With the Government accusing the Opposition parties of sabotaging the country by not passing the Anti Money Laundering Amendment Bill, the Opposition group, A Partnership for National Unity is firing back and has thrown the blame at the feet of the administration.
In a statement issued on Friday, the APNU said “the People’s Progressive Party/Civic government refused to complete essential changes to the Anti-Money-Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act that would have improved the law and strengthened the Financial Intelligence Unit.”
According to the party the changes were in the process of being made by A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and Alliance for Change (AFC) members of the parliamentary Special Select Committee.
The APNU explained that the Committee’s work was abruptly ended by the Government chairperson in the absence of opposition members at the meeting held on 22nd October 2013 although the Government was aware that Opposition members could not attend that meeting.
“The Committee had met seventeen times. Several useful amendments were made on the basis of suggestions from both sides. The Opposition made proposals for amendments to the principal act (Anti-Money Laundering Act). The Opposition concerns about supervision and governance required that the composition and functioning of the Finance Intelligence Unit be addressed. This was not allowed. The memorandum of the Guyana Bar Association and Professor Clive Thomas’s submissions along with many others were denied”, the APNU said in its statement.
The APNU said it could therefore not support the Bill that was put up for vote since it had significant deficiencies which the Opposition could not support.
According to the APNU, “the Government insisted on putting the bill to a vote despite strong recommendations by the APNU and the AFC that the bill be returned to the Select Committee to correct the deficiencies were rejected. The National Assembly was therefore forced to vote against it to prevent an inadequate, incomplete and imperfect bill from being foisted on the Guyanese people.”
The Opposition party has maintained that if the administration was serious about proper legislation being put in place, it would have allowed the committee to continue its work rather than be in a rush to pass the “imperfect” Bill through the National Assembly.
The Joint Opposition parties, APNU and AFC hold the majority in the National Assembly.