APNU under pressure to pass Anti – Money Laundering Amendment Bill; Diplomatic Community expresses concerns

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Leader of the APNU, David Granger. [iNews' Photo]
Leader of the APNU, David Granger. [iNews’ Photo]
[www.inewsguyana.com] The main opposition – a Partnership for National Unity (APNU) is under pressure from the Diplomatic Community to ensure the successful passage of the Anti – Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Amendment Bill in the National Assembly.

On Tuesday, October 29 a number of diplomats which included United States Ambassador to Guyana, Brent Hardt; Canadian High Commissioner, Dr. Nicole Giles; British High Commissioner, Andrew Ayre and a representative from the European Union met with members of the APNU to discuss the Party’s position on the Amendment Bill.

During a telephone interview with iNews, APNU Executive Member Joseph Harmon said that the diplomatic members wanted to know the APNU’s policy position on the ongoing issue.

“We made it clear that the Bill must be seen as part of an overall issue of governance in the country and the legislative environment which we work in must be seen in that regard. We made it known to them that the work of the Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSSC) ended abruptly and the inputs from the APNU were not considered,” Harmon told iNews.

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

According to Harmon, the diplomatic community is mostly concerned about the sanctions which will be imposed on Guyana if the Amendment Bill is not passed before the stipulated deadline.

As such, he noted that one of the diplomatic members enquired if the APNU will be prepared to work with the Parliamentary Select Committee if the Amendment Bill is sent once again to that Committee for review.

To this end, Harmon noted that the APNU is always prepared to work along with the committee.

“Their main concern is to see how best everyone can work together to ensure the Amendment Bill is passed and that Guyana is not sanctioned by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF),” Harmon explained.

Present at this morning’s meeting with the diplomatic community was Leader of the APNU, David Granger; Dr. Rupert Roopnarine, Carl Greenidge, Basil Williams, Ronald Bulkhan and Mr. Harmon.

US Ambassador to Guyana, Brent Hardt
US Ambassador to Guyana, Brent Hardt

Government members of the PSSC met on October 22 and completed the work of the Amendment Bill.

The draft bill is now ready to be tabled at the next sitting of parliament for its final reading. However, this work was completed without the attendance of the parliamentary opposition.

Guyana has until November to amend its laws to assure the international community that the country has taken mandatory steps to reduce the possibilities of dirty monies passing through its financial system, via money transfers and otherwise, to finance terrorism. Failure to pass the legislation will see Guyana being blacklisted.

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