GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA) -- Guyana will not meet the February 28 deadline for the submission of a report and a copy of the assented Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AMLCFT) Amendment Bill to the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).
The Parliamentary Select Committee on the bill met again on Thursday, but was forced to adjourn the meeting, having received a letter from the chief parliamentary counsel, Cecil Durjohn stating that he needed more time to draft the amendments submitted by the APNU.
Speaking to members of the media after the brief meeting, Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall said in Durjohn’s letter he stated that having regard to the number of proposals put to him, and the complexity of the proposals, he needed more time to have them presented in the form of a proposed amendment.
Nandlall said, as a result, the committee adjourned the meeting until March 5, when they will discuss the proposed amendments.
“Of course when we reconvene, we have to deal with discussing the amendments which have been proposed by the APNU. It is the same unpalatable and unacceptable grouping of proposals which government has already registered its objections to, as well as the public has disclosed its outrage to, and the stakeholders have also raised their objections.”
Hence, Nandlall said yet again the administration has failed to meet the February deadline for the submission to CFATF, showing that they were able to correct the deficiencies in the bill, as well as provide a copy of the assented bill.
This, the minister said, simply means that Guyana is well on its way to being blacklisted. What it will mean, he said, is “we now will be in a position where we have not presented to CFATF anything different from what they deliberated on in November, where they said unless these changes are made to our legislative structure then they will recommend that Guyana be subjected to a Financial Action Task Force International Corporation Review Group.”
Also speaking on the issue was the chairperson of the Parliamentary Select Committee, Gail Teixeira, who said it was disheartening to see that yet another deadline for the passage of such an important bill as the AML/CFT would be missed.
Teixeira explained, however, that while Durjohn will be working over the next few days to draft the proposed amendments in time for the next meeting, he has indicated that there are some difficulties.
“Mr Durjohn has made it clear that the amendments are difficult to draft; it is not just the drafting of the actual amendments, but it is all the other consequential changes that have to be made to the Principal Act, as well as a number of areas”.
Further, Teixeira said during a meeting on Wednesday evening, APNU member Joseph Harmon “spoke”’ of a new amendment, which Durjohn was, forced to take down in writing. She added that APNU has also maintained their position that the bill will not return to the National Assembly.
“The ANPU position is that not only must the amendment bill include their amendments, but it must also be linked to the assent of all the non-assented bills and the Commencement Order on the Local Government Commission Act”.