President Donald Ramotar today accused the opposition of shifting the goalpost on the stalled anti-money laundering bill as he led the first stakeholders’ consultation on the contentious legislation in the city.
The President led the line-up of government functionaries present at the Guyana International Convention Centre (ICC) to face the stakeholders gathered and he wasted little time in informing them that the legislation is at the mercy of the APNU-led political opposition.
“The goalpost is being shifted and every effort is being made to prevent this bill from being passed. This is a human disaster that we are facing not a natural disaster and the opposition continues to carry the line that we are creating hysteria in the country,” Ramotar said.
His address patterned similar public speeches on the issue, emphasising that his government is prepared to work with the opposition but that the passage of the legislation depends on whether Opposition Leader David Granger and his side would be reasonable.
Throughout the consultation, government ministers made the word “reasonable” their mantra, arguing that they have been negotiating all this time with an opposition side that is not only unreasonable but unpatriotic. The legislation, they said, is a question of patriotism because of how important it is to the country.
The government team, which included Attorney General Anil Nandlall, Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh and Junior Finance Minister Juan Edghill used the public forum to stress that the administration has a compliant bill which has been cleared for passage by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), but that there has been no real movement on it because of the opposition’s foot dragging and delaying tactics.
One particular line emerged from some of the questions: “What exactly are these APNU amendments?”
APNU boycotted the national consultation, linking it to the government’s public relations machinery yet a few citizens stood up and directed questions at them. There was a particular comment from an Albouystown resident, who described the impasse as an unnecessary distraction that is robbing ordinary citizens of proper national representation across the board.
This observation was echoed through some of the public contributions at the forum- people expressed disappointment in the current political situation and the “back and forth” with the legislation. It was also clear that the issues which are in contention have not been properly communicated to the public.
Another important question put to the President was this: Where do the parties go from here? He simply responded that the opposition continues to play politics on the issue.