Guyana applauded for steps taken to mitigate anti-money laundering risks
…as CFATF team completes on site evaluation
“The initial high-level findings found that Guyana has good coordination for the identification and mitigation of money laundering/terrorist financing risks through the NCC. It also acknowledged the risk assessments Guyana has concluded, including the 2021 National Risk Assessment, and its wide dissemination among stakeholders,” the Legal Affairs Ministry revealed.
The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), having completed their onsite visit and assessment of Guyana’s Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT), have applauded the steps Guyana has taken to fix the framework.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Legal Affairs, the CFATF team completed their onsite visit and assessment of Guyana’s compliance with the Financial Action Task Force Recommendations and Methodology on Friday last.
During this visit, they interviewed and examined a number of Government Ministries, law enforcement agencies, State agencies, financial institutions, as well as private sector and professional organisations.
The Ministry explained that following their assessment, the CFATF team found that Guyana, as a jurisdiction, had made satisfactory progress and was praised during the exercise.
According to the Ministry, CFATF team lead Avelon Perry and her team presented a summary of their initial findings to Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC, and the AML/CFT National Coordination Committee.
“The initial high-level findings found that Guyana has good coordination for the identification and mitigation of money laundering/terrorist financing risks through the NCC. It also acknowledged the risk assessments Guyana has concluded, including the 2021 National Risk Assessment, and its wide dissemination among stakeholders,” the Ministry explained.
“The support of these actions through the National Policy and Strategy were also examined, and found to be acceptable due to the completion of a number of policy items, such as amendments to key AML/CFT related legislation, the legislative creation of the Guyana Compliance Commission and the Real Estate Agents’ Authority, and the codification of the Special Branch Anti-Terrorism Task Force,” the Ministry further said.
When it comes to the supervisory authorities such as the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), the initial findings found that most of these authorities demonstrated a risk-based approach and the use of preventative measures.
Additionally, the support provided by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to these supervisory authorities was acknowledged. At the same time, however, the team also noted some shortcomings.
“Some shortcomings noted in the initial findings, is the need for Attorneys-at-Law and accountants to fully understand their AML/CFT obligations, which is particularly important with the Guyana Compliance Commission law being passed,” the Ministry explained.
“There is also a need for a unified approach in tackling money laundering by the various law enforcement agencies, however it was seen that Guyana was investigating money laundering and associated serious offence cases in line with the country’s risk assessment; however, the delay in the administration of cases may have contributed to the current low conviction rate for money laundering.”
Guyana had formed a national partnership with the Caribbean Community (Caricom) Regional Security System (RSS), during which the regional body had provided support to Guyana for money laundering cases. The CFATF team noted that while there is a need for increased international cooperation and resources for the Treaty Office of the Home Affairs Ministry, partnerships such as the one with RSS demonstrate Guyana’s creativity in forming partnerships.
“In terms of targeted financial sanctions for terrorism financing and proliferation financing, the team noted that the recent 2023 amendments have cured some of the technical deficiencies; nevertheless, due to the recent passage of the laws there may be a need to revise internal procedures in the implementation of such.”
“The Assessment Team reminded Guyana that these findings may be changed upon further review of information submitted, which will be further assessed; however, no new measures after 15th September 2023 will be considered,” the assessment team said.
Meanwhile, final discussions with regard to the 4th Round Mutual Evaluation of Guyana is expected to be concluded in May/June 2024 at the CFATF Plenary, which will be held in Trinidad and Tobago.
Additionally, a preliminary Mutual Evaluation report will be sent for Guyana’s review and input within the next six weeks after the completion of the onsite visit. It was explained that upon that review, and the conclusion of those engagements, a final evaluation report will be completed and submitted to the plenary.