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Govt sends back anti-money laundering bill to the House

Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon

Government has decided to send back amendments to the financial crimes act to the National Assembly in the hope that it would be passed this time around.

Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon said even if it meant ultimately taking it back to the Parliamentary Select Committee government had no choice.

“It doesn’t matter. We are going back to parliament. If they say we got to put it on the roof, we are going to have to put it on the roof and consider it….We are interested in having that amendment bill enacted and I can safely say that whatever is presented to us in the context of its reintroduction are obviously interventions that we have to consider,” he said.

Shadow Finance Minister for A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), Carl Greenidge said government and his parliamentary coalition have so far not held any talks about sending back the Bill to the House. At the same time, he said APNU would insist that it goes back to to the Select Committee. “Most certainly, if it comes back and the House agrees to waive the standing orders we would like to see it return to the Select Committee,” he told Demerara Waves Online News (www.demwaves.com).

Greenidge said government would need the opposition’s support to suspend the Standing Orders of the House to bring back the Bill in the same session. For APNU, he said “nothing has changed as regards the condition for the passage of the Bill.”

The opposition has voted down the passage of amendments to the Anti Money Laundering and Countering of Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT). In the case of APNU, it wanted more time in the Select Committee to ensure Guyana gets a “good bill” with a strengthed Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) has been tying its support to the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission as a means of stamping out possible money laundering through contracts for goods and services.

Told that the opposition parties were continuing to hold on to their positions, Luncheon said “it has nothing to do with what the outcome is.”

“The records will show that the administration has turned over every possible lever to address this issue,” he said.

The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) has given Guyana until February 2014 to enact the amendments, even as it has asked financial institutions in member-jurisdictions to take steps to protect their financial systems from the ongoing money laundering and terrorist financing risks emanating from Guyana.

The France-based global financial crimes watchdog, Financial Action Task Force (FATF), of imposing a global blacklist that various experts have warned can affect a range of financial transactions ranging from regular money transfers to the payment for imports such as fuel and pharmaceuticals.