Jamaica offers to assist Guyana as further blacklisting looms

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Jamaica's Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller embraces President Donald Ramotar
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller embraces President Donald Ramotar

[www.inewsguyana.com] – Heads of States of the Caricom Community (Caricom) continue to reach out to President Donald Ramotar, and the people of Guyana, to offer support in face of the imminent threat of Guyana being labelled by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as a high-risk and non-cooperative jurisdiction in the global fight against money laundering and terrorist financing, as a result of its inability to pass, and put in place the necessary laws and counter-measures.

Prime Minister of Jamaica Portia Simpson Miller this week wrote a letter to the President in which she noted the similarity with what is being observed in Guyana and what was observed in Jamaica before that country met the first plenary deadline last year.

“Jamaica also faced challenges in term of enacting several laws in order to prepare for the CFATF plenary in November in 2013. The failure to pass the legislation would have led to the same consequences which Guyana now faces. However, the Jamaican Parliament was able to pass the necessary legislation,” Prime Minister Simpson-Miller wrote.

Jamaica was able to pass the changes, including amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Act and the Terrorism Prevention Act, as well as the passing of a new law; the United Nations Security Council Resolutions Implementation Act.

In her letter, the Prime Minister said that if the Guyana Government so requires, Jamaica can make available copies of these laws. She said also that Jamaica is prepared to provide technical advice to Guyana if this will be of assistance.

“If Jamaica can be of assistance in any other manner or provide any other support to Guyana in your attempts to deal with legislative issues, please advise me and we will make every effort to help,” she wrote.

Premier of Bermuda, the Honourable Craig Cannonier
Premier of Bermuda, the Honourable Craig Cannonier

President Ramotar is also in receipt of a letter from the Premier of Bermuda, the Honourable Craig Cannonier. The Premier wrote: “I understand that as a result of internal challenges, critical amendments to your country’s existing legislation have not been able to be enacted and as a result Guyana’s credibility and internal reputation are under threat.” He recognises that as a further consequence, Guyana is likely to be sanctioned by the FATF and its Caribbean bodies.

“While recognising the ongoing challenge that you face, the Government of Bermuda encourages you to continue your effort to bring the necessary legislation into force,” he added.

For over a year, the Guyana Government has been working to get the Parliamentary Opposition to support the passage of the critical Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) (Amendment) Bill.

Guyana has since been blacklisted for failing to meet one deadline, and now stands looming is further blacklisting with the upcoming FATF plenary in Miami on May 21.

On November 15, 2013, Guyana was among 15 countries that were identified as jurisdictions that have strategic deficiencies that pose a risk to the international financial systems.

The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) noted that Guyana has made efforts to address its deficiencies; however, it has not taken sufficient steps towards improving its AML/CFT compliance regime by failing to approve and implement required legislative reforms.

The body called for Guyana to therefore pass the relevant legislation and implement all the outstanding issues within its Action Plan. Two deadlines including a February 28, 2014 and a final deadline before the plenary meeting of the FATF Caribbean body in May were given.

Guyana has since missed the February deadline and until now has been unable to get the Parliamentary Opposition to pass the legislation necessary to meet the May deadline. (GINA)

 

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