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Chris Ram warns of transaction delays As Guyana begins to assess the likely impact from the region over a failure to pass critical anti-money laundering legislations, a leading auditor has warned against alarm and panic.Christopher Ram“We do not anticipate that countries will stop doing business with Guyana. We believe, however, that there will be consequences for businesses and individuals alike as other countries review the framework within which transactions are carried on with Guyana,” said Christopher Ram, a partner in Ram and McRae.Ram, also a business analyst,Wholesale NBA Jerseys, believes that the most significant impact will be on time sensitive transactions as more questions are raised about the source and destination of funds and the purpose and validity of transactions which could ultimately translate into increased costs and possibly lost business opportunities.Businesses and persons with overseas deals must now expect delays in the processing of both inbound and outbound transactions. He called for proper records keeping.“We further recommend that an additional period of one week be allowed for any enquiries and investigations. In particular, businesses and individuals must maintain adequate records and a reliable paper trail of their transactions.”The auditor also called on the country’s political leaders, both inside and outside of the National Assembly, to address the money-laundering and related systemic issues that continue to undermine the integrity of Guyana’s financial system, fair trading and public trust and international confidence.Ram explained that the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), an organisation of states and territories of the Caribbean Basin established in 1990 to implement common counter-measures against money laundering, has identified the legislative and other measures taken by Guyana to deal with money laundering and the financing of terrorism as deficient.The finding was announced by the CFATF at its just concluded biannual meeting held in The Bahamas.President Donald RamotarThe regional body, noting that it told the Bharrat Jagdeo administration since November 2011 of the measures that Guyana needs to implement, called on its 29 members across the Caribbean Basin to consider counter measures to protect their financial systems from the ongoing money laundering and terrorist financing risks emanating from Guyana.The action comes after persistent attempts dating back to November 2011 to persuade the Government to address the several deficiencies in its anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regime.Ram argued that while CFATF has no powers to impose direct sanctions, it is expected that cross-border financial transactions will be affected in varying degrees as other countries take defensive measures to prevent their own systems from becoming infected by transactions with Guyana.While the 29 members of the CFATF are all Caribbean countries, the organisation itself is a member of the international body, Financial Action Task Force (on Money Laundering) (FATF), an initiative of the Finance Ministers of seven developed nations: the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan. FATF now comprises 34-member jurisdictions and two regional organisations including the CFATF.Ram believed that all the countries coming under the FATF umbrella would carefully consider financial transactions with Guyana.“We do, however, caution against alarm and panic. Prior to the Bahamas meeting, sentiment seemed in favour of blacklisting Guyana which would result in dire and catastrophic consequences. The language from the meeting was more measured and fell far short of the predictions.”Earlier this year, Government tabled the required law changes but the Opposition sent it to be studied by Parliamentarians in a special select committee. However, after multiple delays and the approaching November deadline, Government in the absence of the Opposition sent it back to the National Assembly where it was promptly voted down.Former President Bharrat JagdeoGuyana, this week sent a team, led by Attorney General Anil Nandlall, to The Bahamas to report to CFATF on the steps it had taken to implement measures to fight money laundering.While it was widely expected that CFATF to say that Guyana has been blacklisted, a statement from the body shied away from the use of the word. Government, however, has insisted that it has been blacklisted.Guyana will be reviewed in May next year to determine whether it has taken steps to address the deficiencies.While there have been many warnings of the impact, there is still confusion on what is likely to play out in the coming days.Already, some businesses have been reporting of their monies being held up with questions being asked by overseas banks. There have also been unconfirmed reports of difficulties with online shopping using credit cards locally issued.What is confirmed is that Citibank, one of the US largest financial institutions, has severed ties. This was confirmed by President Donald Ramotar.Under regulations that CFATF wants, banks, cambios, money transfers, casinos, pawnbrokers, insurance companies and a host of other agencies have to report large cash and suspicious transactions.The intention is to make it more difficult for monies gained through illegal means being washed in the system.
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