Thursday, January 26, 2023

US encouraging Guyana to join financial intelligence group, as support for O&G continues

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When it comes to the management of the oil and gas sector and capacity building for economic growth, the United States is actively supporting Guyana on multiple fronts.

This was highlighted by US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch, during a podcast by The Wilson Center. Noting that the two countries are in the same neighbourhood, the diplomat said helping Guyana is in America’s best interest.

“We work primarily in the areas of governance, economic development and security… We work with Guyana to improve transparency and accountability, we provided assistance from the US Treasury to Guyana’s revenue authority to help them audit large contracts and improve their human resourcing efforts,” she said.

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Lynch noted that the US assisted Guyana in its quest to become a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Index (EITI), which was accomplished in 2017.

Looking forward, she said the US is encouraging Guyana to join the Egmont group, an international organisation affiliated with the Anti Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) apparatus. It is composed of over 150 Financial Intelligence Units (FIU) and serves as a knowledge-sharing and cooperation platform among member FIUs, exchanging expertise and intel to combat money laundering.

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“To improve standards, we’ve worked on even some people-to-people exchanges like our Fulbright programme, to provide specialists to work to ensure that certain programmes at the University of Guyana are accredited, like their engineering programme,” the Ambassador said. “So, we have the accreditation board for engineering and technology that we’re working with. And a Fulbrighter to help them.”

On the investment front, Lynch spoke of how the US Embassy has worked to highlight opportunities in the Guyana economy, through virtual meetings, trade missions and conferences. As she put it, the US is intent on showing that US companies are valuable in that they bring quality, excellence, and time management on projects for Guyana.

The Ambassador explained that she is “cautiously optimistic” that Guyana will be a success story in developing its oil and gas resources while avoiding the Dutch disease.

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