The United States Ambassador to Guyana, Brent Hardt has described as “unfortunate” the decision by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force to issue a warning to its members about doing business in Guyana in absence of the updated Anti- Money laundering legislation.
The U.S envoy has been calling for Guyana to put the legislation in place but he has also made it clear that when it comes to fighting money laundering, there is a whole lot more that ought to be addressed than just the passage of legislation.
In an interview with News Source, Ambassador Hardt said “this issue of anti money laundering and dealing with FATF and CFATF is more than just legislation”. He noted that legislation is “kind of like the pre condition but there are also a lot of things that need to happen on the enforcement side.”
“But it is important in this discussion not to think that we pass legislation and then everything is good because it is not that easy. There are things that the Government and its various institutions can and should be doing right now to make sure that the country is already strengthening its ability to investigate, prosecute money launderers even while the legislation is being implemented”, the Ambassador said.
The Government of Guyana has been pressing the Opposition parties in the National Assembly to offer their full support to the amendments to the anti money laundering legislation. The Opposition parties have been making demands of their own and would like to see their recommendations taken aboard for the amendments to the Bill. The Opposition parties are also pushing for the setting up of a Procurement Commission. The Government continues to warn about the impact the non passage of the amendments could have on the Guyanese economy.
The U.S Ambassador believes both sides must compromise. “It is an unfortunate development that I hope will stimulate all of the parties to find a way forward and compromise”. He said it will take compromise on both the Government and the Opposition side to ensure the legislation is passed and signed into law.