Anti-money Laundering and countering the financing – Nov. 07, 20133227 07 Nov, 2013
ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING AND COUNTERING THE FINANCING – Nov. 07, 2013
Mr. Nandlall: I am not going to dwell on who absented themselves from the meeting – I think that point was well made – and those who delayed the meetings. The record is here. For example, Mr. Ramjattan out of 17 meetings attended seven. Mr. Basil Williams out of 17 meetings attended eleven. The records reflect that. What is important is that we do not have the luxury and leisure of time on our side. This process from the inception was one that was time-bound and time-driven. That was made very clear.
I heard over and over again the point being made that we want a good bill, and we want a comprehensive Bill being passed in the National Assembly. The problem with that is these amendments which are before us here have already been sent to the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force and approved as meeting the minimum requirements. Second, the review process is an ongoing one and therefore the opportunity exists for changes to be made in the future to this Bill. So whatever changes are being advocated to be made the opportunity will always present itself but beyond 18th November Guyana will face certain consequences, hence the need to pass this Bill tonight.
Sir, I have heard the comment that the model we used for the erection of the Financial Intelligence Unit being a defective one. The 2009 principal Bill which established the Financial Intelligence Unit was a Bill that spent two years in the select committee and was passed in this House by a unanimous vote. That Unit was established through that act and as late as 2010 that Unit was reviewed and approved by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force as of the year 2010. That is not one of the deficiencies identified.
The other point is that we did not fabricate the model; the model is given to us by the World Bank. There is an entire book published called A Reference Guide to Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism. The World Bank has outlined to nations how their financial unit should be structured. They advocated three models - the Administrative Agency Model; the Law Enforcement Model and the Prosecutorial Model. Of the three models the World Bank recommends that we should use the Administrative Agency Model. That is the model which we have used in Guyana. The entire Caribbean including Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, The Caiman Islands, Antigua, Barbuda, Bahamas, Canada and the United States of America have all utilised the same model. That is the point I want to make. But I am not saying the model is crafted in stone. All I am saying is that for now to meet the minimum requirements so as to avert Guyana being exposed to the perilous consequences that are likely to ensure that we come together and pass this Bill and then we can continue the work; as I said, it is an ongoing process.
As I speak the drafting department of the Attorney General’s Chamber is currently working on different pieces of legislation to satisfy recommendations which have already been made but have a different timeframe in terms of their implementation. It is a mutual evaluation process. So it is a process that will continue. Whatever amendments one would like to see the opportunity exists.
I call upon members of this Hon. Assembly not disregard 18 constituent members of the commercial sector. [Interruption] The fact that they will not vote here does not mean they are voiceless and powerless. Today we are hearing the callous remark from a Member of Parliament...
Mr. Speaker: Mr. Attorney General do not respond to remarks. You are to address me and let us finish this debate so I can put the question.
Mr. Nandlall: Imagine, Sir, a Member of this Hon. Assembly...
Mr. Speaker: You are listening to what is said not on record; do not worry with what is said out there; you address me and let us finish.
Mr. Nandlall: A Member of this Assembly is saying that 18 members – the Aircraft Owners Association, Forestry Producers Association, Georgetown Chamber of Commerce...
Mr. Speaker: Mr. Attorney General that sounds like a filibuster. You are not going to read all 18 of those.
Mr. Nandlall: ...and we are told they do not have a vote in this Assembly. There was a statement from the largest grouping representing organised labour FITUG calling for support. There was a statement from the Rice Producers Association, the largest organised grouping of rice farmers, calling for support for this Bill. All I am asking my Hon. Members on the other side is not to disregard, not to reject the calls and the appeals which have been made. This is greater than the pride and the narrow interests which are being protected on that side.
We have until 18th; today we are approaching the 8th. We have 10 more days. My friends are asking for it to be recommitted to the select committee but they are not, as the Hon. Member Dr. Singh pointed out, indicating any timeframe for the work to be done for the Bill to be brought back here. Having regard to their continuous conduct over the last six months the intention always was to kill this Bill irrespective of the consequences it will have to the country. Let them go ahead, Sir.
Thank you. [Applause]
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