Senator Fitz-Henley calls for amendments to public mischief law
KINGSTON, Jamaica— Senator Abka Fitz-Henley is calling for amendments to critical pieces of legislation that he believes will discourage people from creating public mischief, particularly in the digital age.
Making his maiden presentation, as he opened the 2023/24 State of the Nation Debate in the Senate on Friday, Fitz-Henley called for amendments to the public mischief law.
“The state of the nation is such that misinformation is abound, people are willing to send fake news in order to cause significant public disorder and major reputational damage and some merely to bring attention to themselves,” he stated.
He proposed that the amendments should take into consideration the digital age and how some people use technology to create public disorder.
“Sometimes you talk to the police, and they say this individual went online and created significant public mischief. Case in point happened in Ocho Rios not too long ago, but they cannot charge that individual under the public mischief law, because a key element of that is that a false complaint has to be filed with the police,” Fitz-Henley said.
“I’m of the view that the public mischief law has to be urgently amended to make it fit for purpose, even as we are over two decades in the 21st century. Other countries have done it, it’s time that we get it done,” he added.
Fitz-Henley also supported the call for Jamaica to consider taking legislative steps to outlaw the mischievous use of Artificial Intelligence.
“We need to amend our law to treat with the misuse of any similar technology and even as we contemplate the state of the nation, I think these steps need to be taken and taken quickly to secure public order and the good functioning of society even in the digital space,” he said.
Fitz-Henley also called for amendments to the Integrity Commission law to bar former politically exposed persons from being appointed to any office within the Commission.