Guyana Jurisdiction exiting the Third Round of Mutual Evaluations

The November 2016 Plenary in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, recognised the jurisdictions that have made significant progress in addressing the deficiencies identified during the Third round of Mutual Evaluations conducted by the CFATF and that have exited the follow- up process.

Guyana has addressed the deficiencies identified in the Mutual Evaluation Report adopted by the CFATF Council of Ministers on 25 July, 2011; therefore Guyana has exited the follow-up process of the third round of Mutual Evaluations of the CFATF.

Guyana had all sixteen Core and Key Recommendations rated partly compliant (PC) and non- compliant (NC) and was placed in expedited follow-up. Guyana submitted follow-up reports beginning in November 2011, every six months up to June 2016.

In May 2013, Guyana was also placed on a list of jurisdictions with strategic anti money laundering /combatting the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) deficiencies that had not made sufficient progress in addressing the deficiencies and as a result of the assessment of measures informed in the Fifth Follow-Up report, Guyana was included in the CFATF Public Statement in the Plenary of November 2013.

Guyana enacted several pieces of key legislation comprising statutes and regulations in 2015. These legislative measures significantly improved the level of compliance in the Ninth Follow- Up in which Guyana had addressed all issues in the sixteen key and core Recommendations originally rated PC/NC and a significant number of other similarly rated Recommendations in the Tenth Follow-Up Report. By then, Guyana was recommended to apply to exit the follow-up process once it had exited the FATF ICRG process.

By the Plenary meeting in November 2016, Guyana presented the Eleventh Follow-up report in which the Core and Key Recommendations initially rated as PC/NC, numbers 1, 4, 5, 10, 13, 23, 35, 40, SRs. I to V), reached a level of compliance comparable to at least LC.

As Guyana successfully exited the FATF ICRG in October 2016 and had addressed all the deficiencies identified in the Core and Key Recommendations, Guyana applied to exit the CFATF ICRG and the follow-up process, which was successfully approved by the CFATF Plenary in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands in November 2016.

FATF/CFATF Pleased with Guyana's progress in short period

President David Granger, on Thursday , met with the Financial Action Task Force and International Cooperation Review Group (FATF/ICRG), who are currently in Guyana to conduct a site visit to assess the progress made by the country to bring it into compliance with the requirements of the FATF and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF). The team was accompanied by Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mr. Basil Williams.

The visiting delegation included CFATF’s Financial Adviser, Mr. Roger Hernandez, CFATF’s Executive Director, Mr. Calvin Wilson, Americas Regional Review Group (ARRG) Assessor, Mr. Gonzalo Gonzalez de Lara, and FATF’s Senior Policy Analyst, Mr. Kevin Vandergrift.

The Assessor from the ARRG, Mr. Gonzalez de Lara, said that the team is pleased with the Guyana Government’s efforts and the work being done by the various law enforcement agencies. He also said that the FATF/CFATF recognises that all of these changes have been achieved in a relatively brief period of time.

President David Granger reiterated his Government’s commitment to compliance and its importance to Guyana’s security. “We welcome your coming here and the work you are here to do and we look forward to favourable outcomes… We are committed to ensuring that there is full compliance in every respect,” President Granger said.

With regard to the political will to comply, the President explained to the visiting team that his Coalition Government is made up of six different political parties, each of which has a firm stance against financial impropriety. He also spoke of the menu of measures that his Administration has taken, in just a little over a year, in keeping with the recommendations of the FATF/CFATF, including the passage of required legislation.

He reminded that as a small country with porous borders, Guyana is vulnerable to transnational crimes such as human trafficking and contraband smuggling and as such, the country has been doing its best to tackle these problems within the limit of its resources.

In addition, Minister Williams noted that while there is still some resistance to the new measures, the Government has been doing a lot of work to ensure that the population gets a better understanding of the importance of fighting money laundering the financing of terrorism.

Source: MOTP

CONGRATULATIONS - GUYANA ELECTED CFATF DEPUTY CHAIR

Hon. Basil Williams Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs

The CFATF Secretariat is pleased to advise that the Council of Ministers at its meeting on Thursday 8th September 2016, considered and approved the application by Guyana for the post of Deputy Chair of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) for the period November 2016 to November 2017. Guyana's candidature was supported by Curacao and Sint Maarten and endorsed by the Council of Ministers.

