PPP/C MP Manzoor Nadir is to present a petition to Parliament tomorrow on behalf of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) appealing for the urgent passage of the anti-laundering bill.
It is the latest manoeuvre by the private sector and government to have the bill passed. The opposition is however adamant that the bill in its present form is unacceptable and would not pass unless there are substantial amendments to it.
A supplementary order paper issued yesterday by Parliament Office lists Nadir as down to present the petition calling for the bill to be passed as a “matter of national and economic priority”. It would mean that the petition would be the first matter related to the bill to be addressed at tomorrow’s sitting. The presentation of petitions comes before the consideration of bills.
The petition signed by PSC Chairman Ron Webster and Gerald Gouveia, the Chairman of its Governance and Security sub-committee, warned of a host of jeopardies for Guyana from any blacklisting by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) over the failure to pass the bill.
Noting that the bill had been with the select committee of Parliament for six months, the petition also notes that while opposition parties have voiced concerns about the bill, there have been no written submissions with their proposed amendments to it. A Partnership for National Unity – which had indicated that it was going to present amendments to the bill – has been criticized for not having done so up to now. The Alliance For Change on the other hand has said it would not support the bill unless the government proceeds with the Public Procurement Commission and President Donald Ramotar assents to two bills which were passed by the opposition majority several months ago.
The petition restated the list of problems it foresees arising from blacklisting including correspondent banks increasing queries and the cost of remittances rising and also said that foreign currency will become scarce “with a concomitant devaluation of the Guyana dollar”. The private sector also sees capital flight and the departure of investors.
“Your Petitioner, mindful of the severe economic consequences of failure to enact the …Bill, respectfully requests that the National Assembly be pleased to pass the aforesaid bill as a matter of national and economic priority”, Webster and Gouveia said.
Guyana faces a CFATF deadline of November 18 to have the bill passed.