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Private Sector piles criticism on govt over failure to consult on financial crimes, anti-terrorism laws

The headquarters of the Private Sector Commission, Waterloo Street, Georgetown

Pressure is intensifying on the Guyana government over its failure to consult with the stakeholders on key pieces of financial crimes and anti-terrorism legislation.

“There is growing concern regarding consultation and we would hope that this latest example will be the last piece of legislation done in this manner. 

Vital pieces of legislation should and must be brought to the attention of affected stakeholders from civil society and the private sector so that Article 13 of the Constitution is implemented,” said the PSC in a statement.

First, it was the main opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) that accused government of moving to ramrod three Bills through all its stages to approval at the Thursday, December 17, 2015 sitting of the National Assembly.

Now, the PSC says it only learnt about an amendment to the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act and a new Anti-Terrorism and Terrorist Related Activities Bill to be tabled and read in the National Assembly “with no apparent consultation with the business community.”

“The Private Sector Commission is as concerned as the Government is that the country should be compliant with international requirements but is equally concerned that all law-abiding stakeholders should be protected,” says the umbrella business organisation.

Reacting to the PPPC’s concerns that parliamentary democracy was being violated by the failure to give opposition parliamentarians and other stakeholders ample time to study the Bills, President David Granger told Demerara Waves Online News that government was keen on continuing its parliamentary agenda.  “That’s not railroading. We are anxious to fulfill our mandate and our responsibility and, as you know there has been a lapse in calling of Parliament for all sorts of official reasons, and we are trying to complete as much as possible before year-end so, in fact, it’s a commitment to democracy, not the opposite,” Granger has said.

Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira Wednesday lashed back,  describing Granger’s comments as “laughable” and “incredulous. She also charged that the President appeared to behaving in an anti-democratic manner.  “The fact that there was no sitting from October 27 to December 17 is certainly not the fault of the Opposition. We believe there is railroading; they have been railroading and I think the President may not be too appreciative of what is parliamentary democracy,” said Teixeira, a one-time Presidential Advisor on Governance.