Dec 24, 2020 Letters
I refer to the caption: “FIU reports reduction in suspicious transaction reports -29 new reporting agencies registered” (KN December 23). I recognize that things are on the move again, except that it is in a different direction than is wholesome to the interests of this country. There are pluses and minuses, with my challenge being -where to start.
I have regard for the Direction of Guyana’s FIU, Mr. Matthew Langevine. A former tax collector he may not be, but he does keep a close eye and his mind well-focused on the collection of Suspicious Transaction Reports from those responsible for transmitting them. Quite a few of the institutions that were responsible for delivering them balked for fear of agitating prized relationships. Of course, the little people were harried at every opportunity for the smallest infractions. On the part of Mr. Langevine, I commend him for his positive approach to the affairs overseen; his diligence is noteworthy, but regret not well-received in powerful circles. Yet, I think that his understanding (at least, as publicly articulated) of what may be responsible for the decline in submission of suspicious transaction reports is slightly off center.
I agree that volume has been distinctively less, because of the arrival of COVID-19 and its continuing stay; and to that I add the elections hullaballoos. But I would venture that that volume is more than offset by what is happening – always happening – behind the scenes. For enlightenment, I identify 11 tonnes of street product that wended its way to chilly Belgium, and state that the big-ticket items are occurring and with more consistency than a bag of porridge. Meaning that ways have been found to circumvent scrutiny and reporting. I refer those who are doubtful to the GRA. Public volume and public transactions are certainly less, but that is for small fish dealing in ‘fry fish and bake,’ and nobody cares about that, given its lack of materiality.
More importantly, I think that the source of that drop in the reporting of suspicious transactions has something to do with the presence of the new government. I remind one and all that the current main man, the president, had promised to do a lot of things with regulations. He has definitely delivered, from day one, where those impacted could gleefully chortle: Regulations? What regulations? What about them? We are not answerable to anybody on any stupid regulations. Political financiers do not believe that such apply to them; they currently operate in regulatory heaven, with very little rules and the like sticking to them. These are the same dubious characters that enjoy the fruits of the PPP government’s friendship, having financed its rise to democratic power. In such contexts, regulatory compliance has no relevance, no traction. From my perspective, that is the source of the decline in the reporting to the FIU of suspicious transactions. Naturally, it is of clean governance in action.
For whatever it is worth, I remind that during the Coalition reign, many of its supporters were loud in complaining when they had to comply with tough enforcement. The word from a lot of PNCR followers (now PPP adherents) was: lawd! Is every ting deh gah fuh see? Ease up and leh some bizness happen nah maan…It is the holiday season, so I treat myself to the liberty of a swear word or two.
In the event that there is need for any additional exhibits, I tender the EPA, which is virtually headless, speechless, and chronically reckless with the welfare of Guyanese. Its present all-purpose remedy for inquiring Guyanese with troubled minds is that certain protective steps for the benefit of communities are not necessary at all. To repeat: that abomination called Environmental Impact Assessment is not necessary in situation that begs this question: how can that be? Why not when hazardous materials are involved and chemical facilities are making appearances? Nobody in their right minds can tell me that an EIA is not necessary when what is planned is what is to be. But this is the way things are going to be, as Director Langevine discovered, and with more to come in the future both at the FIU and in other spheres of national activity.
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