Guyana to host high-level Judges and Prosecutors Conference

DPI, GUYANA, Monday, April 23, 2018

Guyana is set to host another high-level judicial conference in May. Twenty-five countries will participate in a Judges and Prosecutors Conference to be hosted in Georgetown on May 3rd and 4th.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams S.C, said the conference is being hosted in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).

The meeting is part of Guyana’s ongoing efforts to clear the fourth round of mutual evaluations to ensure the country is compliant with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations.

At a press conference on April 21, Minister Williams explained the importance of Guyana ensuring technical compliance to the anti-money laundering/combatting the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) global regime.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams S.C,

“It is important to Guyana now on the cusps of transformation. We have been for three years cleaning our economy from dirty money and preparing it to receive oil and gas money and money from the green economy,” Minister Williams said.

In 2016, Guyana was removed from the FATF blacklist after meeting the requirements for AML/CFT compliance. The country was blacklisted under the former PPP administration.

The country’s efforts to comply with international regulations was led by AG Williams who is the current chair of the CFATF.

As part of ensuring it clears fourth round evaluations, Guyana must secure convictions under the legal framework it previously installed. AG Williams assured, however, that this will be done following detailed investigations.

“Money launders must and ought to be convicted and this is not a question of trumped-up charges,” AG Williams said.

Criminal and judicial officers have been undergoing training to ensure effective investigation and eventual prosecution of such cases.

AG Williams also said that his ministry will facilitate more sensitisation and training to ensure the country successfully clears this fourth round.

“It is very important that we understand that. We have experienced being blacklisted and counter-measures were taken against us so we don’t want to go back there because of the deleterious effects it has on countries’ economies,” Minister Williams noted.

The work of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) is considered critical to Guyana’s success in this fourth round, Advisor to SOCU, Sam Sittlington told the Department of Public Information (DPI) earlier this year.

SOCU is investigating more than 39 referrals from the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of which two have been brought before the courts to date. The FIU is tasked with detecting and preventing money laundering and financing of terrorist activity in Guyana in accordance with the AMLCFT Act of 2009.

By: Tiffny Rhodius