Politicians should be statesmen and pass the AML/CFT Bill

Dear Editor,

Thirty-four years ago, half of this population was not yet born. And so our children and grandchildren would not have experienced witnessing a young nation (innocent then) rise to maturity. We as a nation have gone through much sorrow, grief, affliction and trials seeing our past presidents moving this nation towards a much betters country than when they first acceded to office.

Yes, we were disappointed with the slow pace of progress. Yet for all the things we were asked to endure, we forebore and moved on as a nation. Some remnants like myself, were born and bred through the British system of government, and we were familiar with the kind of peace and harmony that existed at that time, until we were transformed into a new and vibrant nation.

Our new breed of leaders being learned men and full of vision somehow failed to deliver as  promised, only to end their tour of duty either with the job half done or dead. And a new leader would start all over again. Thus we never came close to the progress that they, the leaders, envisioned.

Now in the twenty-first century it seems as if we have not learnt anything significant from those who went before us. We have reached a junction in our history when our children are being prepared and ready to read out the eulogy – or should it be the tribute – for a nation that  is about to be beaten down by our leaders’ stubborn disposition and outlook.

The roadmap to a decent and uncorrupt society, community or nation leads us to the Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Bill, which bill was recommended by the Financial Action Task Force in Paris, France. It is being noised abroad that Guyana, yes beautiful Guyana, will suffer blacklisting and the consequences of international sanctions which could severely affect the nation’s economy if the bill is not passed. This in itself could dent the image of the nation.

One thing is certain, I don’t have to be a Harvard University graduate or even or a UG graduate to understand the journey that this nation is on, or the collision course that some are setting up.

I see Guyana as a large ship on a journey on the high seas encountering turbulent waves and fierce winds. Because of a logistical error the captain realized that the ship is sinking and came out of his cabin and declared what no captain wants for his ship – “The ship is sinking.”

(In  my early years I worked as a sailor on board a ship, and know the experience of surviving on a sinking ship.)

I also know from experience that at that crucial junction, neither sailor, nor engineer started a row with the captain over the logistical error, but joined together and worked tediously and laboriously  in the midnight hour to save the ship. And save the ship we did.

Again I see Guyana as a house on fire (a very large house) where the occupants were revelling  during the early evening hours, and it is now midnight and all are asleep. But the master of the house went to bed with a cigarette and dropped the lighted stub on the bed and created a large enough fire to cause alarm. On waking the occupants had adequate time to either call the fire station, which was located two blocks away, or use a few buckets of water to out the small fire. Instead, however, they chose to abuse one another and cast blame for the flames, spending the precious little time they have left in which to save the day. How pathetic! How foolish!

Yes, we can all cast stones at each other while the nation is languishing and going down the hill.

Yes, we can all hold on to our original position as righteous and the other side as wicked.

Yes, we can choose to close a blind eye, and allow the nation to perish while we gloat on how smart we were in not helping the nation.

One this occasion of Republic I call on the leaders of this nation to awaken out of their slumber, and let their conscience be their guide, and consensus the defining factor on this special occasion.

I urge all our leaders (politicians) to take a noble stand and be what they were called to be –  statesmen – and do the hounourable thing now, and pass the AML/CFT bill and remove the dark cloud hanging over this beautiful country called The Cooperative Republic of Guyana.

Yours faithfully,
Apostle Vanrick Beresford
(Senior Pastor)



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