Guyana committed to preserving effective AML/CFT regime – Jordan

first_imgGovernment has made a commitment to maintain an effective Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime that gives priority to effective supervision and enforcement of the laws.This view was expressed by Finance Minister Winston Jordan, who addressed participants at the opening of a three-day Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) National Risk Assessment workshop that commenced on Wednesday.Jordan made a commitment to move swiftly to enact the relevant legislation toFinance Minister Winston Jordan addressing participants at the opening of the Financial Intelligence Unit’s National Risk Assessment workshop on Wednesdayaddress new threats and vulnerabilities to money laundering.“I am very cognisant of the catastrophic macroeconomic effects that money laundering and financing of terrorism can have on our country, if left unnoticed and unattended,” he stated.He noted that they could impair the integrity and stability of the domestic financial system, the current and capital accounts of the balance of payments, and reduce legitimate financial inflows entering the country.But more importantly, these offences also have the potential to drastically reduce the Government’s actual revenue collection and negatively affect investment and, ultimately, distort economic growth.“And so, it is to safeguard against these eventualities that the Government of the Guyana has been making stringent efforts to strengthen the country’s AML/CFT regime, through appropriate enactments and amendments to the relevant laws,” he added.The Minister told participants that sharp prudential standards have caused international banking institutions to avoid reputational risks and penalties by reducing or severing their relationships with jurisdictions that are perceived to be high risk, on account of inadequate AML/CFT regimes.He explained that many developing countries, including Guyana, were adversely affected by this de-risking practice. Some local financial institutions either have completely lost or have reduced relationships with their correspondent banks.“This development creates difficulties, including higher cost for individuals and businesses involved in the trade of goods and services, including remittances. In this regard, an efficient anti-money laundering regime will protect our country from the severity of the de-risking practice and sustain the level of development in the county.”Meanwhile, Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Basil Williams urged participants not to take the risk-based approach for granted, but encouraged them to use it as a catalyst for positive change.The workshop was also addressed by Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Country Representative Sophie Makonnen and World Bank Senior Financial Sector Specialist Stuart Yikona, who both commended Guyana for its effort to tackle money laundering.A working group has completed a comprehensive analysis of Guyana’s money laundering and financing of terrorism risks. The National Action Plan prepared by the team will not only satisfy the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendation, but it will also form the basis for the efficient allocation of the country’s scarce financial resources.The National Assembly in 2015 had passed the Anti-Terrorism and Terrorist Related Activities Bill, the AML/CFT (Amendment) Bill No 1 and 2, and the AML/CFT Regulations.Currently, a draft amendment bill to the AML/CFT Act is being prepared to ensure that the assets and funds of terrorists or terrorist organisations are immediately frozen by the court.last_img read more