Guyana is at risk of being placed on an international money laundering black list after the government failed to pass relevant legislation, even as organized crime in the South American country is on the increase.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global financial crime watchdog, is currently reviewing Guyana’s situation to determine whether to blacklist the country internationally.
Guyana has already been blacklisted by the organization’s regional affiliate, the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) and faces severe sanctions if the country’s parliament does not pass more comprehensive legislation.
Although Guyana has basic anti-money laundering legislation in place since 2009, the country lack the legislation necessary to implement these measures and has not yet put the legal tools in place to fight money laundering,
Guyana does not have adequate programs in place for financial institutions to report suspicious transactions, for example, as of June 10, 2014 had yet to investigate a single financial crime.
The CFATF first identified Guyana as a country with holes in its anti-money laundering legislation in 2011 and developed an action plan to address these issues with Guyanese authorities.
Guyana’s government introduced a bill in parliament to bring anti-money laundering legislation into line with international standards in April 2013, but opposition parties in the National Assembly have used the government to pass the laws to pressure for several political concessions, including the presidential approval of bills they have passed- that must be met before they are willing to support the legislation.
While the president and prime minister have pushed for stricter anti-money laundering measures, opposition parties continue to hold he bill hostage. After months of failed efforts, the CFATF blacklisted Guyana in November 2013, stating that there were “ongoing money laundering and terrorist financing risks emanating from the country.”