‘Stand on the side of the law’

-PPP urges opposition on anti-money laundering bill

The PPP yesterday called on the parliamentary opposition to “stand on the side of law and the law abiding” by supporting the anti-money laundering amendments, which the party is hoping to pass ahead of a critical country review later this month.

The Anti-Money Laundering and the Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill will be brought back before the National Assembly when the House resumes sitting next Thursday after its annual recess, however both APNU and the AFC have signalled that they are unlikely to give the support needed for passage.

The government, the various arms of the ruling party and the constituents of the private sector have all warned of sanctions flowing from Guyana’s failure to strengthen its legislation in keeping with the recommendations of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), which gave a revised deadline after government failed to meet the previous ones set.

In a press statement issued yesterday, the PPP said it was concerned that the opposition seemed prepared to disregard calls from important stakeholders and continue to withhold its support of the bill.

The group said the opposition is aware of the devastating impact the non-passage of this bill would have on the economy and the livelihood of every single Guyanese, yet it continues to ignore calls to support the bill from groups such as the labour movement, the private sector, the insurance industry, the banking industry and the manufacturing industry.

The party also noted that despite the political ramifications of ignoring its constituents, the opposition continues to reject the bill, advancing arguments that are “absurd and incredulous, having regard to what is at stake.”

While questioning why opposition politicians would block a law that aims to rid the financial and commercial sector of the most prevalent, pernicious and violent crimes of this 21st Century such as money-laundering and terrorism, the party accused the opposition of always supporting crime.

The party said that the opposition has been implementing a “strategic campaign” of criminality since the 1992 polls and at every general elections since that time. “Their voices only echo support for the criminals and condemnation for the law…,” it said, while arguing that the pending anti-money laundering bill offers the opposition an opportunity to disprove these beliefs and the PPP/C challenges the group to support it without further delay.

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