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APNU pulls out of Committee tasked with fine-tuning amendments to Guyana’s law on financial crimes – 20th May 2013

shot0022The drama does not get any better than this: both opposition parties in the National Assembly have accused the Government of stalling the process towards amending the law on financial crimes and have been furnishing what they say is the proof.

The seven-seat party AFC had already threatened not to support the amendments, and today the APNU took things a bit further.

APNU pulled out of a Committee that is expected to tidy up the amendments proposed by the Government and send the report back to the House for a vote.

Opposition Leader David Granger wrote President Donald Ramotar today, stating that he was shown a letter from the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force dated April 10. The letter was addressed to the President and was circulated to members of the Special Select Committee concerning amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act.

The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force recommended that President Ramotar share its letter to Members of the Government, the Leader of the Opposition as well as Members of the Opposition and all technical public sector officials involved in the fight against money laundering.

The letter noted that Guyana’s Report to the Plenary of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force be comprehensive, in writing and submitted to the Secretariat well ahead of the Plenary Meeting and in any event by May 6, 2013.

Granger said that he did not receive a copy of the said letter from the President and asked Mr. Ramotar for an explanation of his refusal to share the letter.

As such, Granger instructed the APNU representatives of the Select Committee to take no further part in the work of the Committee until a satisfactory explanation is received from the President.

The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force is an arm of the International Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an independent inter-Governmental body that develops and promotes policies to protect the global financial system against money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Non-passage of the amendments to the Money Laundering Bill  could shame the Government for failing to act and could put the country on an international blacklist for not doing enough to combat money laundering and stopping financing for terrorism.

The Special Parliamentary Committee was set up to examine and tidy up the amendments proposed by the Government.

The AFC, the other Parliament party, is participating in the work of the Commission, but when the amendments come up for a vote on May 22, the AFC could withhold its support if its demands are not met.

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