Sensitization is key to strengthening Guyana‘s Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) capability.
During a recent meeting with the press, Minister of Legal Affairs Basil Williams, who is also Chairman of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFTAF), noted that all stakeholders must be sensitized as Guyana pushes ahead into the fourth round of evaluations to become compliant with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) regulations.
He noted that when the government took office in May 2015, the main aim was to get Guyana off the blacklist to ensure citizens conduct their financial transactions with ease, and for Guyana to become more investor-friendly.
To this end, he formed a multi-stakeholder team inclusive of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), a team from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Bank of Guyana, and has embarked on a series of outreaches and seminars across Guyana to ensure that all the relevant stakeholders are aware of their roles and responsibilities, and are compliant with the regulations of the CFATF, of which Guyana is a member.
“We were able to achieve all this because the President himself from the onset has given a high-level political commitment to the FATF Chairman that Guyana will work with FATF and CFATF to ensure we implement the recommendations of their control bodies,” the AG said.
The Attorney General pointed out that the region’s overall rate of convictions and confiscation of criminal proceeds have been moderate, despite many countries implementing legislative measures to criminalise money laundering and terrorist financing, as well as proliferation financing.
The AG noted that if the global AML/CFT efforts are to be effective, countries must “also obtain convictions and pursue seizing and confiscating the proceeds and instrumentalities of crime for the benefit of States and victims”
He added that the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) aspect is an important element in the fight against extremists who seek to recruit, radicalise and mobilise their followers to commit acts of violence.
Williams had said that Guyana’s hosting of the sensitization workshop signals a major step in addressing issues related to investigating and prosecuting money-laundering crimes. He had also stressed that the hosting of this important conference is demonstrative of the progress being made by a once blacklisted country.
Guyana is currently in the process of preparation for the fourth round of mutual evaluation and is continuously taking steps to strengthen its anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime to ensure full compliance.
The fourth round of assessment focuses on matters related to technical compliance and the implementation of effective systems.
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