By Tracey Khan – Drakes
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Political consensus to pass the Anti-Money Laundering & Countering the Financing of Terrorism Amendment Bill seems highly unlikely; as the Alliance For Change (AFC) and Government are bent on having their demands met first before there is any compromise.
During the radio programme ‘Hard Talk’ on 90.1 Love FM, today (June, 1) Minister within the Finance Ministry, Juan Edghill and AFC Executive Member Dominic Gaskin spoke extensively on the matter of Guyana being blacklisted and the ramifications.
However none of the two sides could reach an agreement to extend a hand of trust and move Guyana out of this dilemma.
Edghill believes that the passage of this Bill should not be tied to anything, adding that the Opposition is blackmailing Government and holding the people to ransom because of its demand for the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission (PPC).
Additionally, Edghill noted that the only obstacle in Government’s way to establish the (PPC) is the Opposition’s rejection to allow Government’s “no objection” privilege to remain before contracts are awarded.
This, he noted is the stumbling block for the establishment of the PPC.
The ramifications were also reiterated by both Minister Edghill and Gaskin, after the CFATF recently listed Guyana as a jurisdiction with significant (AML/CFT) deficiencies that has failed to make significant progress in addressing those deficiencies in keeping with agree timelines.
On the other hand, Gaskin believes that the time has not been taken to fully inform the nation accurately on what the non passage of this Bill means, and adds that several sections of society are using the scare mongering tactics to unnecessarily frighten the Guyanese people.
However, Bishop Edghill strongly disagreed with this statement and noted the many Town Hall styled meetings that were held throughout the country by Government to educate the population on the Bill.
Further, the AFC said it maintains that its platform of good governance is priority and does not believe that there should be any political domination or control, thus its emphasis on dividing and placing power in institutions and commissions.
Gaskin said the AFC believes that the Government amended AML/CFT Bill is sufficient to allow Guyana to be in compliance with the international standards. However, the establishment of the PPC cannot be overstated.
Calls continue to mount from in and out of Guyana for the passage of this Bill. Just recently, the Opposition expressed optimism that the Bill can be passed and on Monday President Donald Ramotar and Opposition Leader David Granger are schedule to meet in an effort to end the political stalemate and hopefully pass the Bill.