The Alliance for Change (AFC) has announced that it will not waiver from its position of wanting a Public Procurement Commission (PPC) in its entirety before supporting the Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing Terrorism Bill (AML/CFT).
Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, announced yesterday that taking into consideration AFC’s position of wanting a PPC and A Partnership for National Unity’s (APNU) support of it, Government would be tabling an amendment to the Public Procurement Act for Parliament, as well as outlining the nominees for the persons staffing the Body. Once those conditions are satisfied then Government will commence the establishment of the PPC.
AFC, at a press briefing yesterday at the Sidewalk Café on Middle Street, Georgetown, reiterated its position that the absence of the PPC for the past decade has contributed significantly to money laundering within the financial landscapes.
As such the AFC was not prepared to support the anti-money laundering Bill regardless of the consequences, unless a PPC is established.
After the briefing AFC leader Khemraj Ramjattan was informed that Government is going ahead with the establishment of the PPC. As such the AFC leader said that his party will give its support to the AML/CFT Bill since he was under the impression that the government would support the establishment of the PPC as is, without any amendments to the Act.
However upon learning that Government will be tabling an amendment to the PPC Act, Ramjattan in speaking to Kaieteur News elucidated that AFC’s position remains clear that it will not support any amendments to the Procurement act only the establishment and operationalization of the PPC as it is.
Ramjattan said that the establishment of the PPC would take away the powers vested with Cabinet to control contracts and give it to this independent body (PPC). The amendment to the PPC that Dr. Luncheon is speaking of is to return some of the power back to the government so that it can still have control over contracts coming in, Ramjattan highlighted.
Ramjattan said that the amendment will see all contracts above $15M being deliberated upon and given oversight by government. So the end result is that room for corruption would still exist.
As such the AFC will not support any amendment to the PPC since it would be counterproductive to its functioning and autonomy, Ramjattan said. Support will be given only to the establishment of the body untouched he outlined.
As it stands currently with the AFC’s non support of the PPC with its proposed amendment putting forward in Parliament, means that the AML/CFT Bill will not be supported.
This is against the backdrop of the deadline for the passage of the AML/CFT which is now a few weeks away on November the 18.
The consequences of missing the deadline will make it harder for financial transactions on all sections of society, including businesses and even remittances on monies coming from abroad.
One silver lining out all of this is the nominees that the opposition and government would be putting forward in Parliament to sit on the PPC. According to Ramjattan this could be the starting point for change.
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