GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA) -- The opposition parties in Guyana continue to employ delaying tactics by proposing three amendments to the Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AMLCFT) Bill that the National Assembly’s legal drafters say are impossible to draft, based on the vagueness of the recommendations.
The recommendations were submitted to a select committee for consideration on Sunday night before the Bill was scheduled to be tabled in the National Assembly on Monday, leaving the committee in limbo.
The government therefore proposed that the committee conclude its work on those aspects of the Bill that addresses CFATF’s recommendations and on which there are no disagreements. This would have secured passage of the Bill while the committee continued to examine and consult on the other amendments proposed by the opposition.
The opposition refused to accommodate this suggestion and voted against proceeding with the clauses on which there is agreement and which would have addressed the CFATF’s recommendations. Instead the opposition insisted that the committee be adjourned until the drafters can produce a draft of the Bill based on their instructions, thereby effectively making it impossible for the Bill to be passed by Thursday’s deadline.
This refusal by the opposition to proceed with the amendments on which there is agreement and which would have addressed the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) recommendations continues to frustrate passage of the Bill beyond the deadline, thus jeopardising Guyana’s economy and bringing hardships on the Guyanese people.
Over the course of last week the committee met to complete its mandate, but its work was obstructed by opposition’s walk out on Tuesday and their absence on Wednesday. At Friday’s meeting, only two members of the APNU attended the meeting, while leader of the AFC, Kemraj Ramjattan was absent all week.
In addition to their absence during that critical week, on Tuesday the opposition objected to having the Private Sector Commission observe the committee meetings, as they objected to having the Private Sector Commission’s petition read in the National Assembly on November 7, last year when the bill was first debated and rejected by the opposition’s one majority vote.
The committee is scheduled to meet again on Wednesday to conclude its report. The government again appealed to the APNU and the AFC to act in the interest of the people of Guyana and work with the committee to complete its work and ultimately pass the AML/CFT Amendment Bill with the urgency it currently dictates.