Anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terroism (Amendment) Bill 2013 – Bill no. 22/20133297 19 Dec, 2013
Mr. Ramjattan: Sir, it is getting very late in the night and I do not want to be too long but I must indicate to the Members present that the Alliance For Change’s position on this issue of support for the Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill is very much linked and attached to the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission.
I want to draw a couple of parallels here. When we passed the Procurement Act, the debate having ended, it came as a result of something the equivalent to CFATF. Namely, there were the banks and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) demanding that we have a public procurement commission and we passed it and up to now we do not have a public procurement commission. Similarly, we are now being told that CFATF is on their backs and CFATF is going to do this and that. Indeed, it might happen. I am not denying it. The doomsday might very well come. What makes us so certain that when the legislation is passed, we are going to have it enforced - just like the non enforcement of the Public Procurement Commission? What is that? It is so clear a parallel. That is why we are saying: one institution having not been operationalised, although the Bill was passed ten years ago, we might very well have this Bill passed and nothing will happen. There will not be one prosecution. In 2009, when we passed this Bill, it was the most advanced stage at that time and they said we are going to catch some crooks and we are going to catch some launderers. We did not. We did not prosecute any.
They are now coming and saying, as Hon. Member Ms. Teixeira said, that now we are going to have the best law. We see people all the time with extraordinary sums of moneys putting up all kinds of fancy things. Where do they get the money? Does the Government ask? Then, there is the scaremongering. When doomsday comes, because they do not want to attach this to the operationalisation of the Public Procurement Commission, they will go Port Mourant and Anna Regina and say it is the Opposition that caused the hardship. That is what they are looking for. That is the propaganda exercise going on here.
We could have avoided at least two and a half hours of debate here if we had just sent it down but they wanted to do it so that they could go on the National Communications Network (NCN) and all the arguments of the Hon. Attorney General will be repeated. This is what is going to happen come 14th February, 2014 if it is not passed. That is what is happening here. They are asking us to act with good faith but do you think they are acting with good faith by wanting to do it this way?
I want to reiterate that the attachment of the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission in relation to the Alliance For Change, and, I just heard it repeated by Mr. Greenidge for A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), is mandatory. Though we just passed a withdrawal motion stating that it will go six months into the future, I am saying that that Public Procurement Commission will have to be set up just alongside what we are talking about here in relation to the Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill and the select committee.
I have indicated to the President, through a letter, and it has been made public now, a certain roadmap. Whilst the Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill is going into the select committee for further refinements, whatever the refinements will be, at the same time we must also have the Public Procurement Commission members being named, a number of things being done, names being brought here and, after that, there being a provision for some finance. [Mr. Nadir: Dream on.] You will dream on here. You will not get the support of the Opposition in relation to the Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill. People are not going to be beguiled by your phony arguments. [Mr. Nadir: Phony?] Yes, your phony arguments.
Mr. Speaker, they will want to say that people’s moneys are now going to be halted and we should go and talk to the bankers. We spoke to members of the Guyana Association of Bankers yesterday. We spoke to them and all those exaggerated concerns that you have did not come from them. They are concerned, indeed, because they would like to see it happen. But they, understanding the argument for the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission, want that too. You better go and ask them for that. [Dr. Singh: What did they say to you?] What did they say? They said specifically that they would like to see better governance in this country. They would like to see the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission. Go and ask the Private Sector Commission (PSC) because they even proposed to the President a certain model which you, today, talked against. Do not feel that we are not talking to them. They are stakeholders and a responsible party like the Alliance For Change has been speaking to them.
I want to make it very emphatic. I want to make it very clear. If, indeed, we take it wheresoever it has to go in the select committee and there is no establishment of the Procurement Commission, the Alliance For Change will maintain its hold on no support for this Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill. [Applause]
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