Guyana is continuing efforts to remove itself from the clutches of the Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) censoring regime. In this regard, the government is working to comply with the outstanding international recommendations.
This ‘reassurance’ was given at a recent press conference held by the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams.
Williams told the media, “In keeping with its commitment to fully comply with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) recommendations, the Government of Guyana intends to table before the National Assembly an AML/CFT Amendment Bill to deal with the remaining outstanding recommendations.”
Williams said that his Chambers started consultations on the Draft Bill since March and this continued in April.
The Minister said that key stakeholders, including the Opposition, received copies of the Draft Bill and other pertinent documents. He said this was done so that the Opposition can be fully informed of the content of the Bill before it is tabled in the National Assembly.
There was also a forum which formed part of the consultation process.
Williams said that attendees included representatives of Customs and Anti Narcotics Unit (CANU), the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU), the Private Sector Commission (PSC), the Bank of Guyana and the Guyana Bar Association.
The Minister was keen to note that the former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall was also invited to consultations but “refused to attend on two occasions.”
Nevertheless, Williams said that his Chambers is satisfied that adequate consultations were conducted and the Bill should pass through all three stages at the next sitting of Parliament.
Even as Guyana tries to comply with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the body still thinks that the country can pose a risk to the international financial system.
Guyana currently finds itself in the company of countries such as Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Syria, Uganda, Vanuatu and Yemen.
There are only two countries in the world that are deemed to be worse off than Guyana in this regard – Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The FATF identifies itself as the global standard-setting body for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT).
In order to protect the international financial system from money laundering and financing of terrorism (ML/FT) risks and to encourage greater compliance with the AML/CFT standards, the FATF identifies jurisdictions that have strategic deficiencies and works with them to address those deficiencies that pose a risk to the international financial system.
On February 19, FATF concluded its most recent plenary meeting in Paris, France.
A document titled, “Outcomes of the plenary meeting of the FATF, Paris, 17-19 February 2016” indicates that the body still views Guyana as a work in progress. That document contains two sections that identify jurisdictions that may pose a risk to the international financial system.
In those two sections, FATF pointed out jurisdictions with strategic AML/CFT deficiencies that have developed action plans with the task force, as well as jurisdictions with strategic AML/CFT deficiencies for which a call for action applies.
Guyana has been identified as one of the jurisdictions with strategic AML/CFT deficiencies that have developed an action plan.
FATF noted, “In October 2014, Guyana made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and CFATF to address its strategic AML/CFT deficiencies.
Since October 2015, Guyana has taken steps towards improving its AML/CFT regime, including by enacting further amendments to the AML/CFT Act and AML/CFT Regulations, and issuing FIU guidelines on targeted financial sanctions. However, the FATF has determined that certain strategic deficiencies remain. Guyana should continue to implement its action plan, including by ensuring and implementing an adequate legal framework for identifying, tracing and freezing terrorist assets. The FATF encourages Guyana to address its remaining deficiencies and continue the process of implementing its action plan.”
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