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Govt pins hopes on international lobbying against blacklisting

The Guyana government on Thursday pinned its hopes against the country being blacklisted to public lobbying by the Secretary General of the Organisation of American States (OAS) Jose Miguel Insulza.

“If FATF gives Guyana more time it is because of our friends” said Presidential Advisor on Governance Gail Teixeira at a post Cabinet news conference.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was expected to make its position known at the end of its three-day plenary on Thursday. “Even if FATF says its going to give Guyana more time, we do not have infinite time to play with. They would want to see good-faith efforts, they would want to see some movement in the parliament and therefore we can’t go through this charade indefinitely,” said Teixeira.

Insulza and the 15-nation Caribbean Community as well as key Western Nations have in recent days called for the one-year old amendments to the Anti Money Laundering and Countering of Financing of Terrorism Act to be passed by the House.

The process has been largely held up in a deadlock between the opposition and the government over the former’s proposals for the principal act to be also amended to provide for the police and customs to seize large amounts of cash on the basis of reasonable suspicion. The opposition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) also wants the law to provide for the establishment of an Anti Money Laundering Authority and for parliament to play a major role in the appointment of the Financial Intelligence Unit.The Guyana government on Thursday pinned its hopes against the country being blacklisted to public lobbying by the Secretary General of the Organisation of American States (OAS) Jose Miguel Insulza.

Teixeira acknowledged that the Guyana government has lobbied the international community to issue statements in support of the passage of the legislation. She said the matter could very well be on the agenda of the next mid-term summit of Caricom leaders in late February. “It is of such importance to Caricom. This is not a Guyana story,” she said.

The parliamentary select committee has been adjourned until February 19 when the representatives would consider how parliamentary draughtsmen have included APNU’s proposed amendments. The National Assembly is not scheduled to meet until February 27.