Amid oil bonanza, Guyana makes ‘great improvements’ to strengthen anti-money laundering effort – AG

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With Guyana being among the fastest growing global economies, backed by its oil and gas sector, the nation has made “great improvements” in combatting money laundering, terrorism financing, and proliferation financing. 

This is according to the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, during his Presentation at the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) 58th Plenary and Working Group Meetings held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

“Recognizing that Guyana is one of the most sought-after investment destinations in the Region and having regard to the large influx of global corporate giants establishing a presence in Guyana, our government is determined to accord the highest priority to Guyana becoming as compliant as possible with international gold standards in the economic, financial and legal realm,” Nandlall told the plenary on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.

He remarked that these gains have been made despite Guyana still being primarily a cash-based society and not an offshore or company formation jurisdiction.

“Our [Financial Intelligence Unit] is now a member of the Egmont Group. We have completed a number of risk assessments, of which coordinated actions and responses have followed,” he said.

The government’s legislative agenda aims to achieve ratings of at least ‘largely compliant’ in all 40 of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations, he explained, especially with respect to measures to keep the oil and gas sector free from international financial crime.

Nandlall discussed using the FIU to bolster the capabilities of supervisory, competent, and law enforcement authorities through technical assistance and training from international partners.

“While we may not have the perfect regime, no one can fault the efforts demonstrably exhibited thus far. This is coupled with a clear and settled will and intent to combat money laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation financing in every sphere of national life,” he said.

Nandall pointed out that Guyana has the structural underpinnings, tools and actions to illustrate that in most areas, it has achieved at least moderate to substantial ratings of effectiveness, with only major or moderate improvements needed.

Guyana has approved a National Policy and Strategy for Combating Money Laundering, and Terrorism Financing, which addresses the risks identified in its 2021 National Risk Assessment and introduced in parliament legislative amendments to the AML/CFT Act.

Last year, the National Assembly passed the AML/CFT Amendment Bill, as part of its comprehensive legislative agenda. Guyana’s economy has grown at double-digits annually, fueled by oil. Production offshore has moved from zero in 2019 to more than 600,000 barrels per day (b/d) in 2024. Exxon is expected to increase production to approximately 1.3 million b/d by 2027. 

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