Legal amendments among anti-money laundering strategies in Govt 5-year plan

– upgrading legislative framework to be completed by 2025

Legislative amendments to the existing Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) laws are among the Government’s strategies to tackle money laundering which were laid out in its five-year plan.
The government’s anti-money laundering strategies are laid out in its five-year plan, which was recently released by the Attorney General’s chambers. According to the strategy, laws, and regulations will be developed and revised during that time, in line with international standards.
While there are existing AML/CFT laws, more can be done to strengthen or clarify the legislative framework, to better aid Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA) to carry out their duties. The deadline given to complete the updates and revisions to this legal framework is by the fourth quarter of 2025.
“Guyana recognizes the need to undertake strategic and robust programmes to improve its AML/CFT/PF regime, and build effective partnerships and programmes to strengthen the powers of the LEAs through criminal legislative provisions relating to offences of ML and TF to increase prosecutions and obtain convictions, and demonstrate their effective implementation through increasing the number of criminal convictions against those committing ML or TF offences,” the five-year plan says.
Agencies that fall under the AML/CFT framework, such as the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and the prosecutorial arms of the state, will also be strengthened. Work will also be done to enhance regional and international cooperation to effectively tackle international threats. Another key plank in the anti-money laundering fight is to ensure training is done with all authorities and stakeholders.
“Guyana’s primary efforts to combat (Money Laundering) depend on the work of LEAs to combat criminals and terrorists. The work of the LEA is supported by the efforts of the FIU as the main analysis centre, regulators, supervisory authorities, prosecutors, and the judiciary,” the plan states.
“In turn, the efforts of the authorities encourage vigilance and cooperation from the financial sector and (other sectors such as real estate and gold dealers) to implement preventative AML/CFT measures including reporting suspicious transactions to the FIU. Combating ML and TF is thus a collaborative effort with many stakeholders who have all been involved in developing this national AML/CFT strategy.”
Only last year, Guyana passed amendments to the AML bill in the National Assembly, to ensure that Guyana’s FIU can join the Egmont Group. The Egmont Group is an international organization bringing together FIUs from around the world.
Guyana also completed its second AML/CFT National Risk Assessment Report (NRA) last year. Attorney General Anil Nandlall who chairs the AML National Coordination Committee, the NRA was conducted by a working group of over 70 persons drawn from more than 40 public and private sector agencies in Guyana.
Additionally, the World Bank provided guidance and support to the working group throughout the process. He also noted that the report contains over 100 recommendations for how to strengthen the AML/CFT framework locally. The report has already been shared with stakeholder agencies so that work can begin on implementing the action plan.
“In conducting the exercise, the Working Group assessed and identified the country’s ML/TF threats and vulnerabilities. This included the identification of weaknesses and gaps in Guyana’s ability to effectively deal with the existing Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing vulnerabilities and threats.”
“The Working Group examined the money laundering vulnerabilities faced by twenty (20) sectors that are considered as possessing higher than normal risk for Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing locally,” the AG had said in the statement.
These sectors include Banks, Insurance Companies and Brokers, Money Transfer Agencies, Cambios, Securities Businesses, Attorneys-at-law, Accountants, Notaries, Trust or Company Service Providers, House/ Real Estate Agents, Used Car/ Parts Dealers, Registered Charities, Dealers in Precious Metals (Gold Dealers), Dealers in Precious and Semi-Precious Stones (Diamond Dealers), Credit Unions, Cooperatives, Betting Shops, Casinos, Lotteries, and Pawnbrokers.