By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Even as Guyana has missed another deadline to amend its Anti – Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML&CFT) Act, Opposition Leader David Granger is of the strong view that a significant portion of Guyana’s economy depends on ‘dirty money.’
Government and the political opposition are in a deadlock and cannot seem to reach a compromise in order to amend the legislation in the National Assembly.
During a press conference on Friday (February 28), Granger told reporters that the governing People’s Progressive Party has been “doodling with Anti – Money Laundering legislation for 14 years and it is the APNU which has taken a principled position to strengthen the FIU [Financial Intelligence Unity]….we cannot compromise on principle, we cannot weaken the Bill simply to make a deal. We are firm on calling for those Amendments.”
The Opposition Leader also chastised the government for not prosecuting anyone under the Act. However, it was also pointed out to Granger that no other Caricom countries have prosecuted anyone for Anti – Money Laundering offences.
As such, he noted that perhaps the crime is more prevalent in Guyana and refused to compare this country to others.
“It is our view that a significant portion of this economy depends on dirty money. What we do know is that dirty money is so pervasive that is actually strongly manufacturing and preventing other forms of development from taking place.
“We know that gold is being smuggled out of the country, we know that narcotics are being brought into the country, we know that narcotics are being packaged, canned, put into lumber and sent out of the country, we know that there is dirty money around.
“We want enforcement and if the government was more concerned with implementation and enforcement, we would have had prosecution, we would have had STRs [Suspicious Transaction Reports],” the Opposition Leader said.
According to Granger, the FIU does not have the ability to analyse STRs.
“Even if it [FIC] got STRs from the banking system or the cambios, it does not even have the ability to analyse those reports. So there is either a high degree of complicity or incompetence.”