Minister of Finance Ashni Singh tonight renewed the government’s appeal for the opposition to place the passage of the anti-money laundering bill above “partisan politics”.
The appeal came in the wake of a similar lobby by the Private Sector Commission which called on both sides of the House to expedite the bill, citing the likely repercussions for Guyana being non-compliant with Caribbean Financial Action Task Force requirements.
The main opposition grouping APNU has said it will be forwarding significant amendments to the bill presented by the government. These amendments will likely test the government’s willingness to compromise on these matters. For its part, the Alliance For Change has linked its support for the bill to government’s enabling of the Public Procurement Commission. It also wants President Donald Ramotar to assent to two bills which were passed with an opposition majority.
The statement by the Ministry of Finance follows:
Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh is calling on the Opposition to place the integrity of Guyana’s financial system above partisan politics by ensuring the passage of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering of Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill.
The Government of Guyana has made exhaustive efforts to involve and accommodate the Opposition via a number attempts to meet as frequently as possible in the Select Committee, of the National Assembly, to discuss the bill.
Government offered to meet with the Opposition in the Committee on two occasions so far but those efforts have been futile. Another meeting is scheduled for Monday October 21.
Despite these setbacks Government is committed to work every day for the people of Guyana for as long as it takes to get the amendments to this Bill passed.
The passage of this Bill is important to the economic sustainability of Guyana. It will demonstrate to international banks and lending agencies that Guyana’s financial system is credible, stable and accountable.
The Private Sector Commission’s (PSC) recent call for support of the Bill echoes the concerns raised by Government regarding the impact of Guyana’s economy should these vital pieces of legislation be delayed further: non passage of the bill will delay business transaction and drive the prices of commodities and services upward.
The consequences of such a delay will transfer to the common man.
One example of these consequences will be felt by recipients of remittances. Because financial institutions will be subjected to intensified scrutiny and increased penalty fees for operating in a non-compliant country, those increased fees will be incurred by the consumer.
Given the risk to Guyana’s economy, Government is once again calling on the Opposition to be responsible in the execution of its duties and to desist from the continued attempts to extract political concessions by holding these vital amendments and the nation ransom.
The concern of Minister Singh comes in the wake of a full page advertisement published by the PSC on Friday October 18, calling on the Parliamentary parties to swiftly pass the legislation.