The CFATF owes a debt of gratitude to the Government and people of Guyana and in particular the Honourable Basil Williams for so readily agreeing to fill the lacuna that arose as a consequence of the Dominican Republic who was due to assume the position of Deputy Chair, confirming by letter on September 1st 2016 that it was withdrawing its membership in the CFATF and advising that it had joined the Financial Action Task Force of Latin America (GAFILAT).

The Secretariat looks forward to continue working with Chairman Al-Rawi and Deputy Chair Rhondalee Braithwaite-Knowles both of whom are providing astute, effective and closely collaborative leadership, and who will be joined by the Hon. Basil Williams in overseeing the important work that the CFATF must successfully pursue on behalf of the Caribbean Basin Region.

Why Has Guyana Failed to Pass an Anti-Money Laundering Bill?

Important Disclaimer: The original version of this article can be found in the Inter-American Dialogue’s biweekly Financial Services Advisor newsletter, available at: http://www.thedialogue.org/uploads/LAA/FSA/2014/FSA140319.pdf

The Caribbean Community  Secretariat last month expressed concern at Guyana's failure to pass its Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act, a measure that the secretary general of the Organization of American States has also called upon Guyana to approve. The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force has blacklisted the country over the matter. What does the legislation aim to achieve, and why is it being resisted? How will the wrangling affect financial services companies in Guyana and the country's economy overall? Is Guyana's inaction a blow to coordinating anti-money laundering efforts in the Caribbean?

Earl Jarrett, General Manager, Jamaica National Building Society: "The fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism depends on a global network of financial institutions which all prescribe to a common standard that verifies the identity of customers, the source of funds trans-acted over financial networks and the close monitoring of suspicious transactions of any kind. The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Finance of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act effectively seeks to close the artery which feeds criminal activity and, in many instances, contributes to the murder of innocent citizens. The fight against the use of the global financial network for criminal activity is as effective as the weakest link in this chain of effort. It is therefore important for every nation state, no matter how small, to participate fully by passing the appropriate legislation to allow financial institutions to monitor and report on transactions, as part of their efforts to combat a global scourge. From public reports it would seem that lawmakers in Guyana are being frustrated as passage of the AML/CFT law is being leveraged as a negotiating tool by opposition political parties. I submit that of all the laws, the AML/CFT law is not a law to be used for political maneuvering. The implications for Guyana are grave as it could find itself locked out of the global financial network and unable to perform routine international financial transactions. Guyana has the third largest inflow of remittances in the Caribbean, and a consequence of the country's failure to pass the law could disrupt this important lifeline for citizens, as international banks may be obliged to cease corresponding and remittance relationships with entities in Guyana. The entire LAC must see this action in Guyana as one that impacts negatively  on  the  significant  efforts to demonstrate our commitment to protect the region from criminal activity."

Ronald Sanders, senior fellow at London University and former chairman of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force: "Adoption of AML/CFT legislation is complicated by Guyana's internal politics. Donald Ramotar was elected president in 2011 by a plurality, but majority votes for the legislature went to two opposition parties. Thus, the government cannot implement legislation not supported by the opposition parties. The legislation, proposed  initially by the Caribbean Financial Action Force (CFATF), is standard  throughout  the  Caribbean. Its acceptance would be the first step to bring Guyana into compliance with anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing rules established by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and supervised by the International Monetary Fund. If Guyana continues not to adopt the legislation and not to establish other compliance requirements, it will be blacklisted not only by the member-states of CFATF, which has already been done, but also globally by the FATF. This means that all financial transactions with Guyana will be subject to expensive scrutiny that correspondent banks worldwide would not undertake—some have already closed relations with Guyana's banks. Businesses, trade, investment and even simple cross border transactions will be adversely affected with consequential harm to the economy as a whole. The opposition parties have refused to pass the AML/CFT legislation unless the government amends it to satisfy their desire for greater parliamentary oversight of its machinery and less authority in the hands of government ministers. They have also tied support for the legislation to the president signing into law legislation that they have initiated unrelated to the AML/CFT bill. The two sides are now locked in a power struggle and are failing to compromise in the national interest. Failure to adopt the legislation will not affect other Caribbean countries except that the latter's banks and authorities will have to scrutinize transactions to avoid contamination that might arise from incidents of money-laundering from Guyana."

