Legal Affairs Minister urges greater collaboration on information sharing

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Apr 12, CMC – Attorney General Basil Williams Wednesday urged stakeholders to commit themselves to a greater sharing of information as Guyana prepares for the fourth round of evaluation by Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).
Guyana has failed to meet some of the standards in the last three evaluations and Williams, addressing a conference to observe the completion of a National Risk Assessment and the commencement of implementation of recommendations to eliminate threats, said there was need for more training, confiscation of assets and convictions.
But he said in order to do this, he believes that all stakeholders must work together.
“It is important to recognize the importance of cooperation. There must be effective information sharing. Information and evidence must be shared between entities like the Guyana Police Force, CANU, FIU, SOCU, SARU, GRA, the DPP and financial institutions,” he added.
Williams, who is also legal Affairs Minister, told the conference that there was need for the total commitment of all stakeholders in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing, while acknowledging the weakness of some supervision bodies and reporting entities.
World Bank’s Senior Financial Sector Specialist, Stuart Yikona, congratulated Guyana for its efforts and perseverance to complete this self-assessment, adding “the easy part is complete, the hard part now begins as you move ahead with the implementations”.
He encouraged the government to begin the process now and pledged the World Bank’s continued support with the implementation of an action plan.
IDB’s Country Representative, Sophie Makonnen echoed similar sentiments, congratulating Guyana on its efforts to improve its AML/CFT framework.
“Do not lose your momentum… as a country you have invested time, money and energy,” she said.
Finance Minister Winston Jordan said the government is committed to the fight and will continue to be vigilant, despite the progress made over the last two years, to address new threats and vulnerabilities.
Guyana had been actively pursuing the objective of meeting regional and international expectations on money laundering and terrorist financing for more than a decade.
The AML/CFT Bill was first passed in 2000 and then repealed and replaced in 2009 after which several amendments were passed to strengthen the legislative framework.
But despite these efforts, the country continued to fall below the standards of international bodies which led to the need for a national risk assessment.
The assessment was conducted with the help of the World Bank and other agencies like the Inter-American Development Bank and the United States.

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