President tells house lot beneficiaries about Guyana’s risks without anti-money laundering legislation

Georgetown, GINA, October 30, 2013

Low interest mortgage rates have been made easily accessible since the Government slashed the tax it receives on bank loans, but with the passage of the anti- money laundering legislation lagging behind, President Donald Ramotar told house lot applications that the impacts on the banking operation is at present an issue of concern.

“If we don’t pass it (anti-money laundering legislation) then many of the banks may have serious problems in doing business, financing business, our international business arrangements will be damaged seriously, and all of this will have a snowballing effect on our economy,” President Ramotar said.

President Donald Ramotar facilitating this beneficiary to pull her house lot for Farm, East Bank Demerara at the One Stop Shop held at the Guyana National Stadium

The Head of State was at the time addressing a large gathering of house lot applicants who turned up at the Guyana National Stadium at Providence after being approved for over 1,600 lots that were up for distribution at Farm, East Bank Demerara.

The partnership between the banking sector and the Guyana Government has been a main contributor to the success of the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) housing programme that the Ministry of Housing has executed across the country through several one stop shop exercises.

In his remarks today, President Ramotar expounded on his Government’s goal to promote a society with an educated and secure population where everyone can realise his/her homeownership dreams.

“At the very beginning we had to do a lot of cross subsidisation where we were giving lots to high income people and using the excesses to start developing the low income lots,” President Ramotar said.

 

The programme has advanced to a stage where today applicants have the option of purchasing Turn-Key homes.

President Donald Ramotar, Housing Minister Irfaan Ali, staff of the Central Housing and Planning Authority and some of the house lot beneficiaries of Farm, East Bank Demerara

“We have moved to the stage where… we are providing not only the house lots, but people who may not want to go through the trauma sometimes of dealing with contractors and probably want their own home… the Ministry now has turn-key projects,” President Ramotar said.

The Government is depending on this public-private partnership to continue amidst concerns about the anti-money laundering legislation which is being re-tabled following a lack of consensus in the National Assembly. The legislation seeks to fortify Guyana’s laws against financial crimes.

The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) had acceded to a request by the Guyana Government for amnesty and had granted an extension to November after the country had missed an earlier deadline as a result of the non – passage.

“This bill is to bring our legislation at the same level as the rest of the Caribbean destinations, to fight against money laundering, fight against drug trafficking… to close all the loopholes where people are getting illicit funds,” President Ramotar said.

 

Failure to pass the legislation could result in Guyana losing foreign investments and international capital flows and financial institutions and systems weakening.

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