Finance Minister Ashni Singh outlines setbacks of CFATF Advisory

Finance Minister Ashni Singh outlines setbacks of CFATF Advisory

Dr. Ashni Singh

Dr. Ashni Singh

Finance Minister Dr.Ashni Singh on Saturday  November 23 outlined a number of setbacks that Guyanese will face as a result of an advisory by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).

The advisory was issued at the regional financial crimes watchdog’s plenary held earlier this week in The Bahamas. CFATF members were told to take the necessary measures to insulate themselves from ongoing money laundering and terrorist financing risks after the National Assembly failed to amend the Anti Money Laundering and Countering of Financing Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act in keeping with CFATF recommendations.

The combined opposition has given several reasons for not approving the amendments including the need to ensure the law is watertight and that adequate systems are put in place to arrest and prosecute launderers of ill-gotten gains.

Full text from Dr. Ashni Singh:         

Following is the full text of the Finance Minister’s statement outlining the expected bottlenecks that Guyanese will experience as a result of failure to pass the amendments:

The decision by CFATF to encourage its member countries to consider implementing counter measures to protect their financial systems from the ongoing money laundering and terrorist financing risks emanating from Guyana is most unfortunate.

As a result of this warning Guyana’s credibility in the international community will be severely damaged. International business relations with Guyana will be subjected to intense scrutiny which inevitability will become bureaucratic and costly for investors. Such environments will undoubtedly detour investor interests and ultimately limit Guyana’s marketability.

Countries which have been blacklisted and received similar warnings have responded differently based on their unique economies. How Guyana’s economy responds will only be determined in time. What is known is, regardless of Guyana’s current economic state, the consequences of the warning issued by CFATF are far reaching:

1.      Persons who receive remittances/ cash via money transfer systems, may experience delays in receiving the transfer. There may also be an increased processing fee resulting from additional paperwork.

2.      Proof of income and identification of the sender of such remittances will be enhanced. Persons most likely to be affected by this are undocumented aliens who reside abroad.

3.      The transfer of money from local to external banks will be delayed as international banks begin to severe ties locally.

4.      This delay in bank transfers or severing of financial ties with local banks can affect fuel prices and ultimately the cost for travel and commodities.

5.      Local businesses may experience delays in the shipment of goods as additional paperwork will be required to prove that a business is legitimate and not a shell company laundering monies or financing terrorism. 

6.      Enhanced scrutiny will be implemented to verify the source and destination of all monies.

7.      Persons who shop online and use debit and credit cards to conduct such transactions may find their transactions are denied or delayed.

8.      Insurance services (fire, life, mortgage etc), most of which depend on reinsurance from abroad, are also expected to experience delays, additional filing of paperwork and possibly increased fees.

Despite numerous warnings, multiple engagements, calls from the private sector, manufacturing industry, banking and insurance sectors and the diplomatic community, it is most unfortunate that Guyana’s development has received such a striking blow due to non- cooperation at the parliamentary level.

The implications of Guyana not complying with the CFATF requirements will undoubtedly affect our social and economic development. As more information becomes available, Government will keep the public informed.  

(Source Demerara Waves –  November 23, 2013)

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  • de castro compton  On 11/24/2013 at 10:08 am

    The above statement reads “post mortem” too little too late.
    My question is not to Dr Singh but the head of the Bank of Guyana.
    Does he/she have the last say on what action is necessary to secure
    the Guyana dollars stability/value/exchange rates etc etc.
    Who appoints the head of the bank of Guyana.?
    If it is Dr Singh then he will be held responsible if the Guyana dollar
    becomes toilet paper.
    If however the head of the bank of Guyana is elected then the buck
    stops there.
    When things go wrong it is normal for “heads to roll”…resignations/sackings/pay offs etc etc
    There is no room for error when economic decisions are initiated.

    Politicians will always blame others when things go wrong….
    Economist is usually say “we told you so” ….

    Excuses abound.

    In the same token when things go right they should complimented/congratulated
    for getting it right.

    Only time will tell who was right and who was wrong.
    We shall see how this one develops before we determine whose
    mistakes resulted in the collapse of the Guyana dollar.
    Another devaluation the lesser of two evils.

    Indecisiveness almost broke the bank of England during thatchers
    Reign….she and her chancellor could not agree and decide on
    whether to remain or withdraw from monetary union with euro land.
    Guyana credibility and its value as a country to do business with
    does have far reaching implications….its economic dilemma.
    Politically it has stagnated…smells of the garbage city it has become.

    One can despair !


  • de castro compton  On 11/24/2013 at 10:29 am

    Not wishing to be driven into suicide out of despair my recommendation
    Follows….in as few words as possible.

    Align the Guyana dollar with one of your neighbouring countries
    …REAL…as good as any in today’s economic climate….
    with fixed exchange rate mechanism ….as a safeguard against fluctuations
    in money markets and increase your trade within the region in the long term.
    UK dilemma is 65% of its trade is within euroland when it should be with
    ROW (rest of world) ….which will benefit a floating pound….
    it has already started the process of realignment of its trade/exchange
    of peoples/goods/services…..step in right direction.
    Its economy is already showing signs of recovery….the pound will
    strengthen therefore interest rates will rise.
    UK is a barometer for others to implement/execute in their economic planning.
    Observe the mistakes of others and learn from them thus avoiding the pitfalls
    of decision/indecisions.

    My spin entirely

  • Ben Khan  On 11/28/2013 at 11:24 pm

    As Stan said to Ollie.
    “That’s another nice mess you got me into”

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