…we missed the deadline, but CFATF understands our position – AFC
Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan, says that there is no economic catastrophe on the way and that the Private sector Commission (PSC) is only trying to drive fear into the citizens of the country.
Ramjattan yesterday responded to the PSC’s recent public statement, where it said that failing to pass the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Bill (AML/CFT) Bill by today, would cause enormous and irretrievable damage.
Chief Parliamentary Counsel, Cecil Dhurjon, yesterday indicated to the Special Select Committee tasked with dealing with the Bill that he would need more time to draft the amendments put forward by A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).
As such, the Bill was not voted given that opposition amendments
could not be included.
Guyana’s report to CFATF today will therefore not include successful passage and assent of the Bill.
“I’m waiting to see the heaves come down and whether all economic activity in this country will stop altogether. This deadline date is not true in terms of the context,” said Ramjattan.
He was at the time speaking to media operatives at a press briefing held in a Committee room of Parliament.
Ramjattan said that the report is simply to be submitted within a certain time frame , once approved it will be taken to FATF’s Paris headquarters and verified to see if they are compliant.
“CFATF and FATF know the country’s position…The consequence will be only after we go to Paris and other countries will be signaled to take measures against us…. CFAT’s Financial Advisor, Roger Hernandez, understands our position and the FATF understands our position.”
Ramjattan maintained that, “Guyana will still have economic activity…There will just be increased documentation for companies to go through and they need to understand that.
The AFC Leader said that the PSC needs to understand that “we have suffered tremendously without the Public Procurement Commission and it has caused billions of tax payers’ dollars to be wasted…They have to appreciate the damage the country has sustained against what can happen with regard to the effects of the non passage of the Anti Money Laundering Bill.”
Ramjattan has hinged his party’s support of the Bill, in part, with the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission.
The Member of Parliament maintained that the political opposition is not going to amend the Bill in any way that it makes it non compliant.
Hernandez, when he met with the Opposition recently had stated that the Bill as it is, is already compliant with CFATF’s recommendations and that further amendments runs the risk of making the Bill non compliant.
Nevertheless, Ramjattan maintained that the amendments put forward by APNU, are critical.
“We only criticized the APNU for coming too late with their amendments but their amendments are credible and we support them,” Ramjattan explained.
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