CFATF must ensure assessors are continuously trained to be more objective, clinical – AG

Attorney General Anil Nandlall and his delegation in Aruba for the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) 57th Plenary and Working Group Meetings

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall is currently leading Guyana’s delegation to the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) 57th Plenary and Working Group Meetings being held from November 26, 2023 to December 1, 2023 in Aruba.

Guyana’s delegation includes senior representatives from the Bank of Guyana, Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), Guyana Gold Board, Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), Guyana Securities Council.

The CFATF Plenary and Working Group meetings are critical to the improvement and success of jurisdictions in meeting their international Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) obligations, which follow the recommendations of the global oversight body, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

At these meetings, countries who are in the assessment process get the opportunity to discuss key issues identified in their Draft Mutual Evaluation Report; countries that have already been assessed under the fourth-round process provide updates on progress made since their evaluation; delegates are provided updates on outcomes for the FATF various meetings, and on new and emerging money laundering threats in the region.

With the Mutual Evaluation of Guyana by the CFATF recently taking place during the period of September 3 – 16 2023, Guyana will be expected to defend its position at the CFATF 58th Plenary in Trinidad and Tobago in May/June 2024.

Accordingly, attendance at this CFATF 57th Plenary in Aruba provides a critical opportunity for Guyanese authorities to assess similar items in relation to their assessment, and adequately defend Guyana’s position before the CFATF 58th Plenary.

In his address to the Plenary on Wednesday, the Attorney General recognised the excellent work that CFATF has done over the years and acknowledged the efforts of the assessors in their Mutual Evaluations.

However, he called on CFATF to ensure that assessors continue to be trained in order to improve their capabilities so that they can be even more objective and clinical in their assessments.

“The Mutual Evaluation Peer Assessment of a nation’s financial sector for AML/CFT compliance in accordance with the requisite international standards is an exercise of fundamental importance. An adverse assessment can have pernicious consequences and far reaching ramifications for a country’s financial sector, economic welfare and can affect the lives and livelihoods of an entire population.

“It is therefore imperative that these assessors appreciate the magnitude of their responsibility and discharge them with diligence and objectivity,” the Attorney General said.

He expressed the hope that his observations are interpreted in the spirit with which
it is expressed. That is to say, with the hope and expectation that it will result in a
stronger and more effective regional AMLCFT monitoring framework.