Ignacio M. Alvarez, of counsel at Diaz, Reus & Targ: "The Caribbean  Financial  Action Task Force (CFATF) has black-listed Guyana due to AML/CFT deficiencies and threatened further sanctions, unless the government implements needed legislative changes. Because Guyana's historically weak criminal justice system has also contributed to a favorable cli-mate for drug trafficking, smuggling, human trafficking and corruption, crimes that have a propensity of generating large amounts of illegal profits, the CFATF has taken a firmer stance with Guyana. As a result, the CFATF has been working with Guyana to implement an action plan with target dates to address the AML/CFT deficiencies that still existing despite Guyana's first AML/CFT Act of 2009. Due to a political dispute between political parties, however, the amended bill, which would have addressed these deficiencies, has been held up in Parliament because of the political parties' failure to agree on various amendments to the law. These include restructuring the Financial Intelligence Unit and setting the monetary thresholds needed in order for seizures to occur. The failure to pass these needed reforms before the May CFATF Plenary Meeting would lead to serious sanctions. This would be devastating to Guyana's financial services industry, potentially causing international banks to terminate their relationships with Guyanese counterparts. It would also cause other countries to bring greater scrutiny to bear on funds originating in Guyana. For a country whose industry is largely dependent on exporting natural resources, these sanctions could easily cripple the economy, as purchasers for their exports face greater challenges in conducting financial transactions with Guyana."

Jan  Smith, director for Latin America at Edgar, Dunn and Co.: "The government and the opposition are locked in discussions over the AML/CFT bill and are using the debate as a platform to air political grievances. There is open speculation regarding how deep narcomoney and sheltering of Venezuelan political windfalls has already permeated. The parliamentary opposition has boxed itself in by attaching rigid demands for support of the AML/CFT that the majority PPP will block. These demands include the Public Procurement Commission (PPC), an amendment that would pave the way for ensuring fairness in the distribution of government con-tracts. The opposition interprets the PPP's unwillingness to accept the PPC as fear of being transparent. The PPP is holding the opposition responsible for the impasse and initial blacklisting and thereby deflecting responsibility for a softening economy. Although blacklisting has the objective of making it harder for illegal traders, the heaviest cost will fall on legal enterprises. It will affect the cost of processing international transactions and adversely affect trade and financial flows in the region. It will also affect the government's provision of goods and services. Many regional partners and financial institutions are reviewing the cost/benefit of doing business, and some, such as Citibank, have terminated relationships with local counterparts. The issue may be a thorn in the side of regional politics, but it is not regional failure. A failure of regional anti-money laundering efforts would be precisely the opposite scenario: to not have any legal recourse and tolerate the high risk of transacting with Guyana."

Money laundering Bill is a matter of absolute urgency - Private Sector

Money laundering Bill is a matter of absolute urgency - Private SectorSource: Guyana Government Information Agency
Georgetown, GINA, May 16, 2013

The Private Sector Commission (PSC) in a press release today expressed its concern at the “irretrievable damage” that could result should the political Parties in Parliament fail to reach consensus on the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill.

The PSC expressed its unqualified support for the Bill, which must be passed in the National Assembly by May 27, set by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).

Failure to meet this deadline will see Guyana at risk of facing serious sanctions including being placed on an international blacklist.

“Guyana presently stands in great danger of being deemed a credit risk by international financiers and becoming subject to sanctions; restricting international financial transactions if we do not immediately put in place and implement the legislation required by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Guyana cannot afford to be blacklisted,” the PSC stated.

The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill, which was tabled in the National Assembly by Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, amends the principal Act of 2009.

The amendments which are now pending in the Parliament, emanated out of the deliberations of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), a body that is responsible for monitoring the operations of legislation of this type throughout Caribbean.

The PSC is calling on Parliamentarians to deal with the amendments to the Act as a matter of absolute urgency.

Prime Contact of Guyana

Director of Financial Intelligence Unit
Ministry of Finance Building
Main & Urquhart Street, Georgetown
Guyana
011 592 231 6781