Two countries pushing for Guyana review over anti-laundering delinquency – AG

Two members of the Financial Action Task Force are calling for Guyana to be brought before the International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG), the entity charged with analysing high risk-jurisdictions, and for specific actions to be taken, Attorney General Anil Nandlall says.

Nandlall, who said such a move could see the “final blacklisting” of the country, would not identify the countries.

He, however, yesterday noted that Guyana has been regionally blacklisted and following through on the passing of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) (Amendment) legislation was necessary to ensure that Guyana was not taken to the ICRG. He said that Guyana scored the highest in terms of delinquencies and it was crucial to ensure the country moved from that list prior to this week’s FATF Plenary, which begins today in Paris, France.

Nandlall said the FATF “would identify if Guyana goes to the ICRG for review or if Guyana is not identified then definitely the CFATF [Caribbean Financial Action Task Force] at its next plenary meeting in May will recommend that Guyana be so identified.”

Efforts to have the AML/CFT re-introduced and passed in the National Assembly on Monday failed, prompting yet another agreement by committee members to meet today to conclude its work.

PPP/C MP and Chairman of the Special Select Committee on the anti-money laundering amendment bill Gail Teixeira told Stabroek News yesterday that the fear of blacklisting was great, while noting that the FATF did not necessarily need to wait on the recommendation of the CFATF before making a decision to send Guyana to the ICRG. Teixeira stated that the FATF could decide at its plenary in Paris what happens to Guyana, given its delinquent status, despite CFATF, which called for countermeasures against Guyana last year.

Among the issues on the agenda for the FATF plenary, according to its website, is identifying jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies in their AML/CFT system and reviewing progress made by jurisdictions that had been identified at the October 2013 Plenary.

Teixeira reiterated that Guyana was listed as a country of non-compliance and that Belize, which was also flagged by the CFATF last year, had managed to pass through six pieces of legislation prior to the plenary meeting in Paris. In that time, Guyana has failed to do the same, she said.

Neither Nandlall nor Teixeira could confirm if Guyana was indeed up for review by the FATF due to today’s meeting being closed. Guyana will have to wait until the end of the Plenary before knowing what actual action will be taken, if any, for failing to pass the AML/CFT amendment bill.

Since the FATF’s last publication in October of 2013, Guyana was not listed as a high-risk or non-cooperative jurisdiction nor on the list of improving Global Anti Money laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Compliance. Guyana was not even listed as a jurisdiction not making sufficient progress. The FATF is the inter-governmental body to which the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force reports as a member.

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