No fallout noticed from T&T notice on Guyana

Anti-money laundering bill

Officials in Guyana’s private sector and banking system say they have noticed no fallout from a notice posted by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Trinidad’s Ministry of Finance and Economy last week on Guyana’s anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism legislation deficiencies.

The notice was advertised in a daily newspaper last week and served as warning to the country’s institutions and businesses about Guyana. The move stems from the finding by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force’s (CFATF) that Guyana’s Anti-Money Laundering Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) legislation is inadequate.

Government tried to pass the AML/CFT Amendment Bill on several occasions since early last year but it is yet to win the needed support in the National Assembly.

Following its plenary last month, the regional regulatory body called on its members, which include T&T, to take measures to insulate themselves from money laundering and/or terrorism financing going on in Guyana. Trinidad & Tobago is the first of CFATF’s 30-plus members to take such action and the decision has likely raised concerns that other jurisdictions will follow suit.

Acting Governor of the Bank of Guyana Dr Gobind Ganga said yesterday that there were no notable implications stemming from the notice. He conceded though, that this does not mean that there have not been implications. Ganga also pointed out that a similar notice of such action was advertised by Trinidad’s FIU the last time Guyana’s legislation was found inadequate and a public statement was made on Guyana by CFATF (November 2013).

Ganga said that when this happened there were a few resulting issues. Republic Bank Guyana for example, whose parent company is in Trinidad, was contacted and advised accordingly, he said. Persaud said he will be meeting with other members of the banking community to ascertain how other banks have been faring.

Meanwhile, Private Sector Commission (PSC) Chairman Ramesh Persaud could not give a perspective on how the notice has affected Guyana. He did say though, that this will depend on the level of trade the two countries engage in.

In addition to calling on its members to take measures against Guyana, CFATF also referred the country to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which is currently having its plenary in Paris, France. Guyana is being represented by a delegation which includes Governance Advisor Gail Teixeira.

Yesterday Teixeira said that a decision on Guyana may not be available until the plenary ends on Thursday. Officials from CFATF have said that if FATF calls for action against Guyana the implications will be severe.

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