Guyana exits FATF, still on CFATF’s watch list

Though Guyana has exited the global Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) compliance process of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), it remains on the watch list of its regional arm, the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).
At the end of the plenary meeting of the FATF, the global organisation announced that Guyana has been removed from the global process in light of its successful progress in addressing certain AML/CFT deficiencies but pointed out that the country will still be monitored to ensure its AML/CFT regime is improved.
“The FATF congratulated Guyana for the significant progress it has made in addressing the strategic AML/CFT deficiencies earlier identified by the FATF and included in its action plan. Guyana will no longer be subject to the FATF’s monitoring under its on-going global AML/CFT compliance process. The country will work with the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), of which it is a member, to further strengthen its AML/CFT regime,” the international body reported.
Guyana was “blacklisted” by the CFATF after it failed to make significant progress in implementing required legislative reforms which would have aided in the international combat against money laundering and financing of terrorism.
In November 2013, CFATF found that Guyana did not implement its action plan adequately; in particular, that Guyana failed to approve and implement the required legislative reforms. Guyana was mandated to pass the relevant legislation to address certain identified deficiencies.
In May 2014, again, the CFATF found that Guyana failed to make significant progress in addressing those deficiencies and in its public statement on Guyana, said “CFATF considers Guyana to be a risk to the international financial system.
Amid the then Opposition’s objections to passing the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) proposed AML/CFT Amendment Bill, CFATF felt that they could have no longer influenced the improvement of Guyana’s situation and the matter was subsequently referred to the wider body – FATF.
Just last year, even after Guyana finally passed its AML/CFT Bill, the country was marked as a “high-risk and non-cooperative jurisdiction” by FATF.
FATF reported that Guyana still had deficiencies in its AML/CFT regime.  The organisation recommended that Guyana continue to implement its action plan by ensuring and implementing an adequate legal framework for identifying, tracing and freezing terrorist assets. It also wanted Guyana to ensure a fully operational and effectively functioning financial intelligence unit; establish effective measures for customer due diligence and enhancing financial transparency and implement an adequate supervisory framework.
Last month, FIU Director Matthew Langevine and his deputy Abiose Thomas assumed their duties in keeping with the FATF recommendation.
The FIU functions in collaboration with the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Finance Ministry in identifying and tracking persons fingered in financial illegalities.
Additionally, a FATF/International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) delegation visited Guyana last month to assess its reforms.
Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Basil Williams had explained that the reforms include adequately criminalising of money laundering and terrorist financing, establishing and implementing adequate procedures for the confiscation of assets related to money laundering, and establishing and implementing an adequate legal framework for identifying, tracing and freezing terrorist assets; as well as establishing a fully operational effectively functioning financial intelligence unit, establishing effective measures for customer due diligence and enhancing financial transparency, strengthening suspicious transaction reporting requirements, and implementing an adequate supervisory framework.
Williams had also announced that the regional watch body had lauded Guyana for its progress in strengthening its AML/CFT regime during the CFATF Plenary Meeting and Working Groups Agenda in June last.