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President Ramotar confirms Guyana now has until November to amend laws governing financial crimes – 29th May 2013

shot0022Speaking in Port of Spain Trinidad, President Donald Ramotar confirmed that Guyana now has until November to come up to speed laws governing the financial crimes of money laundering and financing of terrorism.

Ramotar had dispatched Attorney General Anil Nandlall to Nicaragua where the country was expected to bring the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force up to speed with Guyana’s progress in countering financial crimes.

The Head of the Financial Intelligence Unit Paul Geer was leading Guyana’s delegation, but with the Government failing to rush the opposition to make amendments to various pieces of legislation, Nandlall was added to the team to plead for more time.

The government wanted the amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Bill 2013 (AML/CFT) passed before it faced the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) review panel in Managua.

The 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 and terrorist financing, among other financial crimes.
The Act  had required that the country amend a range of laws. Amendments to the various laws were lumped together and taken to the House as one Bill.

The Bill is now with a Special Parliamentary Select Committee. When that Committee completes it work it will take its report to the full House for a vote. Ramotar hopes that the June 12 meeting of the committee would be the last, saying that he does not believe there is a great deal of work left to be done.

The Government had insisted that without passing the amendments before Guyana faces the review, severe sanctions that would have been imposed.

The seven-seat Alliance for Change (AFC), which holds the balance of power in the National Assembly, is sticking to its demands.
The party has said it would exchange its support for the amendments only if the Government provides a definitive deadline for the setting up of the Public Procurement Commission and if the President re-considers assenting to two Bills which were brought to the House by the opposition and passed.

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