Gov’t admits to gambit in OAS, CARICOM pleas for speedy passage of AML Bill

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By Kurt Campbell

[www.inewsguyana.com] –Government’s Chief Whip Gail Teixeira has admitted that there was some overture on the Administration’s part at the level of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organization of American States (OAS), leading them to make public statements in relation to the passage of the amended Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Bill.

When asked whether government lobbied those organizations to get them to make public pronouncements on the matter, Teixeira said “I don’t think lobby is the right word but as a government that sit at those levels we do have the capacity to speak to friendly countries about our situation and ask them to support us.”

According to Teixeira, these statements were not issued merely because of approaches by representatives of the administration but pointed out that Guyana’s deficiencies in combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism legislatively can also affect member countries of the groupings, particularly through export and import transactions.

“Caricom and the OAS is very concerned, even if there was an overture by us, we have been watched and countries are worried about the impact it will have on their economies and they have every right to be concerned, this is not a Guyana story only,” the Government Chief Whip told reporters.

According to her, the issue may also come up for discussion at the Head of Government Meeting of CARICOM later in February.

Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, on Monday (February 10) called on political parties and other stakeholders to pass the AML/CFT Bill and noted that the OAS is ready to support Guyana in this regard.

A press release posted on the OAS website noted that Mr. Insulza has been following the issue in Guyana, adding that the legislation would bring the country into compliance with the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) requirements, “thus preventing unnecessary damage to the country’s financial stature”.

On Tuesday, it was the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) which also called on Guyana’s legislators to pass the amended AML/CFT Bill as the country faces further sanctions internationally.

In a statement issued from its Liliendaal-based secretariat, Caricom said it was concerned by the continuing delay in Guyana’s progress towards implementing recommendations to address deficiencies in its anti-money laundering regime.

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