– THAG President
THE non-passage of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) (Amendment) Bill, will not only severely affect Guyana’s economic image, but the tourism sector as well.This is the view of President of the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG), Mr. Kit Nascimento, who said, “It is going to do considerable harm to the country’s reputation and it will do considerable harm to the country’s economy.”
Nascimento pointed out that any country that has been subjected to sanctions or to counter measures for failing to put in place the required legislation to guard against money laundering and financing will be looked upon with a great deal of suspicion.
He noted that Guyana, as a country and its people, will continue to suffer from the results of the international financial institutions making it very difficult to do business.
“It is going to hurt Guyana as a tourism destination. As it is we are a young, fledging, tourism country, and we are working hard to put Guyana on the map as an attractive tourism destination.”
According to Nascimento, any negative image about Guyana will affect tourism in a negative way as well.
“When a country begins to build or get the international reputation that it is either unprepared or unwilling or politically incapable of dealing with the issue of money laundering and attendant crime and criminality that flow from it, it’s not going to be an attractive country to visit,” the THAG President said.
Having had conversations with business owners and other stakeholders within the tourism sector, Nascimento said businesses are already being affected negatively.
He added that with the recent advisory issued by CFATF, advising that counter measures be taken against Guyana, the effects will be more devastating.
“The larger trading companies of the country that do international business on a regular basis, as well as large import and export activities, are finding difficulties.”
Nascimento noted that transactions are taking longer as more documentation is required by banks and with the non-passage of the bill things will get worse.
Meanwhile, the THAG President called on the elected Parliamentarians to be responsible and do what’s best for Guyana as a country.
In spite of regional, international and local voices, the Opposition stubbornly refuse to support the passage of a CFATF compliant Bill. In so doing, they have now put in danger the country’s financial system.
CFATF at its recent plenary in Miami, USA on May 29, in a public statement informed the world that Guyana poses serious risks to the international financial system, and called upon the rest of the world to take measures to protect their systems from those risks. The regional watchdog body also referred Guyana to its parent organisation, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Measures that will be implemented against Guyana include the requirement of enhanced due diligence; introducing enhanced reporting mechanisms or systematic reporting of financial transactions; refusing the establishment of subsidiaries or branches or representative offices in Guyana, or otherwise taking into account the fact that the relevant financial institution is from a country that does not have adequate AML/CFT systems and limiting the business relations or financial transactions with Guyana or persons in our country, among others. (GINA)