CFATF commends strength of Guyana’s AML/CFT regime

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Chairperson of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) Rhondalee Braithwaite- Knowles says Guyana has done a “miraculous job” at strengthening its Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime.

The CFATF Chair, who was speaking on the sidelines of the 46th CFATF Plenary and Working Group Meetings being held at the Marriott Hotel, said Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Senior Counsel, Basil Williams was able to take Guyana out of the jeopardy it was in, as it relates to its AML/CFT framework.

Chair of the CFATF, Hon. Rhondalee Braithwaite-Knowles.

She noted, “what Guyana has done to position itself for this fourth round is also impressive. What the AG has done is put Guyana forward as the incoming Chair [and] being Deputy Chair for one year, has used every opportunity to better position itself. A lot of legislative and administrative work is ongoing…litigation and forfeitures and other things, you may have noticed are ongoing now because Guyana is effectively preparing itself for the Mutual Evaluation.”

Braithwaite-Knowles said the CFATF is pleased with the progress Guyana has made thus far and encouraged all national stakeholders to continue to work together to ensure their respective jurisdictions are compliant.

“This CFATF is not a political organisation so we are not involved in or concerned with the local or internal politics of any jurisdiction, we are not taking sides as between a government or an opposition…Our remit has to do with the jurisdiction as a whole and ensuring that the jurisdiction is compliant,” she added.

Executive Director of the regional body, Calvin Wilson who also applauded Guyana’s efforts, said that the important starting point is that the country, in a short time was able to pass a suite of legislation, which resulted in Guyana’s removal from the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) blacklist.

He noted that “It was a commendable achievement for the Government and people of Guyana led by the Attorney General, who is the Deputy Chair of the CFATF, the Honourable Basil Williams.”

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, S.C. seated with the Guyana delegation during the CFATF Plenary Meeting.

In terms of Guyana’s 2022 Mutual Evaluation process, the CFATF Executive advised that Guyana takes preparatory steps, one of which would be the conduct of a national risk assessment, which is completed, followed by the development of a national action plan. “If there is more work to be done in terms of coming into compliance legislatively with the 40 recommendations, you make those changes now,” he emphasised.

Further, Wilson noted that the data should be collated, since the Fourth Round of Mutual Evaluation is based on effectiveness, requiring the availability of data that validates the efficiency of the country’s AML/CFT regime. This, he said is a challenge in not only the region but around the world.

“Guyana needs to pay particular attention to their data capturing mechanisms and also educating all stakeholders …both public and private…coordinating closely, nationally to ensure that the internal mechanism in terms of strengthening the AML/CFT architecture, is strong,” he noted.

Once the AML/CFT architecture is strong, Wilson said the rating would be high at the Mutual Evaluation.  He is confident that given the commitment by AG Williams, this will be achieved come 2022.

 

By: Stacy Carmichael 

 

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