Guyana closer to attaining Egmont membership with strengthened anti-money laundering framework
Following participation at the recent CFATF’s 55th Plenary and Working Group meetings, Guyanese authorities are optimistic that the country is on track in its preparation for its upcoming mutual evaluation.
Moreover, Guyana also received an update on its application for Egmont membership. The country is now a step closer to acquiring membership having recently passed further necessary amendments to the AML/CFT legislation, the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall SC detailed in a press statement on Saturday.
Nandlall led a delegation of senior officials from the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the Bank of Guyana (BOG), the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) to the CFATF 55th Plenary and Working Group meetings in the Cayman Islands during November 27 to December 1, 2022.
At this in-person Plenary, Guyana was able to strengthen its position to combat money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF) through a number of strategic alliances which occurred on the margins of the Plenary meeting.
Guyana’s participation in the Plenary is in line with the Government’s commitment to fight financial crime and money-laundering on all fronts. It is also aligned with our recent acceptance as a member of the Regional Security Services (RSS).
Guyana also attended the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network of the Caribbean (ARIN-CARIB), which is the operation arm of the RSS, focused on informal cooperation of the law enforcement agencies to facilitate exchange of intelligence in the recovery of assets accumulated from the proceeds of crime.
At this AGM, also held in the Cayman Islands prior to the CFATF’s 55th Plenary, Guyana was invited to become a member of the ARIN-CARIB Steering Group. The Steering Group is comprised of eight members of the network and is responsible for administration of the Group.
Delegations benefitted from presentations from regional and international bodies including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the United States Department of Treasury- Office of Terrorism Financing and Financial Crimes (OTFFC). This is in addition to extensive discussions on the mutual evaluation reports of Suriname and Venezuela.
Guyana also received an update on its application for Egmont membership. The country is now a step closer to acquiring membership having recently passed further necessary amendments to the AML/CFT legislation. Guyana’s application is expected to be presented to the Egmont Group’s Membership, Support and Compliance Working Group on the Margins of the next Egmont Plenary scheduled for early 2023.
The Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units is an international organization that facilitates cooperation and intelligence sharing between national financial intelligence units to investigate and prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.
In the meanwhile, on the margins of the Plenary, the FIU signed six (6) Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with FIUs from Bermuda, Bahamas, Haiti, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the British Virgin Islands. These MOUs will assist in supporting intelligence gathering and analysis related to money laundering investigations.
The AGC was also able to initiate additional training for Guyana to further prepare for the September 2023 Mutual Evaluation, with a virtual 4th Round FATF Standards Training slated to occur in early January 2023.
The BOG also held discussions with the CFATF on the margins of the Plenary, with regard to sector specific training for its staff in preparation for the upcoming Mutual Evaluation, whilst SOCU was able to meet with other regional law enforcement agencies to create strategic alliances with regard to combatting cross border related issues of ML/TF.
The Plenary also celebrated the 30th anniversary of the existence of the CFATF, which was founded by way of the Kingston Declaration in 1992.
The 55th Plenary was attended by Dr. Gobin Ganga, Governor of Bank of Guyana, Matthew Langewine, Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Ms. Alicia Williams, Head of Compliance – FIU, Mr. Karim Baksh – Head of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), Ms. Natasha Backer- Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions and Mr. Rommel St Hill, Anti-Money Laundering/ Combatting the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT), Officer in the Attorney General’s Office.