Guyana ‘not out of the woods’ as FATF review looms

Guyana’s referral to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), for a review over its failure to rectify deficiencies in its anti-money laundering legislation, has been accepted.

In an update of its statement on Guyana, the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) announced that FATF has accepted the referral of Guyana.

“We are not out of the woods…,” President Donald Ramotar told a news conference yesterday in response to the development. “I don’t know what form the review will take,” he added, while suggesting that a report could be made in October, when FATF will hold its next plenary and working group meetings in Paris.

It had been feared by government spokespersons that Guyana could have faced a review at the just concluded FATF plenary in Paris last week, however, there was no mention of any position on the country in the public statement issued after the meeting wrapped.

Coming out of its XXXIX Plenary Meeting in Miami, Florida last month, CFATF had announced the referral of Guyana to the FATF and called on its members to implement further counter measures to protect their financial systems from “ongoing money laundering and terrorist financing risks emanating from Guyana,” in light of the country’s failure to update its Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism legislation in keeping with agreed timelines for action.

Although the amendment legislation has been drafted in compliance with CFATF recommendations, APNU and the AFC are withholding support until the Ramotar administration agrees to demands for assent to be given to bills passed by them in the National Assembly as well as the set-up of the Public Procurement Commission. For the minority government, the support of the parliamentary opposition, which commands a one-seat majority in the National Assembly, is crucial for the amendment bill’s passage.

Attorney General Anil Nandlall said earlier this month that he suspects that the FATF will commence a protracted review by its’ International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG). The ICRG analyses high-risk jurisdictions and recommends specific action to address the money laundering and terrorist financing risks emanating from them.

In the interim, Ramotar yesterday said that government is putting all the systems that are not legislative and “more in our domain” in place.

“I’m not unhappy that our name wasn’t mentioned there but the process still goes on,” he added, while expressing the hope that by next week there will be more clarity on the process that is taking place.

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