Hon. Perry G. Christie, M.P.
Prime Minister

Prime Minister Christie tabled four e-commerce bills in Parliament yesterday as part of a strategy to promote e-business growth and the development of The Bahamas as an important “e-commerce centre”.

This follows a comprehensive review of the e-commerce potential of the nation, and is part of plans to establish clear policy guidelines and a series of supportive programmes to foster an environment within which ecommerce can evolve.

The bills tabled yesterday were:

**Electronic Communications and Transactions Bill**: Creates the environment for the legal certainty necessary to instill confidence in online commercial activity in The Bahamas.

**Computer Misuse Bill**: Creates a series of offences arising out of the unlawful interference with computers and computer systems.

**Data Protection (Privacy of Information) Bill**: Requires that information should be obtained by fair and lawful means and used in a manner consistent with that for which it is collected.

**Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Bill**: Seeks to establish standards for the protection of consumers entering into commercial arrangements.

Last week Sen. The Hon. James H. Smith, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, announced that the Government plans early release of an Electronic Commerce Policy Strategy. Also reported at that time was the Government’s intention to establish an E-business Development Office within the Ministry of Finance, which Office will have responsibility for implementing the strategy.

Foreshadowed in the recently introduced legislation is an Ecommerce Advisory Board, intended to act as a consultative and advisory source. Said Prime Minister Christie, *”This is an important feature in all evolving information-based societies that rely heavily on the advice of such bodies in formulating continuing national economic and social policies generated by developments in information and communications technologies.”*