Co-opetition – A Must For Passing of Anti Money Laundering Law

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–        Who is Opposition Parliamentarians Protecting?

–        National Focus requires Co-opetition

Dr. Peter R. Ramsaroop, MBA

Chairman, Vision Guyana

 Introduction:

Co-opetition is a term we used in the business arena when companies that are competitors work with each other to reach a higher value creation as in cases such as bidding on a large contracting opportunity.  Often coopetition takes place when companies that are in the same market work together.

In the political arena, it should be no different.   We all understand that political parties are competitors working in the same market, but in the case where the benefit of this law achieves a higher value creation and allows Guyana to meet international standards,  the AFC and APNU must join the PPP/C Government in passing the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Bill.  Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh said it best; “this law should not be used as a bargaining chip”   The impact on our nation would be too severe.

Impact

The penalties on Guyana will be severe.   The Opposition has cried foul in the past and there have been rumors on Money Laundering activities in Guyana.   Here, the PPP/C government has proposed making the law internationally compliant, but the Opposition has failed to even consider the amendments and seize the opportunity to pass this law.  This begs three important questions:

Why is the Opposition afraid of this law; who are they protecting; and which entity or individuals will be most affected by supporters of them?

Financial analysts, some who are simply local Accountants without knowledge of the broader global financial issues required in the curbing of Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism, are getting front page exposure in some local papers by attempting to apply political jargon toward a rational program to which Guyana must adhere.

This piece of legislation is not a game within the political arena; it has a negative impact on our nation and its people and must be passed.  Any citizen, who may not have a full understanding of why this is of such importance, would understand more clearly if the private sector, the financial sector, and the movement of money came to halt. The impact then moves from political to personal.

Citizens tend to look at the political arena with different lens than politicians and will fail to understand the Opposition’s (APNU/AFC) stubbornness in supporting a requirement that is national and non-partisan.

For all of our understanding, in 1989, the G7 countries formed an intergovernmental body whose purpose was to develop and promote an international response to combat money laundering.  Anti–Money Laundering (AML) is a term mainly used in the financial and legal industries to describe the legal controls which require financial institutions and other regulated entities to prevent, detect, and report money laundering activities.

Anti–Money Laundering guidelines came into prominence globally as a result of the formation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the promulgation of an international framework of anti–money laundering standards.

These standards began to have more relevance after FATF began a process to publicly identify countries that were deficient in their anti–money laundering laws and international cooperation, a process colloquially known as “name and shame” which seems like the desire of the Opposition.

This week, diplomats of some of the ABC-E countries met with APNU leaders to explain what the ramifications would be if Guyana is not in compliance.   APNU blatantly ignored them, demonstrating their reckless behavior similar to what they have administered in parliament, to the embarrassment of our nation around the world.

The private sector has come out publically and aggressively admonishing the failure of the opposition parliamentarians in supporting this bill.   The private sector understands what it will do to Guyana’s ability to function effectively in this region as well as globally.

If there is anyone that the Opposition should be listening to, it should be the private sector. However, we have recently seen their anti-stance in the business community in Guyana.  The Opposition continues to receive bad advice from the so-called financial pundits who have political agendas and are looking for front page coverage in newspapers.

Conclusion:

We all understand political parties are competitors, none of that is in question. But for opposing parties of the government to constantly block important legislation that moves our nation along, and in this case allows Guyana to comply with international standards, is unpatriotic and unacceptable.  When programs that require national consensus are necessary, Co-opetition is required.

What APNU/AFC parliamentarians have failed to understand is that this is not a political win; it will affect Guyana and it will affect you and me. And sadly, it will affect our families locally and overseas as it relates to remittances and our business partners around the world.  The impact is not on the political arena of the PPP/C, it is on Guyana.

The APNU/AFC needs to get over their obstructive approach and get on with implementing the business of our country or step aside.

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