President Donald Ramotar today told media operatives that the Opposition’s demands with regards the passage of the Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AMLCFT) Amendment Bill “don’t hold water.”
He reiterated that the Bill came out of an international process and was not crafted through Guyana’s politics, which is why the international body is ready to impose sanctions on the country if the Bill is not passed.
“What it means, if you do not pass this Bill, the perception out there is that you are encouraging drug traffickers, and money launderers to use your country for these things,” the President stated. He added that the Bill is straightforward, and there is no need for quid pro pro (something given in return for another of equivalent value) and even the demands being made are irrational.
He added that the question of the Public Procurement Commission was already answered, reiterating that as an executive function, the only thing being asked by Government regarding this, is the minimum function in the body, having already given up the awarding of contracts and only wanting to have the no-objection role for those awards.
The President also noted that the non-signing of the Bills presented by the Opposition was due to their being unconstitutional, and as such they could not be signed.
“Any concession that has to be made to this Bill is not just a question of concession that what we would make…there is a limitation of what you could do. That limitation is imposed by CFATF and whatever Bill or compliance you come up with, it has to be CFATF compliant. The logical thing to do, is the Bill we have, we know CFATF has pronounced that it is CFATF compliant, so why don’t we pass it?” President Ramotar further stated.
He said that this is not the end of the matter, since the Bill is an amended one and that more amendments are being prepared and are still to come from the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFAT) and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) based on their experience of the issues.
On the issue of the amendment being submitted by A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) being accepted, the President said this was based on compromise aiming towards passage of the Bill. The amendment was regarding the seizure of funds from citizens on the basis of suspicion.
He also pointed out the concerns expressed by CARICOM leaders about the passage of the AMLCFT Bill, and their awareness on the effects the non-passage of it could have on the country and the region as a whole. The Head of State said that while the international economy is becoming more and more interlinked, Guyana is one of the countries doing extremely well and CARICOM leaders have expressed their concerns over the serious implications of the bill’s non- passage.