[www.inewsguyana.com] – Guyana has been granted some flexibility by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to comply with international financial obligations, but the chances of crossing the hurdle of securing the passage of the Anti-Money Laundering Bill remain as dismal today as it was last November.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall has expressed zero optimism that the Opposition will lend its support to the Government to pass the Bill which is currently languishing at a select committee.
“They have done everything in their power to prevent us from passing this Bill… the APNU said that even if we were to arrive to a consensual position in the committee, then the Bill still will not receive their support when it reaches the floor of the National Assembly because their position is that the Government must accede to a series of requests that they have made,” he said.
He explained that even if the Government decides to take the risk of passing the Opposition’s version of the Bill, which in his opinion will still make the country non-compliant, from all indications, the Opposition is unprepared to support such a move.
There is every likelihood that Guyana will be placed on that infamous blacklist if the Bill is not passed before FATF’s next meeting in October 2015.
“I think that we have exhausted all the goodwill that was extended to us, but we will continue to work with all the stakeholders, the private sector and significantly the international community… so that we make our country ready and to avoid blacklisting. That is all we can do as a Government,” Minister Nandlall submitted.
If blacklisted, then automatically Guyana will become a destination that will pose great risks to countries and foreign businesses as such, it will have limited access to international trade and international financing.
“The sum total to all of this is that life will become miserable for the ordinary Guyanese and the cost of living will go up. Guyana does not exist in isolation; we are part of a global community. The price of goods and services and the availability of goods and services depend upon on our standing in the international community. The lower the standing, the higher the likelihood that we will have to pay more for goods and services,” the AG said.
For this reason, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Caribbean Bankers Association and many other international and regional bodies have called on Guyana to pass the outstanding Bill and become compliant in the interest of trade in the region.
“Many are calling for the Bill to be passed; the only persons who don’t seem interested in passing the Bill are the 33 members who sit on the other side of the Parliament,” the Legal Affairs Minister said.
[Extracted and modified from GINA]