The World Bank is currently providing Guyana with technical assistance to conduct its second National Risk Assessment (NRA) which commenced this month and will conclude in September 2020.This is being done as Guyana prepares for its fourth round of mutual evaluation by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) in 2023.Attorney General Basil WilliamsConducting the NRA is in keeping with the FATF recommendation – one which requires jurisdictions to carry out risk assessments on a constant basis which will allow for assessments to be current.It will also allow for the identification of any new money laundering or terrorist financing threats and vulnerabilities in Guyana.According to NRA Coordinator, Alicia Williams, the World Bank has recommended a three-phase process be undertaken for the assessment.She was at the time speaking at a Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (ML/TF) National Risk Assessment Seminar last week at the Pegasus Hotel, Kingston, Georgetown.NRA Coordinator Alicia Williams“Some quick facts about this process are [that] the NRA exercise will be owned by us; the World Bank’s role will be limited to that of providing technical assistance. It is a capacity-building exercise and that will enable us to undertake future risk assessments without external support. It aims to include all AML safety stakeholders from public and Private Sector to bring in different perspectives and enhance their cooperation.Clear timetable set at the beginning of the process ensures completion of the NRA within a reasonable timeframe. It will help authorities to identify data and information gaps and to develop a framework for future collection and it is also cost-effective,” Williams explained.Understanding the ML/TF risks is an essential part of developing and implementing a national Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime.She further explained that a risk assessment allows countries to identify, assess and understand their ML/TF risks. Once these risks are properly understood, countries can apply AML/CFT measures that correspond to the level of risk, in other words, The Risk-Based Approach (RBA). The RBA, which is central to the FATF recommendations, enables countries to prioritise their resources and allocate them efficiently.The FATF has developed a guideline which will assist countries in the conduct of risk assessment at the country or national level. The principles described in this guidance are also relevant to more focused risk assessments, for example, of a particular financial sector.Guyana’s first NRA, which was conducted for a 12-month period from 2016 to 2017, revealed that the country’s overall risk was high. This was informed by Guyana’s overall threat which rated high and overall vulnerability which rated medium-high. The threat level for terrorism was rated medium.Attorney General Basil Williams, who was present at the seminar, underscored the importance of Guyana meeting the requirements of the FATF and stressed on the importance of Guyana maintaining its good standing with the FATF and CFATF, especially at such a pivotal point in its history with its new oil wealth.“With our oil regime looming, it’s very important that we ensure we’re not blacklisted because the CFATF and the FATF requirements to protect the international financial economy is brutal and they respect nobody, it’s no respecter of persons. Every country, [even] in Europe …they have to come up for assessment and they have to conform [to] the recommendations of the FATF,” he stated.As Guyana was previously blacklisted in 2015, regulations and laws addressing Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML&CFT) had to be put in place in order for the country to meet international standards and be able to continue international trade and business.The second NRA will be conducted by a working group of 75 persons from over 40 public and Private Sector organisations.