As part of meeting the requirements of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) – Director of Guyana’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) Matthew Langevine yesterday signed agreements with several key agencies, which will allow the Unit to access critical information from its stakeholders.
Officials of reporting agencies – the Bank of Guyana, Guyana Gold Board, Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, Guyana Securities Council, Guyana Revenue Authority, Land Registry, Guyana Gaming Authority and Chief Cooperatives and Development Officers signed Memoranda of Understanding with the FIU.
The signing took place at the boardroom of the Attorney General’s Chambers on Carmichael Street, Georgetown.
According to Langevine, the memoranda have been in process for quite some time. He explained that this was because getting the necessary terms and conditions for each entity was critical.
“We had to negotiate with each entity, individually to find mutual and safe grounds under which the information could be shared in a manner that it does not breach or compromise any obligations they have to their clients.
We had to find the correct and legal balance to make sure that the information exchanged is above board and will not hinder/disallow effective investigations from being conducted.
The FIU Director noted that the memoranda lay the foundation for the next phase of the work to commence.
“What these MOUs should do is allow the FIU to do its work in a more hassle-free environment as Guyana moves closer to the next round of assessment of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).”
Meanwhile, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Basil Williams noted that the government is taking all the necessary steps to ensure full compliance with the CFATF’s recommendations.
Williams reminded that Guyana is in the fourth round of mutual evaluation by the CFATF, which comes up for assessment in 2022. He stressed that it is critical that the supervisory bodies and reporting agencies are operating with a high level of efficiency.
Williams noted too that the effectiveness of the FIU, Director of Public Prosecutions and the Judiciary, is essential to ensuring suspicious transactions are investigated and prosecuted.
The Attorney General pointed to the need for convictions, as part of the CFATF requirements. He said thus far, many other jurisdictions have failed in this regard. He noted that convictions are dependent on the Courts of Law.
According to Williams, the fourth round is even harsher than the third; it is more resource intensive.
“So a lot has to be done and we have to start doing it now, one might think that 2022 is a long time, but it is not necessarily so.”
In addition to strengthening Guyana’s anti-money laundering fight, Williams has also proposed to amend the AML/CFT Act and related legislation.
Clause three of the Bill amends section 7A of the Principal Act to satisfy recommendation 2 of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which states that countries should designate an authority to have a mechanism that is responsible for national AML/CFT/PF policies. This will see the establishment of the AML/CFT/PF National Coordination Committee.
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