Feb 27, 2014 News
– If we miss the deadline by two or three days they can’t kill us for that – APNU
By: Kiana Wilburg
A delegation which included members of the political opposition presented President Donald Ramotar with a list of demands yesterday.
They asked that these must now be brought simultaneously to the National Assembly with the Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Bill today.
Failing this, the Opposition said that they may very well honour their recent declarations to withhold their support for the Bill.
Guyana is expected to submit a report to the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force on Friday. Failure to do so will see the regional body referring Guyana to the Financial Action Task Force in Paris which could see Guyana facing serious consequences and being blacklisted by the international body.
At the head office of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) on Hadfield Street, Shadow Minister of Public Works and Telecommunications, Joseph Harmon, said that APNU and the Alliance For Change (AFC) presented the President and his team with a joint list of demands.
“We were basically looking at issues in relation to the Anti Money Laundering Bill. The APNU and AFC presented a joint list of demands that included that the Bill itself be subjected to amendments to allow for better issues of governance and enforcement, secondly that those Local Government Bills he assented to, be operationalized and thirdly, all the other Bills not assented to and had returned, be assented to.”
“What we said to the President is that all of these things must be done and passed simultaneously with the passage of the Bill and that’s our position.”
Harmon said that the meeting yesterday with the President was only “Round One” and that no clear cut assurances were given at the conclusion of the meeting.
“In negotiations you don’t finish it in one round so the next stage is to go to the Parliamentary Select Committee at 5:00 (yesterday) and look at the amendments we tabled.”
That meeting was expected to refine the amendments to the anti-money laundering Bill made by APNU.
“There were proposals and these proposals were to be refined by the Chief Parliamentary Council and that has not been done as yet. But before we completed this stage some politicians have been spreading it to mean that it is the final conclusion on the part of the proposed amendments.
“We expect that those proposals will be looked at so that some Ministers like the Junior Finance Minister, Bishop Juan Edghill can stop feeding people the dough before it is baked.”
Depending on what happens in Select Committee, Harmon said that the President has left a channel open for them to “get back to him and we will take it from there.”
Commenting on the fruitfulness of the engagement, the Shadow Minister said, “Any time the parties meet and there is some movement forward I believe that, that constitutes to some degree of success.
“Any time you have an opportunity to discuss issues and see the different sides and try to find common ground I believe that it is a movement forward. The fact that we are talking on this matter before the February 28 deadline is an important development and it is something we should encourage.”
The APNU member said that the opposition will remain committed to doing what has to be done in the interest of nation.
“Things happen and we can also set future dates for the sitting of National Assembly to continue talks. The President has a deadline to which he has to deal with certain demands.
“If in fact we run over a little bit we can call a meeting for Assembly again and I am sure if we miss this thing by two or three days then they (CFATF) can’t kill us for that.”
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