FIU strengthened through assistance from the US

Remarks by Hon Winston Jordan

Minister of Finance

Ambassador Perry Holloway, Other invitees:

On behalf of the Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, I am pleased to accept this generous financial assistance from the United States Government, to support the work of the Financial Intelligence Unit and further strengthen Guyana’s Anti money Laundering regime.

The scale of money laundering and terrorist financing has risen globally, resulting in increased prudential, macroeconomic and national security risks in countries where these illicit activities are prevalent. Here, in Guyana, the recently concluded money laundering/terrorist financing national risk assessment has identified a number of core sectors that pose severe money laundering and terrorist financing risks to the country. The National Risk- based Action Plan, which emanated from the findings of the National Risk Assessment, will guide policymakers in their attempts to implement combating measures, commensurate with the level of risk identified.

There is no doubt that the employment of advanced technology has aided in the detection of money laundering activities, thus allowing prosecutorial and countervailing measures to be implemented. However, money launderers are becoming more sophisticated, which places ever increasing demands on the authorities to deploy new and appropriate techniques to enhance the country’s ability to detect and prevent these illicit activities.

The Government is also aware of the need for improved data collection and management from an array of pertinent sources, and better and incisive data analysis to effectively monitor and identify “red flag” and suspicious transactions that warrant deeper investigation.

Accordingly, the Government’s acquisition of the globally recognized IBase Software, which was developed by IBM, will allow the Financial Intelligence Unit to more easily map and import data and information, from both structured and unstructured sources, into the centralized repository. Also, it would help to hasten the pace at which data and information are analyzed, connections are found, and actionable results are generated. At the same time, it would facilitate comprehensive searches for intelligence in records; run complex queries on data; and offer security-rich data access capabilities that will improve data security, integrity and access.

In recognition of the critical role the Financial Intelligence Unit will play in the fight against money laundering, and the value of this software to support its work, the United States Government has offered to cover the cost of the initial training and support services required from IBM, to the tune of US$150,000. This timely assistance is not only an indication of Guyana’s inability to meet such costs, but it also underscores the value of meaningful partnerships in our collective fight to rid our countries of contaminated activities and transactions. Already, Guyana is suffering the effects of de-risking by several US-based banks. We are, therefore, comforted by gestures such as this.

In closing, I wish to reiterate our Government’s gratitude to the United States Government and Ambassador Perry Holloway for their continued support and generosity to Guyana. We know that this tool will go a far way in enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the Financial Intelligence Unit and improve its level of readiness for the ongoing fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

Thank you.