Ramjattan disregards pressure on local banks from Int’l institutions

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Leader of the AFC, Khemraj Ramjattan.
Leader of the AFC, Khemraj Ramjattan.

[www.inewsguyana.com]Despite the fact that local banks in Guyana are starting the feel the pressure from overseas financial institutions, which is due to the absence of the Anti Money Laundering legislation, the Alliance for Change (AFC) refused to budge in its non support for the Bill.

During an interview with iNews, Leader of the AFC Khemraj Ramjattan said that “the AFC will never shift our position” unless the government establishes the Public Procurement Commission.

When asked if this position will remain even if local banks cannot conduct overseas transactions, Ramjattan said “we will not shift our position simply because the international community is putting pressure on the financial institutions. Do you know what is happening in this country because of no public procurement commission?”

The AFC leader made it clear that the establishment of the Commission is more important to him than the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill.

The private sector and insurance companies have already expressed their concern with the delay in the passage of the Bill by publishing whole page advertisements in the daily newspapers.

To this end, Ramjattan noted that these companies should instead demand that the government uphold the constitution by establishing the Commission.

Additionally, member of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Basil Williams told iNews that there are certain proposals which the APNU has made to be included in the Bill and as such, it will be dealt with during the meeting of the special select committee.

The APNU is on record stating that they will support the Bill, but is in no hurry to bring the legislation to Parliament.

In August, the Bill was sent by the Opposition to a special select committee of the Parliament, despite protests by Government over the approaching deadlines. The Opposition said that it wanted more time to study the bills and make recommendations.

Guyana has until next month to amend its laws to assure the international community that the country has taken mandatory steps to reduce the possibilities of dirty monies passing through its financial system, via money transfers and otherwise, to finance terrorism.

Failure to pass the legislation will see Guyana being blacklisted.  On Monday (October 21), a critical meeting of the Parliamentary Special Select Committee was postponed, with the government once again accusing the Opposition of deliberately delaying the process. According to Chairperson of the Committee, a meeting was scheduled for 16:30 hrs yesterday but was postponed after two members, Deborah Backer and Khemraj Ramjattan, could not be present.

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