Guyana’s national assembly remains resistant to passage of tougher legislation regarding AML and the countering of terrorist financing, and that intransigence is frustrating many of its Caribbean neighbors and others in the international finance community.
According to a report from the Caribbean News Desk, which is based in Guyana, the Caribbean Association of Bankers (CAB) has again called upon lawmakers in Guyana to pass the AML/CFT Amendment Bill, an amendment to the 2009 Anti-Money Laundering/Countering of Financing of Terrorism Act. CAB chairman Carlton Barclay renewed his organization’s call for Guyana to match regional and international standards regarding AML/CFT and said that the lack of laws and enforcement could pose a threat to the economic viability of the region.
In May of 2014, the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force revisited its prior recommendations to Guyana, finding lingering deficiencies and so again urged leaders there to take immediate action. Expectations for remediation included the following: fully criminalizing money laundering and terrorist financing offenses; requiring full attention to ultimate beneficial owners, which is critical to customer due diligence solutions; improving the reporting, cooperation, and asset-freezing related to suspicious transactions; and fully implementing UN conventions.
The CFATF in May designated Guyana “as a jurisdiction with significant AML/CFT deficiencies” and noted that it is a “risk to the international financial system.” CFATF urged its members to implement “counter measures to protect their financial systems from the ongoing money laundering and terrorist financing risks emanating from Guyana.”
The Caribbean News Desk report described ongoing infighting in Guyana’s National Assembly as an obstacle to passage of the AML/CFT amendment, but it warned that continued failure to achieve international FATF standards in AML/CFT will affect correspondent banking relationships, which in turn will downgrade legal economic opportunities and growth in the nation and the region.