Anti – Money Laundering Bill to induce battle at November 7 Parliamentary Sitting

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By Kurt Campbell

Leader of the APNU, David Granger.
Leader of the APNU, David Granger.

[www.inewsguyana.com] – Opposition Leader David Granger says the main opposition party – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) – remains unwavering in its position on the Anti – Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Amendment Bill.

He says his party has no confidence that the amendment bill is ready for final reading set for November 7 and needs much more serious assessment.

“The Government had the Bill for four years and wanted to push it through the house in four months … Guyana is already in trouble and it’s not the APNU that’s responsible, it’s the Government” Granger said, adding that “they are talking about wasting time, it is now 21 days since parliament reconvened on October 10 and there has not been a single sitting, it is the government that is taking its own time.”

Granger is asking that the Government return the Bill to the Parliamentary Select Committee where it spent the last few months so that the amendments can be completed, expressing a belief that it will be difficult to make such amendments on the floor.

He gave no guarantee that the APNU will support the Bill in its current form.

Meanwhile, APNU Member of Parliament Joseph Harmon told reporters at the party’s press briefing on Friday November 1 that the government will have to deal with the consequences of returning the Bill to the house without the full consent of the opposition.

The Alliance for Change (AFC) has signaled its intent to support the Bill on the grounds that the government has announced that it will establish a Public Procurement Commission, something the AFC had said it will not support the Bill unless it was established and operational. However, whether this support will come at the next sitting set for November 7 is unknown.

Government Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira
Government Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira

The APNU on the other hand says there is no nexus between the Bill and the Public Procurement Commission and maintains that there must be the passage of a good Bill determined by the Parliament of Guyana.

Harmon dispelled pronouncements by Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon that the APNU cannot dictate what the Bill should have; stating that it is aimed at satisfying requirements of the Caribbean Action Task Force (CFATF). “CFATF cannot dictate how we must craft the bill, we are a democratic society… we had been working assiduously to ensure we have a good Bill” Harmon said.

He went onto accuse the Government of not sharing information on the Bill and planning meetings when it knew the opposition members would be unable to attend, intentionally.

Guyana has already found itself on a watch list for failing to meet deadlines in the past and now has a November 18 deadline for the passage of the Bill.

Several local institutions have also been complaining of experiencing difficulties in their international business transaction.

The amendments will be returned to the House on November 7 by Chairperson of the Parliamentary Select Committee and Government Chief Whip Gail Teixeira.

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