Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General, Basil Williams has stated that the fourth round mutual evaluation from the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) / Financial Action Task Force (FATF) would test Guyana’s systems for compliance in relation to Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism.
“In the fourth round, that is what you call the money round because you have to not only show compliance, but you have to show effective compliance,” the Attorney General explained.
Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General, Basil Williams
During this round of compliance monitoring, the FATF conducts peer reviews of each member on an on-going basis to assess levels of implementation of the organisation’s recommendations, providing an in-depth description and analysis of each country’s system for preventing criminal abuse of the financial system.
According to Minister Williams, Guyana has started preparation for this round of evaluation.
“The first round has actually started. We have assayed the fourth round in Guyana because we have started the exercise of derisking and the national assessment that has started to identify risks in Guyana and that would take some time, but we have already introduced that aspect,” the minister explained.
According to FATF’s website, in the fourth round the scope of the evaluations will involve two inter-related components for technical compliance and effectiveness.
The technical compliance component will assess whether the necessary laws, regulations or other required measures are in force and effect, and whether the supporting AML/CFT institutional framework is in place.
The effectiveness component will assess whether the AML/CFT systems are working, and the extent to which the country is achieving the defined set of outcomes.
Citing an example of the difficulties the country could face during fourth round evaluations, the Attorney General said, “When one is exposed to the mutual evaluation, say of Italy and other countries, it is not satisfactory that they were having a lot of criminal prosecutions in minor matters. For the purposes of the fourth round, they want big fish and so implementation in the fourth round is going to be the real test of all the institutions that have been set up under the FATF regime.”
Since coming to office in May 2015, the coalition government has taken steps to ensure the country’s financial systems become fully compliant with AML/CFT regulations. Among the steps taken are the enactment of the AML/CFT legislation, appointment of a director and deputy director for the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and making the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) functional.
The general principles and objectives that govern FATF mutual evaluations, as well as AML/CFT assessments conducted by the FATF-Style Regional Bodies (FSRBs), IMF or World Bank are to produce objective and accurate reports of a high standard in a timely way, ensure that there is a level playing field, whereby mutual evaluation reports (MERs), including the executive summaries, are consistent, especially with respect to the findings, the recommendations and ratings, and ensure that there is transparency and equality of treatment, in terms of the assessment process, for all countries assessed.
A five-member team from the CFATF/FATF will be making an onsite visit to Guyana from September 14-15 to ensure the country meets the organisation’s compliance requirements for the AML/CFT. The fourth round evaluations will take place after the onsite visit.