AML Consultations were staged, residents were paid to attend – Harmon

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By Kurt Campbell

APNU's Executive Member, Joseph Harmon.
APNU’s Executive Member, Joseph Harmon.

[www.inewsguyana.com] – Despite publications by the Government Information Agency (GINA) of widespread rejection of the Opposition’s proposed amendments to the Anti – Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act, the main opposition party is holding tight to its position.

Government Ministers over the past week held consultations on the proposed amendments in Bartica, Linden and Berbice following which it was reported by GINA that the residents had rejected the amendments put forward by the opposition, particularly A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).

However, APNU Member of Parliament Joseph Harmon while speaking exclusively to iNews accused the administration of a ‘command performance’, adding that the meetings were staged and persons were paid to attend.

Harmon further stated, “I refuse to trust information coming from GINA, even the photographs which were posted by them show that the attendance was poor and it does not represent adequately the population of those communities.”

He contended that the Administration sought to put a ‘spin’ on what exactly it is he and his colleagues are doing in the Parliamentary Select Committee considering the amendments.

Bartica residents during the AML consultations at the weekend.
Bartica residents during the AML consultations at the weekend.

“That is what they have done and they continue to mislead the nation, all as part of their propaganda agenda… I would like them to say how many persons attended those meetings and if it truly represented a widespread rejection.”

The APNU MP also lashed out at the Government for using the Regional Mashramani Flag Raising Ceremonies to serve the Government’s private and partisan agenda.

On a separate note, Harmon informed of a meeting between private sector members and Opposition members for Tuesday, February 25 on the amendments.  

He said the Opposition intends to meet with all stakeholders to explain their position, exchange views and encourage buy in. He did inform that as it stands, the Opposition intends to hold tight to the finalization of the amendments which is currently being drafted by the Chief parliamentary Counsel.

He said the amendments to the Act are merely to strengthen it, along with the minimal requirements of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force and maintains that they have every right to do same despite objections from the Government.

“We are not taking away, we are adding and it is important to note that even CFATF already said that they will not intervene in National Parliaments.”

Among the amendments are for Police and Customs Officers to have the power to seize currency worth over $2M (US$10,000) and arrest persons if it is suspected that it is the proceeds of or the subject of money laundering.

Additionally, APNU also proposed that the Finance Minister no longer have the power to appoint the Director of Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and be placed in a committee of the National Assembly.

They further proposed the establishment of an authority comprising 10 persons nominated by the National Assembly after consulting with stakeholders.

 

 

 

5 COMMENTS

  1. pay attention to the details in what you read!

    the amendments are for police & customs agents to have the power to seize, confiscate or arrest a person if it is suspected or known that the amount of cash / currency is from the proceeds of money laundering.

    if you are legitimately transacting business for your employer you would be carrying id and other documents to show you are on company’s time going to make a deposit or showing that you have just made a withdrawal.

    when a law such as the one discussed here is in effect, employers, employees, businesses, bank and law enforcement will find themselves on the same page. at first everything starts off a bit shaky and some hiccups are expected. however, when all is up and running, the criminal elements are the ones left with the headache, because if they are stopped due to a tip off or by acting suspiciously, the law gives the enforcement official the power to inquire, detain or arrest.

    nobody is trying to make or indicated that they would like to make carrying large amount of cash / currency illegal as the government wants their supporters to believe.

    ©™

  2. One thing I wish an educated Guyanese/Politician could help me a teenager in understanding my country’s history. How many times do our Golden Arrowhead need to be hoisted? I grew up learning that it was first hoisted on 26th May, 1966 when Guyana became and Independent nation from the British rule and the Union Jack came down. So i am wondering why it is hoisted on Mashramani/Republic Day? Confuse and much need help.

  3. long_legs

    Given that most of our business in Guyana is highly cash
    intensive it is not recommended that the Customs Officers and Police be given the
    authority to seize currency worth over $2M (US$10,000).

    Let’s say you work
    for Toolsie Persaud, one of the Cambios, Gafsons etc. and you are the employee
    entrusted to make deposits to the Bank. One day you are stopped by a police
    officer with a significant amount of cash. Tell me what happens there?

  4. if you don’t understand the dynamics of what is going on ask people to explain for you instead of throwing around baseless labels.

    sensible people know what are the proposed amendments to the bill, so just don’t say it is foolish and expect people to believe it is so. here i am giving you a chance to point out what is foolish about the amendments.

    put up or shut up!
    ©™

  5. This is definitely a hoax directed
    by the opposition to deter the people of Guyana from the real issue at hand
    which is the foolish amendment to the AMLCFT act. By now everyone should know
    you can’t PAY the people from Bartica to do anything they don’t want to.

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