The opposition leader in Dominica, Lennox Linton, has apologised for statements he made about an anti-terrorism bill which is expected to take to parliament next week for approval.
He said he made his comment after only a quick read of the bill.
It appears that Linton read of a part of the bill where a terrorist act is defined but missed or omitted a section where there are exceptions to such acts.
He had discussed the matter with Matt Peltier on Q95’s Talk on the Block radio show on Tuesday afternoon.
On Wednesday he confessed that he had only made a “quick read” of the bill and had noticed some red flags.
“Let me confess up front, Matt, that I at the time I spoke to you yesterday I could not tell you or give you the assurance that I had completed a thorough complete read of the bill because like I said it came to us on Monday afternoon and I immediately just looked at some provisions of it, especially where the offenses are concerned some red flags, so to speak, were raised,” he said on Q95’s The Hot Seat on Wednesday morning.
He added, “I had read, for example in Part 2 of the bill where a terrorist act is defined and it simply says, terrorist act means an act which constitutes an offense under Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4, so when I read that in my initial read, I immediately went to Part 2 and read offences which is what I read yesterday for you and which is what we discussed.”
He said after a “meeting of the minds of the National Executive (of the United Workers Party) on this bill yesterday, we are now satisfied one of the main concerns we have about the bill is in fact satisfied in the provision of the bill.”
“Let me say this clearly and issue it with all the sincerity that I can and to apologize to those who may have been misled by my omission yesterday acting out of a quick read that raised some red flags. The omission of what I was saying yesterday is at Section 2: 2 of the act which says that an act which disrupts any service and is committed in pursuance of a demonstration protest or stoppage of work and is not intended to result in any harm referred to Paragraph A of the definition of terrorist act shall not be considered a terrorist act,” Linton said
He said he is now happy to clarify the matter.
“I am happy to make the observation this morning to clarify the exception that we have been looking for is in fact contained in the similar pieces of legislation in the region, because we have looked at the Antigua legislation, we have looked at the Barbados legislation,” he remarked.