Our Readers' Opinions
August 5, 2016
People, freedom of speech comes with responsibility

Editor: Senator Zita Barnwell is saying that freedom of speech and expression is under threat in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). It is being said that Vincentians’ rights are being challenged.

Sometimes I wonder if freedom of expression allows persons to say or post anything that is demeaning on social media. Imagine persons can take to social media and make threats on persons who are in authority in SVG and numerous Vincentians think that is wrong.{{more}}

Paul Scrubb, aka “I-madd,” is alleged to have made threatening statements about Dr Gonsalves and his family. Madam Editor, under our laws, one is assumed innocent until proven guilty, but ignorance of the law is inexcusable. While persons could and should express their opinion, they must be very mindful of their responsibilities when they decide to voice their opinion and take into consideration that they might be infringing on other persons’ rights. If what is being said about Mr Paul “I-madd” Scrubb is true, then it’s very frightening that we are allowing ourselves to become this way, when we use social media to attack and butcher each other.

There are Vincentians who are crying foul about the charges laid against Paul Scrubb; the charges are very serious. Sedi­tion and uttering a threat to kill Dr Gonsalves and his family are serious offences; if those alleged words were used against Mr Eustace and his family what would the same Vincentians who are crying foul say? Everyone has rights and is entitled to his or her opinion, but we need to bear in mind that we have laws that govern us.

I’m of the opinion that some Vincentians use social media in a negative way and they should discontinue this practice. If one pays attention to persons who post negative things on social media, they tend to be supporters of the NDP, so I’m suggesting to the leaders of the NDP to condemn such postings and to discourage their supporters overseas from using social media in that manner. This case with Mr Paul Scrubb has national interest, but it is inconveniencing Mr Scrubb.

This post, allegedly made by Paul Scrubb created so much inconvenience to him; I’m hoping that users of social media use this as an example and in the future post things that abide by the laws of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Dr Adrian Fraser asked “Who’s next?” in last week’s edition of the newspaper, I found that question very strange. I’m hoping it’s not me he’s referring to, because I’m a critical supporter of Dr Gonsalves and the ULP, because he’s suggesting that once you’re critical about them, they deal with you as they see fit. Is Dr Fraser condoning what Paul Scrubb is alleged to have done because it was pointing towards Dr Gonsalves? While I’m hoping that the justice system would be fair to Mr Scrubb, it’s time for Vincentians to encourage each other to be wise and mindful about what they do or say because everything has consequences.

It’s unfair for persons to say that the charges Mr Scrubb is facing are connected to the Cybercrime Bill which is now before Parliament. It’s not a law, so it can’t have an effect on that situation and those persons who think that charges by the authorities that Mr Scrubb is facing will provoke confrontation, you’re dead wrong! He is charged under the criminal code and I’m hoping when this case reaches before the court, our justice system would be fair and just, because I man not mad!

Kingsley De Freitas