Caribbean leaders express support for Guyana Gov’t’s effort to pass AML Bill – in letters to President Ramotar
Several regional leaders have written to President Donald Ramotar, expressing their concerns about the failure of the local legislature to pass the critically needed Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AMLCFT) Amendment bill.
St Lucian Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Economic Affairs, Planning and Social Security, Dr Kenny Anthony stated that Guyana’s intransigence is “exceedingly unfortunate as the damage to the reputation of Guyana could be costly”.
St Lucian Prime Minister, Dr Kenny Anthony
He expressed the hope that better sense prevails and a swift solution is found as he assured his government’s support in the Guyana Government’s effort to secure the passage of the Bill.
Premier of the Virgin Islands Dr. Daniel Orlando Smith, noted that Guyana’s pivotal role in bringing about regional AML/CFT compliance, is recognised and efforts in seeking to strengthen Guyana’s existing legislation of the AMLCFT Act 2009 is to be commended.
“The Virgin Islands supports your ongoing efforts to bring about the enactment of key legislative reforms. In the context, we will at CFATF level and especially at the ICRG level, endeavour to encourage and emphasise the need for expedited reform and the importance of national unity and cohesiveness in order to achieve this,” Smith stated.
President Ramotar was also wished success in moving forward what was described as a very critical process.
It was hoped, by Barbados Prime Minister Freundel J. Stuart, that the initial statement issued by the CARICOM Bureau last November would have made a positive impact on this challenging situation, “but it clearly has not done so”.
The Barbadian Leader noted that without any doubt this situation and the threatened action by CFATF will affect Guyana and the entire Caribbean region, “and will negatively impact the well-being of our people”.
Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) at their 25th Inter-Sessional Meeting in Kingstown, St Vincent and the Grenadines recently issued a call for Guyana to pass the Bill currently in a Special Select Committee of the National Assembly
.Mr Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados
The Heads discussed the impasse in Guyana in caucus, and agreed that the non-passage of this piece of legislation will have devastating economic impacts, not only for Guyana, but the rest of the region, if Guyana is blacklisted internationally.
In June 2014, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is slated to meet, when it will make a decision as to whether Guyana should be subjected to a prima facie review by the International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG).
There has been tremendous public outcry over the opposition’s proposals, with the Private Sector Commission, religious groups, the National Competitiveness Council, labour unions, and residents across the country calling on the political parties to pass the bill. Their urgings have since fallen on deaf ear as the opposition continues to be intransigent.
More recently, residents in several communities such as Lusignan, Mahaica, Anna Regina, Greenwich Park, and Bartica have demanded that the bill be passed or elections be held.