Oil sector an area of threat for money laundering in Guyana

Guyana’s burgeoning oil and gas sector has been marked critical for the monitoring of money laundering, as the country prepares for its fourth round of mutual evaluation by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).

NRA Coordinator Alicia Williams

This was according to National Risk Assessment (NRA) Coordinator, Alicia Williams who was at the time speaking at a Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (ML&TF) National Risk Assessment Seminar on Thursday at the Pegasus Hotel, Georgetown.
“Guyana is preparing for its fourth round of mutual evaluation which is scheduled for 2023, that is, the first quarter of 2023. This NRA, that is, the new national risk assessment will be conducted by a working group of 75 persons, [which] you would have already heard, representing public and private sector organisations in Guyana, [from] over 40 public and private sector organisations. It will allow us to identify any new money laundering or terrorist financing threats and vulnerabilities, and it will also include an assessment that is a money-laundering assessment of new areas such as virtual assets. We’ll also look at the oil and gas sector, proliferation financing which was not covered under the old National Risk Assessment and illegal wildlife. These are new areas for the working group,” Williams stated.

Attorney General Basil Williams

However, Attorney General Basil Williams, who was present at the seminar, underscored the importance of Guyana meeting the requirements of the FATF and stressed on the importance of Guyana maintaining its good standing with the FATF and CFATF, especially at such a pivotal point in its history with its new oil wealth.
“With our oil regime looming, it’s very important that we ensure we’re not blacklisted because the CFATF and the FATF requirements to protect the international financial economy is brutal and they respect nobody, it’s no respecter of persons. Every country, [even] in Europe …they have to come up for assessment and they have to conform [to] the recommendations of the FATF,” the Attorney General told the audience.
As Guyana was previously blacklisted in 2015, regulations and laws addressing Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML&CFT) had to be put in place in order for the country to meet international standards and be able to continue international trade and business.
According to the NRA Coordinator, Guyana will be conducting its second NRA over a 10-month period from December 2019 to September 2020.