APNU embarrassed yet again on AML/CFT amendments – AG says he understands Harmon’s bitterness

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[www.inewsguyana.com] – Attorney General Anil Nandlall has expressed shock at what he said was an ‘irrational outburst’ by  Opposition Member of Parliament Joseph Harmon in relation to comments he had made expressing the view that the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) has deemed the opposition proposals to the Government’s AMLCFT Bill, as unacceptable.

APNU Member of Parliament, Joseph Harmon.
APNU Member of Parliament, Joseph Harmon.

Harmon had junked the interpretation of the Attorney General, adding that his impression is that the pronouncements by the Caribbean body are merely advisory and not binding.

He had called Nandlall to make both the letter he wrote to the body and its response public and let people judge for themselves.

In response, the AG explained to iNews that he was making reference to a letter which he received from Calvin Wilson, Executive Director, CFATF Secretariat.  He said this letter was circulated via email to all the members of the Select Committee, including Harmon.

“Perhaps Mr. Harmon is peeved that the content of the letter has been made public by me for the simple reason that the letter confirms the deficiencies which the Government has long identified infected the Opposition’s proposal. Maybe he was hoping that this would not have been made public.”

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall

Nandlall said he reiterated these concerns repeatedly in the Select Committee, adding that the Opposition disregarded his views and stubbornly persisted with their proposal.

“It is therefore the second time that the APNU have been publicly embarrassed on this matter. I can therefore understand the obvious acrimony in Mr. Harmon’s tone of language.”

Nandlall said he never pretended to interpret anything for the APNU. He said he would never arrogate to himself such a grave and serious responsibility and pointed out that he was simply speaking about a letter addressed to him by CFATF which he was kind enough to share with Harmon and his colleagues.

“Neither did I suggest, in any form nor fashion, that the letter is binding as Mr. Harmon contended. What I am absolutely sure about is that since CFATF stands in the shoes of a Judge in this situation, it would be utterly foolish to disregard their views.”

The AG reasoned too that it was the CFATF Chairperson and its Technical Director, when they visited Guyana a few weeks ago, who offered technical assistance, both to the Government and the Opposition.

“In fact, they invited us to submit for their review and comments, the Government’s as well as the Opposition’s draft, which I did. The Government does not need Mr. Harmon’s or anyone approval or authority to do any such thing, as Mr. Harmon contends.”

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