The Diplomatic Representatives of the United States of America, Great Britain, Canada and the European Commission have indicated that they are pleased with the “willingness demonstrated by all parties to move Guyana toward compliance with international Anti Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) standards, including updated legislation and enhanced investigative capacity.”
In a joint statement issued on Friday, the Western Diplomats indicated that they have met with all stakeholders, including those from government, opposition, civil society, and the private sector on many occasions since 2012 on the issue.
“Our governments are, and will continue to be, actively engaged to support effective implementation of AML/CFT legislation and prosecution of money launderers and financiers of terrorism. We encourage all stakeholders to work together to finalize AML/CFT legislation and ensure its effective implementation in order to prevent and combat money laundering and terrorist financing, as well as to avoid the serious consequences that would arise from black-listing by the FATF”, the statement added.
Another deadline is looming for Guyana to put amended anti money laundering laws in place. The Government and the Opposition continue to meet and discuss several changes to the present legislation. The Opposition parties have voted against the amendments to the anti money laundering bill in the past because of several concerns they have with the original bill.
Opposition Leader David Granger on Friday indicated that the Opposition is working to have a “clean bill” presented to the National Assembly for consideration. He said the original bill which was passed over 10 years ago had serious flaws and entrusted too much power in government ministers when it comes to investigation of cases of money laundering.
The Opposition parties in the National Assembly have since put forward their own recommendations for the amended bill and have also encouraged the Government to pay attention to the recommendations of other interest groups.
Guyana has already been blacklisted by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force(CFATF) for not having full anti money laundering legislation in place.
Mr. Granger said attention must also be paid to the enforcement of the legislation. He told a Friday morning press briefing that while a lot of attention is now being paid to the blacklisting of Guyana and the current amendment bill, it must be noted that Guyana has had anti money laundering legislation in place for over a decade and no one has been charged in connection with money laundering.