Guyana’s money laundering perception hurting local banks; Association makes presentation before AML/CFT Committee

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By Kurt Campbell

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI), John Tracey. [iNews' Photo]
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI), John Tracey. [iNews’ Photo]
[www.inewsguyana.com] – iNews has learned that amid the rush to complete amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Bill, the Bankers Association of Guyana made a presentation before the Parliamentary Committee considering the amendments at a meeting which reportedly went late into the night on Wednesday (January 29).

Bankers have been and continue to decry the negative impact the absence of modern AML/CFT legislation is having on their businesses locally and particularly on the international scene.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI), John Tracey attested before reporters on Thursday (January 30) 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.

“It is quite unfortunate that banks will be affected,” he lamented. He did state however that the transfers of large sums of monies while it has come under heavy scrutiny are still being done.

Meanwhile, Enterprise Risk Management Director at GBTI Jan Cherim also believes that it is the perception that has led to the difficulties now being experienced in the banking and financing sector in the Guyana.

He believes it is important for politicians to work in unison to correct that perception. The Parliamentary Committee considering the amendments to the AML/CFT Bill is the second to be constituted (with the same members).

Guyana was blacklisted by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) for failing to enact appropriate money laundering legislation in November 2013, after the opposition voted down the Bill in the National assembly, claiming that considerations were ended prematurely by then Chairperson, Government MP Gail Teixeira and that the Bill was incomplete.

CFATF moved 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.

The government had said then that it feared the move would have severely affected Guyana’s credibility in the International Community.

At the Parliament sitting when the Bill was re-committed to the select committee, the Government had stressed the urgency of beginning and completing the work in time for a February review by the French-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF), in which Guyana could be included.

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.

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