Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron Walwyn said that he would support any efforts to bring the distributors of explicit videos and images to justice. Hon. Walwyn’s comment was in response to the recent nefarious circulation of videos and images of persons in private moments of intimacy.
In a statement that repeated his stance against cyber bullying Minister Walwyn stated: “In recent weeks, it has been brought to my attention that a number of young residents throughout the Virgin Islands have been targets of cyber bullying by way of private photos and videos being shared widely online and via text.”
“I personally will support the decision of law enforcement to also lay charges against individuals sharing and having within their possession explicit images and videos of any minor. If for some reason you receive such images or videos, I strongly encourage you to immediately report the incident and surrender such evidence to the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force,” he added.
Hon. Walwyn said that it is even more disturbing that in recent weeks evidence of minors engaging in adult behaviour with adults have also been circulated. “While we let the full extent of the law deal with such perpetrators, I remind our community, and even our young people, that it is illegal in the Virgin Islands to be in position of, or to share, explicit images and videos of minors,” the Minister said.
The Education Minister addressed both the victims and the perpetrators of this form of cyber bullying in his address. He also asked parents and school administrators of all levels of education to intervene by educating students about appropriate online behaviour, cyber bullying and responsible use of the technology we have today.
“The laws that we have in the Virgin Islands can only go so far in protecting the privacy of individuals and protecting others from preying on vulnerable residents. That is where we, as a community, must rely on our core values and morals to guide our decisions. We are a people that value the lives and experiences of our fellow residents, and we are a community that treats each other with respect and dignity. However, young ladies and young men, you live in an age of instant gratification, but that instant gratification also comes with a digital footprint that can almost never be erased. All of us should be mindful of the images we take and share in this digital age,” Hon. Walwyn further stated.