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There is a new unconstitutional imposition on Guyanese applying for insurance – PPP

… Applicants are being called on to declare their political affiliation
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is calling on the Government to take action and to reverse a retrograde move, whereby Guyanese applying for insurance are being called upon to declare their political affiliation.

The PPP, in a statement said, “The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has noted a new, unconstitutional, imposition on Guyanese applying for insurance. It has been brought to the party’s attention that applicants are now called on to declare their political affiliation. The Party calls on the Coalition Government to take action to reverse this retrograde move.

The PPP has recently been shown “Customer Verification Form- Individual” given to applicants by several insurance companies where they were asked to “please indicate any affiliation with Government/Military/state officials (including political party)”. The forms make no reference to any law or regulation that requires this information.”

Notably, “Recommendation 12 of FATF and the 2015 AMLCFT Amendment Act and regulations with regard to “Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs)” states the following:

“A politically exposed person (PEP) is defined by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as an individual who is or has been entrusted with a prominent public function. Due to their position and influence, it is recognised that many PEPs are in positions that potentially can be abused for the purpose of committing money laundering (ML) offences and related predicate offences, including corruption and bribery, as well as conducting activity related to terrorist financing (TF). These requirements are preventive (not criminal) in nature, and should not be interpreted as stigmatising PEPs as such being involved in criminal activity. Refusing a business relationship with a PEP simply based on the determination that the client is a PEP is contrary to the letter and spirit of Recommendation 12.””

Below is the full statement from the PPP:
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has noted a new, unconstitutional, imposition on Guyanese applying for insurance. It has been brought to the party’s attention that applicants are now called on to declare their political affiliation. The Party calls on the Coalition Government to take action to reverse this retrograde move.

The PPP has recently been shown “Customer Verification Form- Individual” given to applicants by several insurance companies where they were asked to “please indicate any affiliation with Government/Military/state officials (including political party)”. The forms make no reference to any law or regulation that requires this information.

Some applicants have been told by staff of these companies, that is a requirement under the AML/CFT regime for the purpose of state monitoring.

Recommendation 12 of FATF and the 2015 AMLCFT Amendment Act and regulations with regard to “Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs)” states the following: “A politically exposed person (PEP) is defined by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as an individual who is or has been entrusted with a prominent public function. Due to their position and influence, it is recognised that many PEPs are in positions that potentially can be abused for the purpose of committing money laundering (ML) offences and related predicate offences, including corruption and bribery, as well as conducting activity related to terrorist financing (TF). These requirements are preventive (not criminal) in nature, and should not be interpreted as stigmatising PEPs as such being involved in criminal activity. Refusing a business relationship with a PEP simply based on the determination that the client is a PEP is contrary to the letter and spirit of Recommendation 12.”

The PPP notes that this definition does not refer to nor require any citizen to state their political party affiliation.

The PPP is unaware of any law, passed in the National Assembly, which authorizes reporting agencies to engage in the collection of such information. In fact, any such law, were it to exist, would be in violation of Article 149 (1) (a) of the Guyana Constitution which unambiguously states that: “No law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.”, and any such law would therefore be null and void. Furthermore, Article 149 (2) specifically protects all Guyanese citizens from discrimination on many grounds, including “political opinion, …conscience, belief.” Article 147 also guarantees citizens’ right to freedom of association, the right to belong and form political parties. Therefore, any request for one’s political affiliation would be in violation of these Articles of the Constitution.

In addition, S18 of the 1998 Prevention of Discrimination Act, which specifically addresses ‘Application forms, etc.’, states that it is unlawful for a person to request or require any other person to provide information relative to their political opinions.

As such, the PPP calls on the Government, and related entities, to disclose if this is a new policy, and, under what statute has this been implemented, and why has there been no public announcement on this new requirement.

Below are two application forms from various insurance companies:

 

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