By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Civic, Clement Rohee has debunked claims that the government does not want to pass the Anti – Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Bill in the National Assembly.
The accusation was levied against the Administration after it failed to give into the demands of the minority Opposition Party – the Alliance For Change (AFC) – which wanted government to establish the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) and to give up Cabinet’s ‘no objection’ role in the award of contracts.
Government has only 32 seats in Parliament but need 33 votes to successfully pass the Bill so as to meet the requirements of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFAFTF). If government gives into the demands of the AFC, then it will garner the support of that Party to pass the Bill.
However, this is not the case, as the Administration is in a deadlock with the majority Opposition – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) – which has made several proposed amendments to the Principal Act.
When questioned about the issue during the weekly press conference by the PPP on Tuesday, February 11, Rohee said, “Why would a government shoot itself in the foot by going through all these measures, going to such great pains if it was a question if it [government] did not really want it?
“I don’t know where this view is coming from that this government is pamperzeting irrespective of the Bill, which it is pushing so aggressively, spent so many hours, man hours to deal with this matter.”
Rohee then questioned the motives of the Opposition. “Are they really interested in Guyana’s national interest? It is a classical case of brinkmanship where the Opposition wants to prove something…what is it they’re seeking to prove or what is it that they’re seeking to push government to some cliff hanger type of situation.”
He said that the demands by the AFC are not just a simple one which government can readily accept.
“This is a major concession, you’re seeking to remove Cabinet’s role from even foreign funded projects and to put it in the hands of an unknown quantity. It is not a simple concession.”
Guyana has until May 2014 to amend its Anti Money Laundering Bill in order to meet FATF’s standards and contrary to other media reports, the country did not miss any CFATF deadline, as Guyana was not specifically selected to be reviewed during the FATF meeting in Paris this week.
Rohee told reporters that Guyana was among a poll of countries that was prioritise for review.