By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Chief Parliamentary Counsel has requested more time to draft the proposals by A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) as it relates to the Anti – Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Bill (AML&CFT).
Given this recent development, the Parliamentary Special Select Committee which is reviewing the Bill has not been able to complete its work, making it impossible for it to be tabled in the National Assembly during today’s sitting.
Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan told reporters that the Committee members received a letter from the Parliamentary draft’s man stating, “I need considerable amount of time to do a thorough job.”
According to Ramjattan, the members are not aware of how much more time the Parliamentary counsel needs. The Committee will meet again on March 5. Guyana has a February 28 deadline to submit a report to the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) on progress made on the Bill.
This means that the Bill has to be passed, enforced and submitted along with the report by that date to the CFATF. This body then has to analyse the Bill on aspects of compliance with international standards subsequent to which a report will be made to the plenary in May.
On the basis of that report, the plenary will be able to make a decision on the way forward. It will decide whether Guyana should be subjected to further counter measures or if it should be recommended to the FATF for review by the International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG).
The APNU proposed three major amendments to the Principal Act of the AML&CFT Bill. Among the amendments are for Police and Customs Officers to have the power to seize currency worth over $2M (US$10,000) and arrest persons if it is suspected that it is the proceeds of or the subject of money laundering.
Additionally, APNU also proposed that the Finance Minister no longer have the power to appoint the Director of Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and be placed in a committee of the National Assembly.
They further proposed the establishment of an authority comprising 10 persons nominated by the National Assembly after consulting with stakeholders.