GEORGETOWN, Guyana, October 26, 2016 (CMC) – The Guyana government, today, described as a “collective victory”, the decision by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to remove the country from the organisation’s compliance document.
But Attorney General, Basil Williams, warned that Georgetown would have to ensure it secures convictions in the area of money laundering, terrorist financing, and theft of state assets if its exit from the FATF process is to be sustained.
“The test is whether we would have shown sufficient progress, meaning having more convictions for offenses of money laundering, terrorist financing and the purloining of state assets,” Williams said, adding that Guyana cannot be complacent as it awaits the fourth round of Mutual Evaluation.
He said Guyana’s exit means easier business transactions for local businesses and business persons, with the reduction of the threat posed to international financial institutions.
“We now have to show diligence in going after money launderers,” Williams said, while indicating that there have not been any convictions since the Act came into force in 2000 to the change in government in 2015.
He said while several persons were investigated and charged over the last year, the state has not secured any convictions as yet and the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Special Organised Crime Unit are conducting those investigations.
“We can’t rest on our laurels,” he added.
In the FATF Conference in Paris on October 18, Spain moved the motion to recommend that Guyana be removed from the compliance document.
Spain’s motion was then supported by the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, France, and Mexico.
“It was because of such solid support that Guyana’s exit from the process was unanimously adopted by the FATF plenary meeting two days later,” Williams added.