President holds opposition responsible as CFATF blacklists Guyana
Georgetown, GINA, November 21, 2013
President Donald Ramotar today reacted with dismay to the news about the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) blacklisting of Guyana for failing to enact legislation to strengthen laws against financial crimes.
He told reporters that he is yet to thoroughly read the CFATF statement, but at the same time disappointed with the position taken by the opposition even though they were fully cognisant of the implications.
The A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and Alliance For Change (AFC) had voted down the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill, on November 7, ignoring pleas from the Government benches for responsible action.
“One can only conclude that this was a deliberate attempt to damage the social and economic development of our country,” President Ramotar said.
Guyana stands to face impediments with remittances from money transfer agencies and securing, fire, life and mortgage insurance services and with the transfer of money from local to external banks.
Additionally, the aviation and business sectors that depend on the flow of goods and services from overseas could also face challenges while government workers overseas and scholarship students who depend on a salaries and regular stipends are likely to face delays.
At a press conference, earlier this month, President Ramotar had disclosed that an offshore bank had already severed ties with Guyana following what he had described as worst form of economic sabotage the political opposition has so far demonstrated.
Guyana was forewarned about the consequences of failing to upgrade its financial crimes legislation and was pardoned after missing a May deadline with a six months extension during a CFATF meeting in Nicaragua.
The Task Force in its statement highlighted the awareness which it brought to member states including Guyana about significant strategic deficiencies in their Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism regime that required expeditious rectification.
Reference was also made of an Action Plan with identified target dates to identify target dates to address the shortcomings that exist in Guyana’s national architecture to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
It stated that Guyana has made efforts to address its deficiencies, but has failed to implement required legislative plan including fully criminalising money laundering and terrorist financing offenses.
“Guyana must therefore pass the relevant legislation and implement all the outstanding issues within the Action Plan including fully criminalising money laundering and terrorist financing offenses, addressing all the requirements on beneficial ownership, strengthen the requirements for suspicious transaction reporting, international co-operation and the freezing and confiscation of terrorist assets and fully implementing the UN conventions.” CFATF stated.