[www.inewsguyana.com] – The latest ranking of countries in terms of its level of delinquency for implementing measuring to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has ranked Guyana as the highest.
According to Attorney General Anil Nandlall, this means that Guyana is most likely to be identified for an International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG) review by FATF at their meeting in mid-February unless the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Amendment Bill is passed in the National Assembly.
Guyana as a member of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) – an organization of 29 states in the Caribbean basin – had agreed to implement common counter measures to address the problem of money laundering with time frames for doing same.
Guyana was later blacklisted in November by CFATF after it also failed to meet that deadline subsequently to voting down of the bill in the National Assembly by the Parliamentary majority opposition on November 7.
The Opposition had said at the time that the Bill was incomplete and should be returned to a Special Select Committee where it had already spent five months under consideration.
CFATF had moved to encourage its member countries to consider implementing counter measures to protect their financial systems from what they say was ongoing money laundering and terrorist financing risks emanating from Guyana.
Since then, the Government has returned the Bill to the National Assembly where it was re-commiteed to a Parliamentary Special Select Committee that is currently consideration further amendments.
The Opposition has been blamed by the administration for its slothfulness on the issue since they are satisfied with the bill in its current form.
CFATF itself is expected to review Guyana’s position at its next meeting in May. If Guyana is unable to meet that deadline, the body is expected to hand Guyana over to the Financial Action Task Force for the International Cooperation Review Group’s (ICRG) evaluation to begin.
When Guyana was blacklisted in November, the government had said then that it feared the move would have severely affected Guyana’s credibility in the International Community. There is already much talk of how the lack of appropriate money laundering legislation is hurting business and financial transactions both locally and internationally.
Only recently, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI), John Tracey attested before reporters of experiencing losses in several international banking relationships.
He said also that international money lending transactions are now taking longer and is increasingly becoming more costly.
Tracey said several banks are up-to-date with its money laundering policies and stated that it is the national perception of a lack of appropriate legislation that seems to be the core issue.