Ramotar, Granger differ on latest talks over anti-laundering bill

President Donald Ramotar says Opposition Leader David Granger has refused a compromise offered by government for his side’s support of the passage of the AML/CFT (Amendment) Bill but Granger is saying no compromise was offered.

In an address to the nation yesterday, Ramotar said that Granger contacted Cabinet Secretary Roger Luncheon on Tuesday night indicating an interest to meet on the issue of the bill.

Pursuant to this indication the president said he called Granger and agreed to the meeting, during which he (Ramotar) “proposed to him that the Government was willing to pass the Bill with the Opposition’s amendments, even though we felt it was non-compliant, and even though we did not agree with it that we would vote for it so that we can have a Bill before the FATF meeting later in June, 2014.”

The president also said he proposed that the opposition amend the bill accordingly if the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) found their proposed provisions non-compliant.

Ramotar further proposed that the opposition parties not link the passage of the bill to his assenting to bills he has previously rejected and government’s support in the setting up and operationalisation of the Public Procurement Commission (PPC).

All of these offers, the president has said, have been turned down.

APNU however, released a statement last night which says that “contrary to the recent pronouncements by his Excellency the President Donald Ramotar nothing was offered to the combined opposition when he met with Opposition Leader David Granger yesterday (Wednesday).”

In the statement the coalition confirmed that the meeting was requested by Granger. He requested the meeting after being “encouraged by the language emanating from the Office of the President that there might be some concessions.”

However, “it was clear that when the two sides met that the President was not willing to negotiate and definitely not in a conciliatory mood,” the statement continued.

The coalition maintains that its position is aimed at giving the people of Guyana a “strong and enforceable money-laundering legislation,” while the president is arguing that the process of passing the bill “is now being made much more difficult because of the clear unpatriotic stance taken by the Opposition, APNU.”

FATF is scheduled to hold its next plenary June 25th – 27th in Paris, France. FATF’s website says that during this plenary its members, as well as “FATF-Style Regional Bodies, will meet to review the implementation of measures taken by a number of countries to address deficiencies identified in their mutual evaluation reports and identifying jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering /countering the financing of terrorism system.”

Representatives of CFATF have said that a negative finding by FATF can breed negative repercussions to the country’s financial system.

 

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