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Gov’t, opposition tangle kills anti-money laundering legislation

expo 13On Thursday evening, the government knew that what it was attempting in the National Assembly was suicidal, but it took the plunge anyhow. Before going into the day’s sitting, it knew it neither had enough votes nor did it have the backing of the opposition to pass legislation against money laundering and the financing of terrorism. So the Bill was bound to have been voted down; and that is exactly what happened. Today, the President announced what he was going to do.

The opposition side of the House tried to get the Bill back into a special parliamentary select committee, but the government used two excuses to stop that from happening – one that a Parliamentary procedure was breached and that the opposition did not say if the extra time needed would meet the November 18 deadline the country has to meet. The government has been saying that that the failure to enact the legislation would have far-reaching and dire consequences, since the country would be down-rated by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, CFATF, the legal body which dictates regulations against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

The President is sending the Attorney General Anil Nandlall and the Head of the Financial Intelligence Unit Mr Paul Geer to submit Guyana’s case at the CFATF Plenary in the Bahamas. However, Mr Ramotar was not certain if there is any extra elbow room to play with so Guyana can get its act together and avoid the so-called Blacklist.

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