With Guyana’s next evaluation by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) due in 2022, Attorney General Basil Williams told the Guyana Standard today that he would be recommending to Cabinet that there be a focused department for fighting money laundering and securing convictions.
During his interview, the Minister of Legal Affairs stressed that while there are laws and institutions in place to help combat money laundering offenses and dismantle such networks, there are disappointingly no convictions. He said that the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) has been focusing on financial crimes as of late. The AG noted however that a reorganised SOCU has to look at money laundering offences.
“But it is all a work in progress,” intimated the minister.
This news agency then informed the AG that Guyana’s CARICOM sister, Trinidad and Tobago, is also facing issues with securing convictions. To address this, the Trinidad Guardian reported two days ago that the government there would be importing a special prosecuting team from the UK to tackle money laundering, corruption and fraud. (SEE LINK FOR FULL REPORT: http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/uk-prosecutors-coming-as-srps-6.2.859456.534d42a8bb)
It was on this premise that this news agency asked the Minister if a similar approach would be considered by the government or himself for Guyana. The Attorney General said, “I cannot say whether we would go in that direction but whether we bring in people or not, we have to train our own people for this type of work and this involves people at SOCU and the Guyana Police Force.”
Williams added, “I believe we have to get a focused department of investigators and prosecutors on money laundering. The judiciary has to be trained as well in this area…What I can tell you at this point, is, I will recommend to Cabinet that we have such a department.”
The Minster told this news agency that he is confident that by Guyana’s next evaluation by CFATF, there will be convictions for money laundering.