By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Guyana Government has officially announced that it will return to the National assembly the defeated Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Amendment Bill.
This announcement was made on Friday (November 29) by Government’s Spokesperson Dr. Roger Luncheon. He could not say however, whether upon the return of the Bill, it will be committed to a Parliamentary Select Committee in favor of the Parliamentary Opposition, who expressed support for the Bill’s return but only through its committal to a committee.
The AML/CFT Amendment Bill was defeated in the National Assembly on November 7 by a majority opposition vote, mere days before Guyana was schedule to make a presentation to the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) on the enactment of the Bill.
The Opposition had argued that the amendments were incomplete and wanted the Bill to be returned, since then, to a select committee where it had already spent several months.
Guyana has since been blacklisted by CFATF for its failure in this regard, which has in effect prompted the need for the defeated bill to be returned. A suspension of the Standing Orders is needed for this to be accomplished and Government will need the support of at least one opposition party to do this. The Opposition has since laid out its terms in this regard.
The return of the Bill is expected for the next sitting of the House set for December 5.
In a recent statement the Ministry of Finance said the move by CFATF to encourage its member countries to consider implementing counter measures to protect their financial systems from the ongoing money laundering and terrorist financing risks emanating from Guyana will severely affect Guyana’s credibility in the International Community.
According to the Ministry the Consequences are as follow:
1. Persons who receive remittances/ cash via money transfer systems, may experience delays in receiving the transfer. There may also be an increased processing fee resulting from additional paperwork.
2. Proof of income and identification of the sender of such remittances will be enhanced. Persons most likely to be affected by this are undocumented aliens who reside abroad.
3. The transfer of money from local to external banks will be delayed as international banks begin to sever ties locally.
4. This delay in bank transfers or severing of financial ties with local banks can affect fuel prices and ultimately the cost for travel and commodities.
5. Local businesses may experience delays in the shipment of goods as additional paperwork will be required to prove that a business is legitimate and not a shell company laundering monies or financing terrorism.
6. Enhanced scrutiny will be implemented to verify the source and destination of all monies.
7. Persons who shop online and use debit and credit cards to conduct such transactions may find their transactions are denied or delayed.
8. Insurance services (fire, life, mortgage etc), most of which depend on reinsurance from abroad, are also expected to experience delays, additional filing of paperwork and possibly increased fees.