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APNU top brass to boycott national consultation on anti-money laundering bill

The opposition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) on Tuesday virtually ruled out any of its top exeuctive members attending a national consultation on amendments to the Anti Money Laundering and Countering Financing Terrorism Act (AML/CFT) Act.

President Donald Ramotar is expected to address the event billed for Wednesday morning at the Guyana International Conference Centre (GICC).

APNU front-bencher, Joseph Harmon instead said government should confront the opposition in the Select Committee which has been considering the administration’s amendments and those being proposed by APNU. “That is not where you make your point. The point has to be made in the board room,” he told a news conference, adding that the opposition’s concerns have been raised repeatedly.

Harmon said APNU was not discouraging its supporters to attend the consultation but the coalition was wary of government attempting to ram its position down the throat of the opposition.

“We have not told our supporters not to go but we are concerned that you do not create  a farce to make it appear as if all Guyanese support a position taken by the PPP-C administration that you must pass the bill as is,” he said.

He expressd scepticism that anything meaningful would come out of the consultations because he felt that would not be the forum where answers would be forthcoming. Harmon accused government of banging “the drumbeats of war” for general elections if the AML/CFT amendments are not passed and Guyana is blacklisted globally.

APNU wants the President to address the opposition’s concerns that were raised with him hours before the National Assembly last met.

The APNU wants the law to be amended to ensure that there is a proper governance mechanism for appointing and firing officials of the Financial Intelligence Unit and overseeing the enforcement of the law.

The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) has cautioned that going ahead with the opposition-proposed amendments at this stage could possibly lead to the country being non-compliant regionally and at the level of the France-headquartered Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).