Guyana was never blacklisted-U.S. says …slams Guyana Times misrepresentation

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U.S. Ambassador Perry Holloway

THE United States Government(USG) has affirmed that Guyana was never placed on the global Financial Action Task Force (FATF) black and gray lists and has slammed a Guyana Times report as a “wilful mischaracterisation of Washington’s position, created through an out-of-context use of one of its officials’ quotations.” Under a screaming headline, “Guyana remains on FATF blacklist,” the Guyana Times reported earlier this week that the country remains non-compliant despite “premature assurances from Attorney General Basil Williams and U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Bryan Hunt.” However, in an invited comment the U.S. Embassy here said the report contained in the Guyana Times of October 27, 2015, begins from a factually incorrect premise. The embassy affirmed that “the global Financial Action Task Force (FATF) did not include Guyana on its list of “jurisdictions subject to a FATF call to apply counter-measures to protect the international financial system” – the commonly referred to blacklist – in its October 2015 meeting. Nor was Guyana included in the FATF list of “jurisdictions not making sufficient progress” – the commonly referred to dark-grey list. Guyana has never appeared on either list at the FATF level.”
According to the U.S., the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) last formally reviewed and issued a public statement on Guyana on May 30, 2014, prior to the passage of its revised Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) legislation. “In its public statement, FATF specifically noted that Guyana’s AML/CFT Amendment Act of 2015 had been an important step towards improving its AML/CFT regime. The passage of the AML/CFT Amendment Act of 2015 was a key component of the action plan that Guyana and FATF agreed to in the 2014 review.” The United States said that it was for this reason that a number of U.S. Government officials, including former Ambassador Brendt Hardt and Deputy Chief of Mission Bryan Hunt, joined other international partners and the Guyanese private sector in strongly backing passage of this critical legislation – which did, in fact, address the legislative deficiencies previously identified by FATF and CFATF.
“To suggest, as the Guyana Times has, that our backing for passage of such FATF/CFATF-compliant legislation meant that the USG believed no further action on AML/CFT was required by the Government of Guyana is a wilful mischaracterisation of the USG position, created through an out-of-context use of USG officials’ quotations. At no time did USG officials suggest or imply that legislation alone would address all FATF and CFATF recommendations.”
According to the United States, the 2014 action plan agreed to by Guyana and FATF included a number of non-legislative implementation actions that needed to be taken. “As FATF recognised in its October, 2015 report, some of those non-legislative actions such as effective implementation of asset-tracking and freezing; strengthening of the Financial Intelligence Unit; and creation of an adequate supervisory framework remain in progress.” The United States said it has repeatedly urged successive Guyanese governments to move forward with these non-legislative actions.
“The United States congratulates Guyana on the progress made to date in improving both the legislative and non-legislative aspects of its AML/CFT prevention regime. Progress to date has successfully kept the country off the FATF black and dark-gray lists, and we remain committed to working with the Guyana government to make further progress in this regard.”