Caricom on Tuesday expressed deep concern about any adverse impact on Guyana and the wider region over the failure to pass anti-money laundering legislation here as required by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).
A meeting of the CFATF in The Bahamas last week invited its member countries to consider taking measures to insulate themselves from any risk through Guyana’s non-compliance with the required international standards on combating money-laundering and the financing of terrorism. This could potentially affect a series of cross-border financial transactions. CFATF took the measure after numerous warnings to Guyana that it needed to amend its anti-money laundering law. The government was unable to clinch opposition support for the amendments that the CFATF wanted.
On Tuesday, Caricom called for an early resolution of the issues preventing the implementation of the new anti-money laundering regime.
A statement issued by the Bureau of the Conference of Heads of Government after its meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday said that CARICOM was “deeply concerned about the impact that any adverse action” by CFATF Member States could have on “the Guyanese economy, and by extension the CARICOM Region as a whole, particularly in the areas of trade and financial services.”
CARICOM said it has also taken note of the efforts made by the government here to implement the CFATF recommendations, including the tabling in the National Assembly of a Bill to amend the legislative framework and which Bill has since been rejected by the National Assembly, “given the Parlia-mentary and political configuration that obtains in Guyana.”
“CARICOM is deeply concerned about the impact that any adverse action by CFATF Member States could have on the Guyanese economy, and by extension the CARICOM Region as a whole, particularly in the areas of trade and financial services. Any action that reduces the ease or increases the cost of processing international financial or trade transactions will adversely affect trade and financial flows in the Region, retard the regional integration enterprise and reverse the gains made by Guyana and the region. CARICOM notes that this could also directly and severely, hinder the functioning of the CARICOM Secretariat which is based in Guyana”.
It added “…having regard to the extenuating circumstances that obtain in Guyana particularly as it relates to the Government securing legislative approval, and the deleterious consequences that are likely to arise from adverse action against Guyana, CARICOM hopes that this matter could be resolved at the earliest opportunity”.
Both the government and opposition have signalled their willingness to return the anti-laundering legislation to parliament.
The Bureau meeting on Tuesday was held primarily to address a ruling by the constitutional court in the Dominican Republic that could strip thousands of persons of Haitian descent of their nationality.