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Govt must go after money launderers to pass next FATF test – Jagdeo

Former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall and current Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams.

Former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall and current Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams.

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo is not buying the position of Attorney General Basil Williams that Guyana is in the green zone for compliance with the global push for anti-money laundering regimes.

“If we lull ourselves into a sense of false security, then we are going to repeat a lot of the mistakes made by the Attorney General, and we are going to put major sectors of our economy in jeopardy particularly the economic sector,” Jagdeo told the press corps on Thursday.

Jagdeo criticized the AG’s report in Parliament saying it is “not a report on progress. It is an admission that what was said to the country, that we are free and clear, that it is not so.”

Jagdeo believes there is still a lot of work to be done. “We may very well find that we are not compliant with applying this Act,” Jagdeo said ahead of Guyana’s upcoming assessment with the Financial Action Task Force.

The Attorney General made a progress report in the National Assembly on Monday.

“We could have avoided a lot of this had they supported us right at the beginning when we made two attempts at the National Assembly to pass recommendations which would have made us compliant that time which would not have seen us going through this enhanced scrutiny,” Jagdeo said.

The Opposition Leader was referring to the brinkmanship politics existing in the Tenth Parliament (2011- 2015), where the then APNU and AFC in opposition indicated their conditional support for the then Ramotar Administration’s AML legislation.

At the time, the APNU was championing local government elections, while the AFC was calling for the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission.

“We cannot play games with the future of the financial sector,” Jagdeo warned adding that “a thriving economy is built on a solid, sound financial system.”

Jagdeo urged against what he called an “attempt to score political points without giving factual points to people,” saying this runs the risk of jeopardizing the financial sector.

Jagdeo turned his attention to a lack of investigations by this administration into money laundering and gold smuggling, even though there have been reports of such.

“Even with 15,000 ounces of gold smuggling out of the country weekly that would have brought $900M into the country, we have not seen evidence of them finding smuggled gold in large quantities.” “It is fallacious. It is just an excuse,” he continued.

Jagdeo said under the fourth round of reviews which Guyana will be going through, Guyana “will be required to go after actual cases. SOCU [Special Organised Crime Unit] will have to go after people that actually engage in money laundering but they are not focusing on that. And if they don’t do that, they will fail the final test.”

The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force had referred Guyana to France-headquartered Financial Action Task Force after the then APNU and AFC opposition had used its one-seat combined majority to block recommended amendments to the 2009 Anti-Money Laundering and Countering of Financing Terrorism Act. The then opposition had instead argued that the amendments needed to be further tightened, a situation that the then PPPC-led administration had argued would have rendered Guyana non-compliant.

  • powerplayer

    Its only fair to give Jack e Jacket on this one. Again poverty of the mind and life rears its ugly head here.

    The reason why we are not going after gold smuggling and money Launderers is because folks have been paid.

    Lets break it down. We are catching folks folks that look like thugs and known to the police with guns on both exists from Georgetown yet we are not catching folks leaving Georgetown with gold.

    How do you find a two pound gun and miss a ten pound of gold!

    The authority knows the up and coming nice looking folks thats in the gold Business These folks wine and dine them with pittance. Why we are not finding the gold as it leaves the country.

    When the gold enters USA, Canada,Suriname,Trinidad and Brazil to name a few it is legally traded

    Does it take a rocket scientist to extract this information. Mr GRA you claim you are going to bring respect to the agency by making your people do their job with less corruption. Good speech for public meeting

    Pay real money to get real info. set up web site..have folks sign in give them pin numbers pay them off the books without knowing their real identities Pay based on monies you collect
    Have some others call in Pay informers…Let the hammer fall where ever

    You have the authority to get this information from all the countries mentioned. You have the authority to review folks whose life style is 1000 % over their income to the GRA The Rogers Thats out there

    You have the authority to target who ever Read your mandate Protect the weak don’t hurt the poor.

    Lets quit running his country by jailing the helpless and petty thieves. Its immoral stupid and shows our incompetence

  • Emile_Mervin

    OMG! Jagdeo said what? This guy treated money laundering and drug smuggling as an American, not a Guyanese problem.

  • rudeo

    do we really think that corrupt ion is a preserve of the ppp?….naive to say the least….money has no sentiments….