Ramlogan also announced plans to introduce specific criminal offences to combat the formation of what he termed “Facebook gangs” comprising persons who have been using the internet “to spread hatred, violence and sedition.”
As Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs confirmed that a police investigation into the YouTube video, which was circulated on Facebook, has been launched, Ramlogan revealed that he has received an apology from the person featured in the video.
“I have received an apology from the young person,” Ramlogan said at a national security briefing held at Temple Court, Port-of-Spain. Notwithstanding this, he said, the teenager must turn herself in to the police.
“What you must do is turn yourself in to the police and let them deal with that matter,” Ramlogan said. “How we deal with these questions is a matter that cannot be trivialised.”
He said that the female teenager had said in her video that the Prime Minister could face death, saying, “a sniper will shoot her and there will be no evidence.”
“All may not be lost,” Ramlogan said, addressing the teenager on live television. “We all make mistakes. The best thing you can do is turn yourself into the police.”
Gibbs said the police is in the process of ascertaining whether any of the threats in the video posted were credible.
“We do not take these cases lightly,” Gibbs said. “At this point it is under investigation and will be followed through.” Officials yesterday did not name the suspect.
A video, in which the teenager issued an apology, was posted on Ramlogan’s Facebook page.
“I know everybody see the video from the last time with the racial thing,” the teenager says. “I am just making another video to say I sorry…I could not even sleep last night. I would like to say I am sorry to the Prime Minister for talking like that, especially the language and all the racial stuff I said.”
The teenager said she made the video “for fun”.
“I just did it for entertainment, for the fun. It was not like I did mean it. I don’t know what does go on with people, nah.
“I just real sorry. I should not have done it. I don’t know what to do right now. I really don’t know what to do right now. I just really really sorry.”
“I will not make a next video again, I promise that,” she says.
She complains that she deleted her original video and it has been re-posted by others. “I am just begging allyuh please stop sharing my videos…. I don’t know what to do again. I never meant for all of this to come up again.”
There was no word on whether the Prime Minister, who has a hectic schedule today, has taken any action in relation to the video or subsequent apology.
The Attorney General noted that the posting of the original video potentially involved the offences of breach of the peace and sedition.
Additionally, Ramlogan said he has asked the office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel and the Law Reform Commission to draft laws “to deal with the regulation and monitoring of social networking sites”, following the precedent of provisions in the United Kingdom which have allowed convictions for the incitement of riots on Facebook.
Such legislation, Ramlogan said, would be to ensure that it is not being used and abused by persons with sinister motives to spread hatred violence and sedition.
The focus, he said, will be “on persons who want to misuse the internet to create gangs by internet or internet gangs.”
In relation to the apology issued yesterday, Facebook users argued that the case was not one worth focusing State resources. Others argued that the case was precisely one that merited attention and called for an example to be set.
“She threatened the Prime Minister, used obscene language and was extremely racial in her video and expects this to disappear with an apology,” one user remarked on Ramlogan’s Facebook page.
“People should be held accountable for their actions,” another said. “The youths should be taught to think before they act, so when they become adults and parents themselves they can also produce quality people. I’m not against venting at all. We all do so from time to time. How it is done should be checked.”