[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Guyana Trades Union Congress, which is said to be closely aligned with the opposition party – the Peoples National Congress (PNC) – says it wishes to forewarn the nation to expect the government and its allies recommencing the hysteria in a few days regarding the passage of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Amendment Bill.
The Union reminded that Guyana is scheduled to be evaluated by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) Plenary Meeting in Miami during May 25-29.
“The blame for not passing the bill to date must be laid at the feet of the government and those who condemned the effort to arrive at a negotiated settlement between the Executive and Legislature” the GTUC said in a statement.
The body recalled what it said was the hysteria leading up to February 28, adding that it was the date used by the government in misleading the nation to think Guyana faced international sanctions if the bill was not passed.
The Union contended rather that it was merely a front to avoid negotiating with the opposition and must not be repeated. “The May deadline is real and given the importance of the bill and the just requirements of the Opposition and Labour there is enough time within the next few weeks to have these accomplished. Demands for the establishment of the PPC, assent to outstanding bills and respect for the 2012 High Court ruling to reissue letters to commence the Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI) arbitration proceedings are just, fair and within the remit of the rule of law and good governance” the statement added.
The Union went onto note that Guyana is awash with money laundering, drug-related crimes and other forms of financial improprieties. “The credibility for the buoyancy of this economy is a concern to the law-abiding and the international financial institutions (IFIs). Professor Clive Thomas and the IFIs have estimated Guyana’s informal economy, i.e. drugs/organised crime, represents 47% and higher of the official Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This data and Guyana’s image are disconcerting because they hinder the fostering of a conducive legitimate business climate and threaten national security. An acceptable business climate is based on legitimacy and citizens are guaranteed their participation is secured.”
GTUC says it also notes that the Private Sector Commission (PSC) is scheduled to meet this week to address the AML/CFT Bill consistent with complaints within its community.
The GTUC added that it sees the AML/CFT Bill as a necessity and urges those who gave cover to the ‘government autocracy’ to commence objective consideration of the demands made by the various groups, with a view to arriving at a law that the ‘government posturing’ clearly indicates it has no desire to put in place.
“As individuals and groups we can no longer allow the society to bleed. Civic duty requires we make sure appropriate legislation is put in place to sanitise many clouded areas that are of concern to several interest groups and communities.”
The opposition has been encouraged to remain steadfast and intensify their awareness programme in every community to ensure citizens understand the need for an effective law and the necessity of its demands to complement the bill which is a perquisite for good governance.