Leader of the Opposition, Retired Brigadier David Granger, wants the Opposition parties to be heard by members of the Joint Services about the Opposition’s position on the amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Bill.
Mr. Granger is expected to make a formal request of the Joint Services for a meeting where the Opposition will tell its side of the story on the ongoing controversy surrounding the Anti Money Laundering Bill. Granger’s move is in response to a meeting members of the Government hosted with the Joint Services on Wednesday evening at Guyana Defence Force Headquarters at Ayanganna.
The Opposition Leader who appeared surprised when he heard of the meeting said “if the Government was interested in a balanced analysis to be presented to the Joint Services, they would have invited the Opposition”.
He said the move by the Government ought to be seen as an “improper intrusion” into the professional work of the Defence Force and the Joint Services. The meeting, he said, could also be viewed as prejudicial and damaging to the professional posture of the security bodies.
According to the Opposition Leader, he finds it strange that the Government would now see the need to meet with the Joint Services on the legislation, 11 months after the amendments first appeared before the National Assembly. He said it is the first time that he has heard of the Government of the day taking a contentious legislative issue to the Joint Services for support. Mr. Granger said if the Opposition is invited to address the Joint Services on the issue now that the Government has told its side, the Opposition will take up the task.
“There are two sides to every issue and we want to be heard”, Granger told News Source.
On Thursday night, the Government sought the support of members of the Joint Services by hosting a special dinner and interaction on the legislation for senior members of the Joint Services at the Guyana Defence Force Headquarters at Camp Ayanganna.
Attorney General Anil Nandlall along with Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Bishop Juan Edghill and Presidential Advisor on Governance Gail Teixiera attended the event on the Government’s behalf and sought to explain the legislation and why it is important for the legislation to be passed by the National Assembly.
One source who attended the event said it appeared more like an event to bash the political opposition than one to inform members of the Joint Services about the Anti Money Laundering legislation.
The speakers from the Government repeatedly complained about the Opposition not wanting to support the bill in its current form without explaining that the Opposition had put forward many of its own recommendations to be included, the source explained.