By Naomi Marshall
GUYANA’S Gaming Authority hosted a Stakeholders Forum on Monday, June 24, 2019, in an attempt to educate the Designated Non-Financial Businesses on the expectations of the Gaming Authority as a supervisory expert.
Designated non-financial businesses include casinos, betting shops and lotteries.
The event which took place at the Pegasus Hotel was held under the theme “Guyana Fourth Round Mutual Evaluation and Gaming Sector” and aimed at enhancing the designated non-financial businesses’ knowledge and understanding of the Gaming Authority’s obligations and responsibilities under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) legislation, as well as the relevant recommendations under the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards.
In addition, the forum is a part of the preparatory process which allows designated non-financial businesses to have a broader understanding of their role, duties and commitments in the preparation of the sector for “Guyana Fourth Round Mutual Evaluation,” scheduled for the first quarter of 2022.
Giving the keynote address was the Honourable Minister Dawn Hastings-Williams, Minister of State, Ministry of the Presidency. She reminded the attendees of His Excellency, President Brigadier David Granger’s words at the Opening Ceremony of the 46th Plenary Meeting of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) in November 2017.
He stated, “The Caribbean today is fighting a war against financial Primitives to preserve the integrity of its institutions and to counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Guyana as a part of the Caribbean is fit to fight.”
Hastings noted that the Government of Guyana supports the initiative and “echoes any cause for there to be adherence to the law in this gaming jurisdiction.”
She said, “Money laundering is all about deception. Its aim is to deceive the authority as to the origination, existence and/or of application of illegal sources of income and the subsequent processing of that income to make it appear to have been legitimately earned.”
She added that as Guyana advances economically, new industries will emerge and would pose new challenges of which, she thinks the Gaming Authority would rise to, under its “distinguished leadership.”
Hastings encouraged dialogues between stakeholders and those in authority and hoped that stakeholders would work in conjunction with the Law and the Gaming Authority.
She added, “It is my wish that this will not be restricted to just talk and the pump of gathering. It is my sincere wish that what is discussed here is transformed into positive action with results.”
During his presentation on the role of the Gaming Authority, Lloyd Moore, Chief Executive Officer of the Gaming Authority, stated that effective supervision is an essential factor of effective AML/ CFT’s regime.
He further noted that an effective supervisory system comprises of a wide range of preventive measures, related sanctions and other corrective actions that supervisory experts may apply.
“The role of The Gaming Authority as a supervisory authority under Guyana’s AML/CFT framework is to have oversight and monitor its reporting entities (REs) to ensure you effectively assess the Money Laundering(ML) and Task Force (TF) risks faced by your entities,” he stated.
Moore explained further, noting, “The Gaming Authority as a Supervisory body is required to specifically examine and assess its reporting entities’ policies, procedures, systems and controls for identifying and managing ML/TF risk, and take remedial action where appropriate. It should not be a “tick the box” approach and it requires judgment in understanding the characteristics and situation of every reporting entity.”
Gaming Authority’s vision is to place Guyana as a leading and internationally recognized jurisdiction with a well-managed and effectively regulated gaming industry.
The Gaming Authority of Guyana was launched on December 1, 2008, and is the Supervisory Authority for betting shops, casinos and lotteries under the Anti-Money Laundering Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act of 2009 and its Amendment.