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Rohee avoids questions on opposition’s links to criminals

Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee

General Secretary of the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP), Clement Rohee failed to provide evidence that the opposition was shielding drug lords and money launderers by blocking key amendments to anti-money laundering legislation.

Rohee, who is also Home Affairs Minister, could not back up his accusation by saying specifically whether the administration knew anyone specifically and why the law enforcement agencies were not going after them.

“I am not going down that road again,” Rohee told Demerara Waves when asked whether he had proof to support his contention. Rohee had previously said that government had no evidence of drug lords to ensure successful prosecution.

He later added that it is the passage of the amendments to the Anti Money Laundering and Countering of Financing Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act that would help nab those aligned to the opposition who were involved in money laundering.

Pressed on why the existing laws were not being used to take action, Rohee did not provide any specific answer but instead opted to say “let’s move on”.

Instead, Rohee said he was basing his argument that the opposition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) have been repeated blocking the passage of amendments to the AML/CFT Act for several months now. “The opposition parties in the National Assembly are protecting the vested interests of a few whose operations and perhaps survival will be affected if the Bill is passed. These persons obviously are those engaged in illicit activities including trading and trafficking in drugs, arms, ammunition and who need to the launder the proceeds of their ill-gotten gains,” he said.

APNU has cited the need for water-tight legislation and stronger institutions to fight the scourge of money laundering. The AFC has repeatedly promised to support passage of AML/CFT amendments only if the long-awaited Procurement Commission is set up.

The Home Affairs Minister labelled the opposition as a collective grouping that has been infiltrated, penetrated and represents the interests of criminal cartels at the expense of their own supporters as well as connected to violent criminals and drug gangs.