By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Amendment Bill should be tabled and passed in the National Assembly as a matter of priority to secure Guyana’s financial options.
This is according to US Charge d’ Affaires Bryan Hunt who made the comment while speaking on a local radio programme on Thursday, May 28 and was responding to questions from the host of the programme about priorities for the 11th session of parliament.
Guyana’s National Assembly failed to pass the critical piece of legislation in the tenth parliament owing to unnecessary back and forth between the then Government and the parliamentary opposition over critical aspects of the legislation.
As a result, Guyana was summarily blacklisted by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) – the regional body that deals with financial crimes.
This took place despite pressures from several civil society groups and members for the diplomatic corps for the political factions to find common ground and allow the Bill to be passed in the National Assembly.
Hunt, during the interview, explained that the AML/CFT Bill should be one of the first items on the parliamentary agenda.
“I would hope it is one of the first items on the agenda on the new Parliament,” he said while noting that there are “competing” pieces of legislation that need to be addressed but the AML/CFT Bill has a finite amount of time within which it can be passed.
Guyana has until the third quarter of 2015 to ensure that the legislation is passed and enacted or it could be the subject of further financial blacklisting by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
“It is going to be very important that Guyana is able to present new legislation as it had promised…The indications I am getting it that it remains towards the top of the agenda and I hope that it will be tabled very soon in parliament,” said the US Envoy.