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CARICOM concerned over Guyana’s failure to approve anti-money laundering legislation

In a statement, the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat said the regional grouping was “at the continuing delay in Guyana’s progress towards implementing recommendations to address deficiencies in its anti-money laundering regime.

“CARICOM calls on all parties involved in the process to take all necessary actions without further delay to have the necessary reforms implemented,” it said.

The Organization of American States (OAS) said it was offering to help Guyana ensure that it enacts legislation dealing with anti-money laundering and terrorism.

OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, has called for the “timely approval” the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act (AML/CFT) in the Guyana Parliament.

Insulza said that passage of the legislation “should bring the country up to standard on these matters”.

Guyana, already blacklisted by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) faces the possibility of further sanctions after government claimed that the opposition were again withholding support for the AML/CFT Act.

Government chief whip, Gail Teixeira, said the opposition controlled National Assembly appears to have put the legislation on “pause” after it failed to agree on amendments to the AML/CFT.

“We are now on pause for 24 hours or 48 hours,” said, Teixeira, who is also chairperson of the parliamentary special select committee which is considering the amendments.

But the leader of the small opposition Alliance For Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan, said his party would not support the amendments unless the government agreed to operationalise and establish the Public Procurement Commission.

The Paris-based International Financial Action task Force (IFAFT) is due to meet later this week to consider among a review of the implementation of measures taken by a number of countries to address deficiencies identified in the last round of mutual evaluation report.

The February 12-14 meeting will also discuss the identification of jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies in their AML/CFT system and a review of the progress made by jurisdictions that had been identified at the October 2013 Plenary.

Last November, the CFATF announced that it had blacklisted Guyana after the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country failed to approve legislation to combat money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism.

In its statement, CARICOM said that it “remains deeply concerned” that failure to pass the AML/CFT could result in action by the (CFATF) which could have an adverse impact on the Guyanese economy and by extension the CARICOM region as a whole. 

“Any action that reduces the ease or increases the cost of processing international financial or trade transactions will adversely affect trade and financial flows in the Region, retard the regional integration enterprise, limit the opportunities for growth in Guyana and the Region and result in hardship for the people of Guyana . 

“CARICOM therefore urges that this matter be speedily resolved, by enacting the relevant legislation, in the interest of the people of Guyana and the Community,”

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