Abu Bakr, Seales react to the sedition law ruling

Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - 20:15
Justice Frank Seepersad's ruling on Monday to strike down parts of the Sedition Act came as no surprise to former president of the Police Service Social and Welfare, Michael Seales.
In 2017, Seales had a sedition charge against him dropped after the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service failed to prove that he called on members of the association at the time, to dissent against the Government.
In a telephone interview with Guardian Media on Tuesday, Seales said he took particular note of the "grey area" mentioned by Justice Seepersad of "what can be determined as a seditious statement".
However, the former PSWA head said he agrees with the Attorney General that the ruling will have "far-reaching consequences".
According to Seales, "you must have some responsibility in terms of what you say because something as simple as a threat is against the law". He added, "what you have done now is cause a potential problem in the future for all other laws surrounding the issue of speech".
On another note, Imam Yasin Abu Bakr described the ruling as "a breath of fresh air". Bakr, who faces a sedition charge, said while in this instance it was indirect, the ruling is "still appreciated". He noted, "in no way do I advocate for irresponsible, divisive and hateful speech".
Meanwhile, President of the Public Services Association, Watson Duke, who was also slapped with a sedition charge last year told us he is consulting with his attorneys on his next move. Mr Duke said he intends to address the matter further at a news conference tomorrow.
The Attorney General has since signalled his intention to appeal Justice Seepersad's ruling.
- Bavita Gopaulchan