With Guyana being blacklisted by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) for its failure to implement full money laundering legislation, the country is being given up to May 2014 to enact full legislation before it faces referral to the International Financial Task Force and be made to face additional sanctions.
Reports of the move by CFATF to warn its members about Guyana not having sufficient anti money laundering legislation have been described by President Donald Ramotar as a dark day for the country.
Speaking to reporters at the International Convention Centre on Thursday morning, President Ramotar said “it is a sad day for our country that something like this would happen because it will certainly have an effect on damaging our international business transactions and definitely could have an impact on slowing down things when we are at a time of accelerating or trying to accelerate our economic development”.
Just over a week ago, the joint opposition parties used their majority in the National Assembly to vote down the Anti Money Laundering and Countering of the Financing of Terrorism Amendment Bill. The opposition argued that Government was rushing the bill through parliament and there was a need to make changes to the bill that is already in place.
“It is extremely disappointing that the Opposition would have taken a position as they did, knowing fully well, this is not an issue that they did not understand what the consequences could be. Here they understood what the consequences would be”, Mr Ramotar added.
He believes that the Opposition parties might be making an effort to disrupt the social and economic development in the country.
The Government then warned that the move by the National Assembly not to enact full legislation would lead to the black listing by CFATF.
The blacklisting of Guyana could pose major problems for the country’s financial institutions and businesses. Already a number of countries had already placed local companies that they do business with under scrutiny.
There is the concern that the move could affect money transfer and banking operations if their parent companies begin to worry about money laundering in Guyana.