By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] –The Opposition will not accept any blame for Guyana being blacklisted by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) for failing to enact the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill.
This is according to Opposition Leader David Granger who said it was entirely the fault of the Government and its Chief Whip Gail Teixeira.
The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill was defeated in the National Assembly by a majority opposition vote on November 7.
The Opposition had said at the time that the Bill was incomplete and should be returned to a Special Select Committee where it spent the last five months under consideration.
On Thursday (November 21) Granger maintained this position.
“The matter has been on the cards for 13 years and its only over last six months the government, under threat of being blacklisted began expediting the deliberation on the matter through the special select committee… we will accept no blame, it is the fault of the government and Chief Whip.”
Meanwhile, Government’s Chief Whip Gail Teixeira said that the Opposition should “hang its head in shame” as she blamed them for the position Guyana has found itself in.
She said, “It is utterly disgraceful and we should be ashamed as a people that the opposition would do this to us.”
Teixeira stressed that the matter is a serious one and must be addressed seriously. She said it would take a long time for Guyana to be removed from the list.
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds while addressing the National Assembly on Thursday (November 21) reminded the house that the CFATF investigators said that 98% of Guyana’s deficiencies relates to legislative reforms.
He said while Guyana is currently faced with blacklisting; worst could behold the nation.
Guyana as a member of CFATF – an organization of 29 states in the Caribbean basin – had agreed to implement common counter measures to address the problem of money laundering with time frames for doing same.
Guyana was granted an extra six months in May to pass the Bill and adopt the CFATF recommendations that had been put forward.
Now that Guyana has been blacklisted, financial transactions will come under severe scrutiny, as measures will be taken against banks and other financing outlets.