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Guyana gets a “breather” from FATF

President Donald Ramotar

Guyana has escaped further international sanctions for the time being in light of its failure to pass amended anti-money laundering legislation.

The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) last month called on its members to impose further sanctions against the country after making a similar recommendation when the deadline for the passage of the legislation was not met last year. The grouping also forwarded Guyana’s case to its international parent organisation FATF which met in Paris last week.

CFATF has since said that its referral was accepted by FATF which is to carry out a targetted review of Guyana’s case with a report likely to be submitted at a  FATF meeting in October.

President Donald Ramotar addressed the latest development on Saturday at a news conference.

“We’re not out of the woods, I don’t know what form the review will take, probably people will come here and look at these things and so forth. I’m not unhappy that our name wasn’t mentioned there but the process still goes on.”

Ramotar noted that the government was putting all the non-legislative pieces in place in keeping with CFATF recommendations such as the Special Organised Crime Unit which is to be set up shortly.  

The combined opposition parties, which hold a majority in the National Assembly, have sent the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill to a Special Select Committee for a second time with the APNU initially saying it wants the a bill with real teeth.

Despite CFATF’s assurances that the bill meets its requirement both the AFC and APNU have withheld their votes in exchange for a number of demands includingh presidential assent to bills passed by the House without government support and set up of a Public Procurement Commission.

The government has been adamant that it will not be bullied on the issue and has accused the opposition of being unpatriotic.