The political opposition is not pleased with the fact that Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General, Basil Williams will head the authority for Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT).
Making the concerns of his party known on this matter was Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo. At his press conference which was held earlier today, Jagdeo said that he does not believe that the authority can be allowed to be independent if it is headed by a creature of the government.
Jagdeo said, “Our big concern here is that we will not have an independent entity to oversee the countering of terrorist financing or the proliferation of arms or weapons of mass destruction…because now you have a politician being conferred with an enormous authority…He will have access to records and statements from banks and other supervisory bodies which report to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU)…”
The former Head of State said that he intends to bring this to the attention of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).
Last week, the amended AML/CFT Bill was passed even though several worrying aspects of the Bill were highlighted by the Opposition. At that time, the Opposition raised the issue of the Attorney General who has no expertise in the field of Finance, being able to head the Authority. The Opposition also maintained that other provisions in the Bill facilitated political intrusion.
The US Department of State’s International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume Two of March 2018, had listed Guyana among many other countries deemed as “major money laundering jurisdictions in 2017”.
The report declared there was a lack of strong interagency cooperation among Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and drug-fighting agencies, adding that these departments did not have adequate human resources and the necessary training for complete effectiveness.