Gov’t proposed AML Bill puts too much power in the hands of Ministers – Granger

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By Fareeza Haniff

Leader of the APNU, David Granger. [iNews' Photo]
Leader of the APNU, David Granger. [iNews’ Photo]
[www.inewsguyana.com]Will A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) support a “clean” version of the Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Amendment Bill if it is presented in the National Assembly on February 10?

The answer to this question will be revealed on the floor of the National Assembly, as Leader of the APNU David Granger could not give reporters a direct ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer during a press conference on Friday, February 7.

Instead, Granger explained that the APNU is working at the committee level to ensure that the Bill is “cleaned up” to the satisfaction of the Party.

The APNU Leader also could not say if the committee will finish its deliberations in time to meet the proposed deadline for a review of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) sometime next week.

Granger is adamant that President Donald Ramotar should respect and assent to Bills which were presented and passed in the National Assembly by the APNU and only if this is done, then the APNU will support ‘certain’ legislation presented by the government side of the House.

When asked if this includes the Anti Money Laundering Amendment Bill, Granger said, “Well it will include what we want it to include.”

Meanwhile, in shedding some light on what exactly the APNU is ‘cleaning up’ in the Bill, Granger explained that the draft Bill by the government puts too much power in the hands of the Legal Affairs and Finance Ministers, who has the authority to order that someone be arrested.

“The Minister can have you arrested; the Minister can have your house searched. Some of them are outrageous, that’s why we’re taking this amount of time and going through it with a fine tooth comb. It’s not only you, you’re family, people related to you. People are exposed because of some of the provisions. We have to be very careful with how we go ahead,” the APNU Leader said.

He further noted that the APNU is only interested in ensuring that the people of Guyana are protected against draconian legislation which could harm their human rights.

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