Guyana poised to clear CFAT/FATF review processes

Georgetown, GINA, June 3, 2016

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams at a press conference held yesterday at the AG chambers, said Guyana is poised to exit both Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) regimes.

This means that Guyana would soon be off the list of countries being closely scrutinized by the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG). The ICRG analyses high-risk jurisdictions and recommend specific action to address the ML/FT risks emanating from these countries.

“CFATF is saying in effect even though the Government in its first effort in the follow-up process qualifies to apply to exit it, Guyana must first exit FATF/ICRG  process…this however, is an unexpected development,” Minister Williams said.

In relation to Guyana’s tenth follow-up report dated June 1, 2016, CFATF has concluded that, “statuses fully address the legislative amendments required…in the outstanding core and key recommendations.. Guyana has significantly improved its overall level of compliance and most importantly Guyana has fully addressed the core and key recommendations. While Guyana satisfies the criteria for application to exit the follow-up process, it is still in the FATF/ICRG process which it needs to complete first.”

Minister Williams added that government is confident it can also exit the FATF/ICRG process having fully addressed all eight of the recommendations in its Action Plan agreed with the FATF. “The Americas Region Review Group (AARG) Co-Chairs have given Guyana a clean bill of health in the May 25, 2016 Action Plan to be discussed shortly with them,” Williams told reporters.

He added that there being no provision in the FATF process to add to or diminish from the Action Plan, Guyana is prepared to work with the FATF to exit its process.

“We (the coalition government) have placed the economy of Guyana out of danger from any sanctions coming from those persons (CFATF/FATF)… there is no possibility of Guyana sanctions where we are situated…we were put into three public statements under the former administration,” Williams remarked.

Spurious statements

Meanwhile, the minister told media operatives that the sentiments expressed by his predecessor are highly fallacious, spurious and erroneous. “This is another misguided action on his part that is highly erroneous…since 2000 we (Guyana) had Anti-money Laundering Act but nothing was done,” Williams said

He explained that recommendation 35 under FATF makes provision for receiving into Guyana’s laws, three treaties dealing with the financing of terrorism.  These make reference to sanctions to be commensurate with the substantive crime; therefore, if the execution of a terrorist act results in someone being killed, they should be given the death penalty.