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APNU stands ground on Anti-Money Laundering legislation

royo eleThe country’s main opposition Parliament bloc, APNU, wants more talks to tidy up legislation against money laundering and financial crimes; it’s either that or no support when the government calls the National Assembly.Last week, the government members of a special parliamentary committee wrapped up work without members of the opposition, but the main opposition wants that committee reconvened or there would be no support for legislation meant to dictate regulations to prevent money laundering and other financial crimes. What’s more, APNU says the government should stop bluffing the population that money from their overseas relatives and friends could be blocked from coming into the country if the amendments do not go through.

A special committee was set up fine-tune amendments to various pieces of legislation to get Guyana up to scratch with global benchmarks to prevent money laundering and other financial crimes. The government has accused the opposition of dilly-dallying, but the opposition is accusing the government of being wrong and strong. The government members of the committee are getting ready to report to the House when the National Assembly is re-convened and get the legislation passed, but without a clear majority, it needs opposition support. APNU, the largest opposition parliamentary block says it will not support anything; the amendments are too massive to be dealt with on the floor, when the National Assembly meets, and so it is impossible to conclude the work that way. The Opposition Leader, David Granger, says any talks should happen in the same committee that the government wrapped up work in.

Granger said that if the government was in such a rush anyhow, then the National Assembly ever since the National Assembly came out of its two-month recess on October 10. APNU Parliamentarian Joseph Harmon, said that his party’s members were unavailable on the day the government decided to wrap up talks, and for reasons the government knew well. Even if the government gets the support of the seven-seat AFC and the legislation is passed, he said that what the regulatory body, the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force would be interested in is enforcement of regulations and not mere passage of legislation. Harmon said that the government should stop trying to scare citizens about the implications of the non-passage of the legislation. The AFC has said that it would support the passage of the legislation against financial crimes if the government agrees to appoint a Public procurement Commission, and have no input whatsoever in the work of that Commission.

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