New Real Estate Association to support fight against money laundering
To strengthen Guyana’s fight against money laundering and organised crime, training will be conducted next month with the aim of identifying the proceeds of crime.
The training will be held in collaboration with the United States of America Embassy in Guyana, Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC, revealed during the official launch of the Realtor Association of Guyana on Wednesday.
Nandlall acknowledged that the real estate industry is a multi-billion dollar one and to further protect agencies and clients, the industry must be regularised.
“The real estate industry is integrally involved in billions of dollars in transaction, cash and time in relation to real estate, land, immovable property and real property.
“That by itself, creates the need for heavy regulations in this industry,” Nandlall said at the launch which was held at the Roraima Duke Lodge in Kingston, Georgetown.
The Attorney General related that Guyana is a member of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force and the administration must ensure the country’s entire financial sector complies with international protocols “and that we do not become the receptacle or a haven of dirty money.”
“And as such, we are partnering next month with the US Embassy to run a programme here in Guyana, to do training in relation to proceeds from crime.
“We, like every other country, have to operate under the Anti-Money Laundering Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regulatory framework of the world and in particular, of the Americans and even more specifically, of the Caribbean,” Nandlall stated.
Nandlall recently noted that regulations for the local real estate industry are now long overdue even as he committed the government’s efforts to ensure that the necessary legal framework is put in place soon.
Such regulations could amount to the licensing of real estate agents who currently operate in the market without such authority and are constantly accused of excessive and unacceptable behaviour.
With the real estate industry under a regulatory framework, it will further boost the country’s AML/CFT fight.
Once the regulations are in place, the industry will be required to report any suspicious transactions they encounter and comply with a series of other obligations.
“It may include certifying the players, qualifying the players, licensing the players and may include a regime of regulation or rules that must apply to the sector. It necessarily will also embrace some type of regulation in relation to charges that are to be applied,” Nandlall explained.
He believes that once the sector is under formal regulations it will grow and establish linkages with insurance and financial firms.
“Government will offer every encouragement.
“They can [be] assured they will get the necessary impetus to move the sector forward, to create jobs, protect persons who are dealing with properties.”
Before the legislation is put in place, Nandlall said the government will consult with the members of the sector and related agencies.
The Association has already presented a draft legislation to the government and Nandlall said this will be reviewed.
“The objective is to arrive at a legislation and the creation of regulatory framework that is consensual between the government and sector.”
Meanwhile, President of the Association, Chief Samsair told the gathering that the Association has identified four governance committees as key pillars.
The education and training committee is working to prepare a course for persons who want to become a real estate agent and those who want to further their study in the field.
“We’ve already reached out the Ministry of Education with a plan for accrediting the proposed courses,” Samsair said.
The other committees include the finance and budget planning committee, the legislation committee and the membership committee.
The Association will provide a platform for listing, advertising and networking with like-minded individuals within the industry.
Samsair is encouraging persons to register and become members of the Association.