Impacts of defeated Anti-Money laundering legislation already being felt -President – Opposition’s act worst form of economic sabotage

Georgetown, GINA, November 8, 2013

 

President Donald Ramotar at a press conference today described the parliamentary opposition’s voting against the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AMLCFT) (Amendment) Bill as the worst form of economic sabotage the political opposition has thus far demonstrated, even as he mentioned that an offshore bank has already severed ties with Guyana.

The A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and Alliance For Change (AFC) voted down the legislation last evening in the National Assembly, ignoring pleas from the Government benches for responsible action, and several segments of society, including the umbrella organisation, the Private Sector Commission.

The political opposition presented no counter arguments after Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall rose to present the Bill for the third reading, but attempted to return it to the Special Select Committee where it spent the last six months under examination.

President Donald Ramotar addressing the media

Both sides of the House stood firm in their positions with the Government accusing the opposition of deliberately dragging its feet on the Bill.

“This bill has been in the Parliament since April of this year. It went to a Select Committee in May of this year. The opposition has done everything in its power to drag its feet, to filibuster, they have not put forward any suggestions on any of the bills… we were ready to go back to a select committee which we told them last night, but we wanted a timeline because this is the month that the CFATF will meet to decide on these issues,” President Ramotar said.

The vote against the legislation came as no surprise, and according to President Ramotar, their reaction to the private sector’s petition was the clearest of signs.

“AFC Vice Chairman (Moses) Nagamootoo’s comments last evening, saying the private sector does not have a vote in Parliament are not only unfortunate, but also reckless. Then (Carl) Greenidge referred to the private sector as a bunch of propagandists. This won’t surprise any of us since Greenidge presided over the worst period of economic mismanagement and unaccountability in Guyana,” President Ramotar said. He was referring to the nixing of the PSC’s petition to the National Assembly for the passage of the AMLCFT.

The absence of legislative support had resulted in the country missing an August deadline and the Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) granting an extension to November. With this latest development, President Ramotar detailed the far reaching and harrowing implications for the country.

Among them are impediments to the smooth transfer of money from local to external banks, difficulties in receiving remittances from money transfer agencies and securing, fire, life and mortgage insurance services.

The aviation and business sectors that depend on the flow of goods and services from overseas will experience difficulties, while government workers overseas and scholarship students who depend on salaries and regular stipends are likely to face delays.

“The arbitrary use of the opposition’s one seat majority convinces us that APNU and AFC have no regard for Guyanese, and the wellbeing of our society. The opposition’s attitude in Parliament yesterday confirms Guyanese worst fears,” President

 

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall and Financial Intelligence Unit Head Paul Geer have now been tasked with examining the anticipated impacts of the failure to pass the anti money laundering legislation on Guyana.

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