By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) has proposed a new amendment to the Anti – Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act.
According to APNU Parliamentarian Joseph Harmon, who also sits in the Parliamentary Select Committee considering the AML/CFT amendment Bill, the new proposal seeks to empower the Police, Customs, Financial Intelligence Unit and other anti – money laundering agencies to seize ‘cash’ in excess of $10M if believed to be the proceeds of crime or money laundering.
Harmon who was speaking at a press conference on Tuesday (March 4) questioned why the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has not made this amendment a public subject; contending that it does not compliment what he said was its propaganda agenda.
He said the previous amendment 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 still stands.
Harmon reiterated that the APNU’s main objective is to make the Act efficacious and enforceable. He also rejected assertions by the ruling PPP that it was because of the APNU’s uncompromising stance that Guyana is being faced with further international sanctions for failing to enact amendments to the Act.
However, Harmon is contending that it was due to the President’s failure to compromise with the APNU.
The APNU Parliamentarian reminded that there were amendments proposed by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to the Act, which were taken into consideration and questioned why the Government is peddling the notion that the APNU could not amend the Act.
Harmon opined that this is precisely why the work of the committee should remain private until completed since it is a dynamic process and changes are made all the time.
On Monday, March 3 the PPP had said that it refused to take part in what it described as ‘blackmail politics’ to have the amendments passed in the National Assembly.
Guyana missed a February 28 deadline of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), when it was scheduled to submit a report to the regional body on the progress made in passing the legislation.
The Parliamentary Special Select Committee considering the Bill will meet again on March 5.