CFATF concludes 4th round mutual evaluation of Guyana
See below full release from the Attorney General’s Chambers:
The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) on Friday, 15th September 2023, successfully concluded their onsite visit and assessment of Guyana’s compliance with the Financial Action Task Force Recommendations and Methodology.
A number of government ministries, law enforcement agencies, state agencies, financial institutions, as well as private sector and professional organisations, were engaged in this assessment. From all indications, Guyana as a jurisdiction, acquitted itself favourably and received much plaudit during the exercise.
Mission Leader, Ms. Avelon Perry, and her team presented a summary of the initial findings to the Hon. Attorney General, Mohabir Anil Nandall SC MP and the Antimoney Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism/Proliferation Financing National Coordination Committee (NCC).
The initial high-level findings found that Guyana has good coordination for the identification and mitigation of money laundering/terrorist financing risks through the NCC. It also acknowledged the risk assessments Guyana has concluded, including the 2021 National Risk Assessment, and its wide dissemination among stakeholders.
The support of these actions through the National Policy and Strategy were also examined, and found to be acceptable due to the completion of a number of policy items, such as amendments to key AML/CFT related legislation, the legislative creation of the Guyana Compliance Commission and the Real Estate Agents’ Authority, and the codification of the Special Branch Anti-Terrorism Task Force.
With regard to supervisory authorities, the initial findings found that most of these authorities demonstrated a risk-based approach, as well as the use of preventative measures. The team also noted the support that the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) plays in providing guidance for supervisory authorities.
Some shortcomings noted in the initial findings, is the need for Attorneys-at-Law and Accountants to fully understand their AML/CFT obligations, which is particularly important with the Guyana Compliance Commission law being passed.
There is also a need for a unified approach in tackling money laundering by the various law enforcement agencies, however it was seen that Guyana was investigating money laundering and associated serious offence cases in line with the country’s risk assessment; however, the delay in the administration of cases may have contributed to the current low conviction rate for money laundering.
With regard to international cooperation, the team found that there was a need for increased resources for the Treaty Office Ministry of Home Affairs to effectively carry out its functions; however, Guyana has demonstrated the ability to use formal and informal mechanisms for international cooperation, particularly through its regional mechanisms such as ARIB-CARIB and the Regional Security System (RSS).
In terms of targeted financial sanctions for terrorism financing and proliferation financing, the team noted that the recent 2023 amendments have cured some of the technical deficiencies; nevertheless, due to the recent passage of the laws there may be a need to revise internal procedures in the implementation of such.
The Assessment Team reminded Guyana that these findings may be changed upon further review of information submitted, which will be further assessed; however, no new measures after 15th September 2023 will be considered.
The Assessment Team thanked Guyana for its hospitality, and informed the NCC that the final discussions with regard to the 4th Round Mutual Evaluation of Guyana is due to be concluded in May/June 2024 at the CFATF Plenary, which will be held in Trinidad and Tobago.
Within six weeks of the completion of this onsite visit, a preliminary Mutual Evaluation report will be sent for Guyana’s review and input. Upon that review, and the conclusion those engagements, a final evaluation report will be concluded and submitted to the plenary.