PPP/C MP and Chief Whip Gail Teixeira has again been elected to the chairmanship of the Special Select Committee on Anti Money-Laundering/ Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Amendment Bill.
The decision was made yesterday afternoon during the committee’s first meeting since being formed late last year. Before the meeting Teixeira, who chaired the last such committee, was skeptical of her chances of being re-elected.
The opposition parties – the Alliance for Change (AFC) and A Partnership for National Unity – had no qualms about blaming Teixeira for the bill’s defeat last November. They argued that it was Teixeira who brought the committee to a premature end before the bill was properly scrutinized.
As a result, the bill was voted down by the combined opposition when it was returned to the National Assembly last November.
However, the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), after failing Guyana during plenaries in May and November, has given Guyana until May to pass the AML/CFT Amendment Bill. As a result, last December the National Assembly re-tabled the legislation and re-created the Select Committee which is to scrutinize its contents.
Teixeira said that the purpose of the meeting yesterday was to decide on a chairman. She said that PPP/C MP Juan Edghill nominated her to the post, while she seconded the nomination. Since the nomination was not challenged by APNU MPs Basil Williams or Jaipaul Sharma the position became hers, again.
She said that her first move was to suggest that the committee meet later this week to begin its work.
Teixeira said she is anxious to get working on the bill, and would like to see it returned to the National Assembly by the first week in February. The push is likely aimed at sidestepping the possibility of a Financial Action Task Force Meeting (FATF) meeting which is scheduled for next month.
Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall had said that while CFATF has given Guyana until May, FATF may decide to assess Guyana when it meets next month.
At any rate, there will be no such meeting this week as the opposition members, she said, indicated their inability to attend. It is expected that the very members who sat on the committee last year will return, with the exception of APNU MP Deborah Backer who is currently ill and hospitalized.