…visiting CFATF officials leave empty handed
The political opposition remains unmoved on its conditions for the passage of the Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing the Terrorism (AML/CFT) Bill, following a meeting with the Caribbean Financial Action Taskforce (CFATF) Chairperson Allyson Maynard-Gibson who was accompanied by Executive Director of CFATF, Calvin Wilson and Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Irwin La Roque.
Maynard-Gibson and Wilson met with A Partnership For National Unity’s Basil Williams, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine, Joseph Harmon, Ronald Bulkhan, Carl Greenidge, Ernest Elliot, Winston Felix, the Alliance for Change’s Leader Khemraj Ramjattan, Cathy Hughes and David Patterson.
The meeting took place at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition.
Following the meeting, the CFATF Chairperson, Maynard-Gibson, who is also the Attorney General of the Bahamas, was reluctant to speak to media operatives. On the other hand, the APNU representatives did brief media operatives.
Williams told the members of the media at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition yesterday evening that the meeting was “full and frank.”
He noted that the CFATF delegation used the opportunity to convey to the political opposition the importance that CFATF and the CARICOM region attach to the passage of the relevant legislation in order for Guyana not to be blacklisted.
“They felt it was the highest importance that Guyana averted being blacklisted.”
CFAT F will undertake its next review of Guyana on May 29, when, if the legislation is not in place Guyana will be referred to the Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) and would face international blacklisting.
According to Williams the group was informed by both opposition parties in the House of their conditions upon which passage of the Bill will be had.
According to Williams, the ball is in the government’s court on whether it would yield to the demands of the political opposition.
He noted that the CFATF team did indicate that it would be willing to provide whatever technical support is required for Guyana to pass the legislation.
The conditions of APNU remain the same, namely the assent of the President to a number of pieces of legislations it has already approved, the commencement order and the AFC maintains its call for the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission.
Greenidge who also addressed the media following the meeting said that the local delegation which included AFC and APNU was very candid with the CFATF officials that it was not a case that the debacle has been confronted with simple technical issues.
“We explained to them the context in which the negotiations have been taking place,” said Greenidge.
He was adamant that the local delegations made it clear to the CFATF team that it was not a case that the opposition was failing to approve the Bill but rather it has to meet the requirements of the majority.
Greenidge said that APNU acknowledges that CARICOM would be adversely affected should Guyana be blacklisted internationally and as such they must recognize that they must do something to facilitate a movement from the precipice.
Dr Roopnaraine in his address to the media operatives present at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition yesterday, reported that the CFATF Chairperson was very careful to point out that they would be available to the select committee and the nation at large in relation to assistances of a technical nature.
“She continued to maintain for the duration of the meeting that their intervention or help could not go beyond the technical,” according to Dr Roopnarine.
He was adamant that in the Guyana context, “we are confronted with more than technical problems.”
According to Dr Roopnaraine the technical issues that prevented the passage of the Bills were a matter that could be solved relatively easily.
“In essence we have a political crisis and it requires a political solution,” said Dr Roopnaraine.
Harmon reiterated that the meeting contained a very frank exchange and added that it was important that the CARICOM Secretary General was present.
He too echoed the call that it seems that a political solution will have to he pursued in relation to resolving the current impasse and that it was just not a technical matter.
Bulkan in giving his take on the meeting said that APNU during the meeting was staunch in getting over the point that whenever the legislation is passed it must prove to be effective.
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