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Blacklisting: Worst is yet to come- Hinds

Prime Minister Samuel Hinds updating the National Assembly on Guyana being blacklisted by CFATF (GINA photo)

Prime Minister Samuel Hinds on Thursday warned that Guyana – blacklisted by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFTAF) for failing to tighten its financial crimes law-could face even tougher times by the global watchdog if the amendments are not made in another three months.Hinds told the 65-seat National Assembly that blacklisting by the France-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) could be averted only if Guyana achieves 100 percent compliance with its recommendations.

“Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, we are facing blacklisting but there may be worst yet to come. Were Guyana not to put its house in order according to CFATF recommendations by February 2014, CFATF will be unavoidably called in by the FATF ICRF (International Cooperation Review Group),” he said.

Hinds noted that once a country is blacklisted it takes years to be whitelisted after full compliance is met.

The Prime Minister reiterated that Guyana’s financial, banking and insurance sector would now come under severe scrutiny with serious consequences for businesses and governments in the purchase of goods and services.

“Members are therefore called upon to consider implementing counter measures to protect their financial systems from the ongoing money laundering and terrorist financing risks emanating from Guyana,”  the CFATF said
in a statement at the end of its XXXVIII Plenary Meeting being held from November 20-21, 2013, in Freeport, Bahamas.

A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) have used their 33 seats to block passage of the raft of amendments to the Anti –Money Laundering and Countering of Financing Terrorism (AML/CFT).

APNU had wanted more time to make concrete recommendations for government’s proposed amendments and the strengthening of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). In the absence of the representatives of APNU and AFC at the parliamentary special select committee, the government members wrapped up work and sent a report back to the House.

AFC had wanted the Public Procurement Commission to be established before giving its seven-seat support to the governing Peoples Progressive Party Civic’s 32 seats. However, government insisted that the two were not linked and has since introduced an amendment to the Public Procurement Commission Act for Cabinet to enjoy a no-objection as it currently does for tenders considered by the National Procurement and Tender Board Administration.