– Business Minister
Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin believes that Guyana faces fewer restrictions in doing business with other countries.
This is because this nation has exited the watch-list of the global Anti-money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism compliance process of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF),
Gaskin told reporters at the launching of the Ministry of Business’ 2020 Strategic Plan, financial institutions in other jurisdictions are required to comply with the laws and recommendations of their authorities that are responsible for anti-money laundering and countering of financing of terrorism.
“So just like how we have our financial intelligence unit, there is an equivalent in other countries and they are required to implement risk mitigation measures against countries that are non-compliant; so now that we are off of the list, it certainly eases some of the pressure on those countries to not do business with Guyana.”
The Minister said that the exit of Guyana from the FATF watch-list is evidence that the government has been cooperating and implementing FATF recommendations. Gaskin said that as of now he believes Guyana has satisfied all of the FATF requirements.
It was reported by Attorney-General Basil Williams that for Guyana to remain effective under the FATF regime, there needs to be more convictions to show sufficient progress on effectiveness.
After returning from his trip to Paris, Williams held a press conference last week where he said, “Guyana cannot be complacent as the fourth round Mutual Evaluation beckons, where the test is whether we would have shown “sufficient progress on effectiveness, for example having more convictions for offences of money laundering, terrorist financing and the purloining of state assets.”
When asked how equipped is the government in going after persons suspected of money laundering based on the new development, Williams said that the first money laundering Act was passed in 2000 but no one was ever investigated or charged.
“Between 2000 to the time we took office no one was ever prosecuted for any money laundering offence in Guyana. It is only when we took office, people were not just investigated but they were also charged and taken to court.”
Williams said that a lot of those cases have not resulted in convictions. He said that in some situations money as well as gold bars were returned to their rightful place. However, he explained that this will not be sufficient in the fourth round.
“In the fourth round, we will have to show effectiveness and that we are making sufficient progress, In other words, convictions. We can’t tell them we charged a hundred people and we don’t have convictions.”
He said that Guyana needs to do work in this regard because if initial investigation is done and this area is missing, the country can return to the International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG) review process. He stressed that what is important hereinafter is a large degree of self-assessment.
“We have to start ensuring that all of these legal framework and regulatory framework are effectively addressed in the fourth round. By time 2020 we must be able to show regular convictions for money laundering offences.”
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