Guyana braces for expanded financial blacklisting by FATF next week

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA) — Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon, speaking at his weekly post-Cabinet press briefing on Thursday, said that for Guyana, a Financial Action Task Force (FATF) compliant anti-money laundering legislation is essential in order for the country to escape the blacklisting trap in which it currently finds itself.

“The government has been attempting to engage with new initiatives but the necessary engagement meetings have yet to take place. The sad reality is that the June 19 sitting of the National Assembly would not be graced by a report by the committee considering the [Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AMLCFT) (Amendment)] Bill,” Luncheon said.

As a result, any expectation for the enactment and assent of the AMLCFT Bill in a timely manner has again been lost.

Luncheon said that what is significant about this loss is that Guyana will not be able to take compliant legislation to the FATF plenary, which is scheduled to be convened next week.

This loss, he said, “is going to contribute to a heightening to blacklisting of Guyana and its financial sector.”

Even after Guyana was referred at FATF for further review and the issue of the most recent adverse statement on Guyana, talks at the committee level are more or less the same as they have been since the Bill was tabled.

Minister of finance, Dr Ashni Singh, at a recent press conference, said, “We do not enjoy the luxury of dismissing the views of CFATF or FATF. We are part of an international system; Guyana is not isolated from the rest of the world, and as long we are part of this system, we must abide by international norms.”

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