Your monthly digest on all legal technology news happening around the Caribbean.
* For the first time, litigants, advocates and legal representatives accessing the Bahamas Industrial Tribunal will be able to file their cases anytime, from anywhere, including the Family Islands, following the launch of an e-filing and case management system powered by software technology created by APEX – the Caribbean agency for court technology solutions. Click here to read more.
* Government will spend “just about one million dollars” on an e-filing software developed by the Caribbean Court of Justice to slash the time for litigation to work its way through Barbadian courts, Attorney General Dale Marshall has announced. Click here to read more.
* An interview with Barbadian based Bitt’s CEO Rawdon Adams on its efforts to garner attention towards a regulated Barbadian digital currency, working with financial institutions and the effect of Facebook's Libra on the Company. Click here to read more.
* Government’s planned introduction of value added tax (VAT) on online transactions has been delayed again. The authorities were to have started collecting this revenue from May 1, but Central Bank Governor Cleviston Haynes yesterday revealed that following some “teething issues” the measure had been pushed back. Click here to read more.
British Virgin Islands
* During an Aug. 1 House of Assembly meeting, legislators touted a bill that they said would help deter cyberbullying, character assassination, electronic blackmail and other nefarious online behaviour. But since then, four international media watchdogs have strongly criticised the proposed law, claiming that it would stifle free speech in the Virgin Islands and hinder the media from doing its job. Click here to read more.
* An email purporting to be from a police complaints unit alerting residents to a supposed complaint against them, is a scam, according to the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service. Click here to read more.
* The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT) recently focused on the digital transformation of the Caribbean region – and its own role – when several of its personnel attended the 35th Annual CANTO Conference held in Trinidad. Click here to read more.
* The Ministry of the Presidency has warned the public about a fake profile of Prime Minister David Granger asking the public to send money transfers via Mobile Money (MMG) in exchange for housing. Click here to read more.
* Government intends to establish a national, digital register of cases which will allow the force to better solve cases and track criminal elements, according to Minister of Public Security and second Vice President, Khemraj Ramjattan. Click here to read more.
* Lost in the controversy surrounding the National Identification System and the legal challenge to the act on which it was pinned was another critical piece of legislation, the Data Protection Bill. Arguably just as important for everyday life in Jamaica, the bill was designed to protect personal data and help govern how it is used. Click here to read more.
* Science, Energy and Technology Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams, says that the Government is “moving rapidly” to complete the Data Protection Bill, which would better enable Jamaicans to safeguard their personal information online. Click here to read more.
* Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, recently announced the launch of the Companies Office of Jamaica’s (COJ) newly created Electronic Business Registration Form (eBRF). Click here to read more.
St. Kitts & Nevis
* St Kitts & Nevis’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs is pleased to announce Canadian officials will be in the Federation during the week of the 26th of August to carry out biometric processing for persons wishing to obtain visas to travel to Canada. Click here to read more.
Trinidad & Tobago
* Whether or not online platforms such as Facebook, Google and Twitter should be taxed by the Government, as suggested by businessman Norman Sabga, is not an easy question to resolve, said Allyson West, Minister of Public Administration and Minister in the Ministry of Finance. Click here to read more.
* The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has launched an online page to streamline reporting suspicious financial activities for reporting entities and the public as a whole. Click here to read more.
1. Trinidad & Tobago split over whether services like Facebook should pay local taxes – Can you have a level playing field on the Internet by Janine Mendes-Franco
In mid-August 2019, the head of one of Trinidad and Tobago's largest conglomerates spoke out against online services like Facebook earning revenue in the country without being made to pay local taxes.
Norman Sabga, chair of ANSA McAL, which owns Guardian Media Limited (which comprises a daily newspaper, a television station and a radio network) among other companies, believes that Facebook undermines the impact and profits of local media houses that make investments and create jobs in Trinidad and Tobago. While some companies like Facebook do have local offices in some of their larger markets, it is not the norm. Read more here.
Amazon will pass along the costs of a new French digital tax to its third-party sellers beginning on October 1. The new policy applies to Amazon sellers based in France, as well as US-based sellers shipping to French customers, said Peter Hiltz, Amazon's director of international tax policy and planning, at a hearing held by the US Trade Representative in Washington. Click here to read more.