PSC seeks “urgent” meeting with APNU over ditched AML observer status

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 December 2015, 21:00 by GxMedia

PSC Chairman Ronald Webster

The Private Sector Commission (PSC) on Tuesday decided to seek a meeting with A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) to ascertain why that opposition party no longer wants it to observe all sittings of the parliamentary select committee set up to examine proposed amendments to the Anti Money Laundering and Countering of Financing Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act.

“We want to meet with APNU and talk it through to find out why the change. It’s worry when the goal post appears to be moving,” PSC Chairman Ronald Webster told Demerara Waves Online News.

The umbrella business organisation’s executive met earlier Tuesday and said it was astounded by APNU’s stance especially since that opposition coalition on December 10, 2013 had supported the PSC’s proposal that the meetings be held in public. “The PSC finds it inexplicable that APNU would now renege on its undertaking made at a meeting chaired by its leader Brgd.(retd) David Granger and considers this to be a disturbing display of bad faith on the part of the major opposition party,” said the PSC in a statement. The business body had hoped that public hearings would have allowed it, the press and labour organisations to attend.

Webster said the PSC had expected to be properly informed that its presence at the Select Committee meetings was no longer possible.

Opposition members of the Select Committee walked out of Monday night’s meeting after government representatives insisted on voting for a new motion to allow the PSC representatives to sit through any and all of the sessions.

But APNU members would have none of that, saying that it was opposed to the unfettered presence of the PSC in keeping with the Standing Orders governing the press and a previously approved motion. That coalition said it would only accommodate the PSC on an ad hoc basis and as the need arises.

The PSC had asked to be present in the meetings given claims and counter-claims about incorrect procedures being used and committee members being absent.

This latest dispute at the level of the AML/CFT comes as a mid-February deadline nears before the France-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) decides to impose a global blacklist on Guyana. The business community and government fear that could paralyse incoming and outgoing money transfers for personal and commercial goods including vital imports such as oil and pharmaceuticals.