-PPP calls for swift action to stop unconstitutional practice
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) yesterday said it has noted a new, unconstitutional, imposition where Guyanese applying for insurance are now called on to declare their political affiliation.
The PPP stated that it was recently been shown copies of ‘Customer Verification Form – Individual’, which are given to applicants by several insurance companies where they were asked to indicate any affiliation with government, military, state officials, including political party.
The PPP stated that some applicants have been told by staff of these companies that the information is a requirement under the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime for the purpose of state monitoring.
“The Party calls on the Coalition Government to take action to reverse this retrograde move. The forms make no reference to any law or regulation that requires this information,” the PPP stated.
The party pointed to recommendation 12 of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the 2015 AMLCFT Amendment Act and regulations with regard to Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs).
A PEP is defined by the FATF as an individual who is or has been entrusted with a prominent public function. Due to their position and influence, it is recognised that many PEPs are in positions that potentially can be abused for the purpose of committing money laundering offences and related predicate offences, including corruption and bribery, as well as conducting activity related to terrorist financing.
It was pointed out that these requirements are preventive, but not criminal in nature, and should not be interpreted as stigmatising PEPs, as such, being involved in criminal activity.
“Refusing a business relationship with a PEP simply based on the determination that the client is a PEP is contrary to the letter and spirit of Recommendation 12,” the PPP noted.
The party stated that the definition does not refer to or require any citizen to state their political party affiliation.
“The PPP is unaware of any law, passed in the National Assembly, which authorizes reporting agencies to engage in the collection of such information. In fact, any such law, were it to exist, would be in violation of Article 149 (1) (a) of the Guyana Constitution,” the party stated.
The constitution stated that no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect, and any such law would therefore be null and void.
The PPP also pointed to Article 149 (2) which specifically protects all Guyanese citizens from discrimination on many grounds, including political opinion, conscience and belief.
The constitution, according to the PPP, guarantees the right to freedom of association, and the right to belong and form political parties.
“Therefore, any request for one’s political affiliation would be in violation of these Articles of the Constitution. As such, the PPP calls on the Government, and related entities, to disclose if this is a new policy, and, under what statute has this been implemented, and why has there been no public announcement on this new requirement,” the PPP stated.
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