In what may very well be the first sign that amendments to Guyana’s financial crimes law may be defeated by the majority controlled opposition House, a petition by the Private Sector Commission was voted down.
When the matter was put to the House for a division, the Alliance For Change (AFC) and a Partnership for National Unity (APNU) sent their first signal that they could very well vote down the bill when the report by the Special Select Committee comes up for discussion.
The PSC’s petition was presented to the National Assembly by MP Manzoor Nadir, a former Minister of Tourism, Commerce and Industry.
Government and the Western diplomatic community have repeatedly warned that if the amendments are not approved by this month, Guyana ccan face serious sanctions by the Financial Action Task Force. They include severe restrictions and higher costs in conducting international cash transactions including remittances for ordinary people and the purchase of necessary commodities like fuel and pharmaceuticals.
The AFC has said that it would support passage of amendments to the Anti Money Launderiing and Countering of Financing Terrorism (Amendments) Bill if government first establishes the constitutionally required Public Procurement Commission aimed at ensuring transparency. APNU’s support is hinged on ensuring that the law is properly amended and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) is adequately staffed and equipped.