 2019