By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Parliamentary Select Committee considering the Anti – Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Amendment Bill is yet to meet to select a chairperson, so that work can begin.
According to Attorney General Anil Nandlall, the Government is looking to have its Chief Whip Gail Teixeira returned as the Chairperson. Teixeira was the Chairperson of the last committee where the Bill was under review for almost five months.
She came under heavy criticism for her leadership by the Opposition. She was accused of ending the life of the committee prematurely and unknowing to opposition members.
The members of the Committee remain the same as the previous committee which included, Basil Williams, Joseph Harmon, Jaipaul Sharma, Carl Greenidge, Khemraj Ramjattan, Gail Teixeira, Anil Nandlall, Dr. Ashni Singh and Juan Edghill.
When contacted by iNews, APNU’s Basil Williams said the opposition members are yet to meet to discuss who and whether Teixeira will be re-elected as Chairperson. She said he had his personal views on the idea but did not divulge the details. The Bill was sent to the Committee on December 19.
It was returned to the House after an initial defeat on November 7 by a majority opposition vote which caused Guyana to miss its November 18 deadline set by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) for the enactment of the Bill. Guyana has since been blacklisted by CFATF.
At the last sitting when the Bill was sent to the select committee, the Government had stressed the urgency of beginning and completing the work in time for a February review by the French-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF), in which Guyana could be included. However it has been 20 day since and nothing has been done.
Nandlall told iNews that he remains disappointed. He contends that the Bill should not have even been return to a select committee in the first instance.
“I would have thought that the committee would have moved with speed to ensure that it was up and running, but to date nothing.”
CFATF itself is expected to review Guyana’s position at its next meeting in May. If Guyana is unable to meet that deadline, the body is expected to hand Guyana over to the Financial Action Task Force for the International Cooperation Review Group’s (ICRG) evaluation to begin.
CFATF, at its plenary meeting in November had warned its members to “consider implementing counter measures to their financial systems from the ongoing money laundering and terrorist financing risks” emanating from Guyana.