Guyana to be told to implement anti-laundering reforms by May 2014 – AG
Attorney General Anil Nandlall today said that following a meeting in The Bahamas of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) a formal letter will be sent to Guyana pointing to identified deficiencies in its anti-money laundering legislation and giving it up to May 2014 to implement the necessary reforms failing which it will be referred to the international financial task force.
In a statement he also said that the communiqué likely to be issued at the end of the today’s meeting will likely include a statement that “Members (of CFATF) are therefore called upon to consider implementing counter measures to protect their financial systems from the ongoing money laundering and terrorist financing risks emanating from Guyana.”
This would appear to fall short of the dire blacklisting that the government has been warning the country of over the failure by the opposition to support the reforms sought by the CFATF to the bill in the National Assembly.
The AG’s statement follows:
Statement by the Honourable Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs,
Mohabir Anil Nandlall MP.
At the XXXVIII Plenary Meeting of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), held from November 20-21, 2013, in Freeport, Bahamas, it was resolved and decided that a Public Statement will be issued in respect of Guyana, identifying Guyana as a jurisdiction with “strategic AML/CFT deficiencies that have not made sufficient progress in addressing the deficiencies or have not complied with its Action Plan developed with CFATF to address these deficiencies”. The Statement will be officially issued upon the conclusion of the Plenary Meeting on November 21, 2013.
The Statement is likely to contain the following information:
In November 2011 the CFATF brought to the attention of its Members certain jurisdictions including Guyana with significant strategic deficiencies in their AML/CFT regime. With a view to encouraging expeditious rectification of the identified strategic deficiencies, Guyana and the CFATF developed an Action Plan with identified target dates to address the strategic deficiencies that exist in Guyana’s national architecture to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
As a result of not meeting the agreed timelines in its Action Plan, the CFATF issued a public statement in May 2013 recommending that Guyana take steps to ensure that it addressed its AML/CFT deficiencies. Guyana has made efforts to address its deficiencies, however, it has not taken sufficient steps towards improving its AML/CFT compliance regime by failing to approve and implement required legislative reforms. Guyana must therefore pass the relevant legislation and implement all the outstanding issues within its Action Plan including 1)fully criminalising money laundering and terrorist financing offences, 2) addressing all the requirements on beneficial ownership, 3) strengthening the requirements for suspicious transaction reporting, international co-operation, and the freezing and confiscation of terrorist assets, and 4) fully implementing the UN conventions.
Members are therefore called upon to consider implementing counter measures to protect their financial systems from the ongoing money laundering and terrorist financing risks emanating from Guyana.
It was further resolved and decided that a formal letter be sent to Guyana advising that should the identified deficiencies be not satisfactorily rectified, namely, the approval and implementation of the required legislative reforms, by the next Plenary Meeting, that is, by May 2014, then Guyana will be referred by CFATF to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) International Corporation Review Group (ICRG).
However, it must be emphasised that the FATF will have its next Plenary Meeting in February 2014, and at that meeting, on its own accord and independent of CFATF, FATF can select Guyana for its own review.