Attorneys General and Financial official from across the Caribbean region are in Guyana for the Plenary and Working Group Meetings of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF). The group represents 25 countries from the Caribbean, Central and South America with the common aim of ensuring robust measures are put in place and remain in place to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.
The official opening of the meeting took place this morning at the Georgetown Marriott and in the feature address, President David Granger highlighted Guyana’s intensified efforts to fight money laundering.
“Guyana is fit to fight. It embarked on the path of passing robust regulations and legislation to protect its financial system from financing unlawful activities seventeen years ago. It passed the Money-Laundering (Prevention) Act 2000; the Anti-Money Laundering and the Countering of the Financing of Terrorism Act 2009; the Anti-Money Laundering and the Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Act 2010; the Anti-Money Laundering and the Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Act 2015; and the Anti-Money Laundering and the Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 2015”, he told the gathering.
He explained that the legislation has progressively corrected deficiencies in the Anti money laundering-Countering the FInance of Terrorism regime and allowed for the improvement of compliance with the Task Force’s standards.
According to the President for Guyana, the appropriate agencies – the Bank of Guyana, the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions – have been empowered with the authority and autonomy and equipped with the technical and institutional means to discharge their functions under our anti-money laundering and the countering of the financing of terrorism legislation.
Back in 2013, Guyana found itself essentially blacklisted by CFATF for not doing enough to tackle money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Since then, and under the previous government and the current government, several steps have been taken that have resulted in Guyana meeting the standards that resulted in it no longer being blacklisted.
Guyana has been following the recommendations of CFATF. President Granger told the opening of the meeting that the recommendations are useful and much needed.
“The Task Force’s recommendations are necessary to insulate the Region’s financial sector from the crimes of money-laundering and the financing of terrorism”, President Granger noted.
He added that the Task Force’s recommendations can help to insulate the Region’s economies from contamination by ‘dirty’ money and by protecting the integrity of our financial sector from the risks associated with ill-gotten gains.
Guyana will be assuming the Chairmanship of CFATF. Already the country is receiving praise for its progress.
The outgoing Chairperson of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), Rhondalee Braithwaite- Knowles told reporters yesterday that Guyana has done a “miraculous job” at strengthening its Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime.
The CFATF Chair, who was speaking on the sidelines of the 46th CFATF Plenary and Working Group Meetings said “what Guyana has done to position itself for this fourth round is also impressive. What the AG has done is put Guyana forward as the incoming Chair [and] being Deputy Chair for one year, has used every opportunity to better position itself. A lot of legislative and administrative work is ongoing…litigation and forfeitures and other things, you may have noticed are ongoing now because Guyana is effectively preparing itself for the Mutual Evaluation.”