DPI Guyana, Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Members of private security organisations were today recognised for their sterling contributions to the security sector in Guyana, whilst being assured that the Ministry of Social Protection has their interest at heart.
The event was arranged by the Guyana Association of Private Security Organisations.
In his remarks, President of the Guyana Association of Private Security Organisations (GAPSO), Christopher Thompson, addressed the many issues affecting security guards. He opined that the public can help boost the morale of security personnel by referring to them as Security officers rather than ‘Watchmen’ or ‘Guards.’
He also spoke of the opportunities within the private security sector in terms of a career and opportunities for upward mobility.
In highlighting some challenges, Thompson said “There are those who have died executing their duties as security officers, there are those who sacrifice time and energy to go out and risk their lives, there are those who expose themselves to victimization, sexual harassment, receiving minimal earnings…those who leave their children not properly attended to”.
He maintained that there needs to be regulated and standardised training which will lead to improved performance, and in the near the future, security officers should be licensed at various grades before being employed in the industry.
Meanwhile, several active members of the security industry gave testimonies of the challenges and accomplishments they have experienced while serving in a profession that is looked down upon.
“I approach my job with the kind of seriousness that such a job demands and I am reliable dependable and disciplined”, said Rhonda Daymon of Integrated Security Services.
Orindel Walters urged experienced Security Officers to teach their younger counterparts the aspects of security and how to deal with the public. “Members of the public sometimes want to beat me for carrying out my instructions and doing what is required…but all these things is part of life.”
Nigerian national Francis Nwaneri, who came to Guyana and made a career working in the security sector, also could not fathom why persons were ashamed to be security guards. “My friends tell me ‘don’t take your uniform with you where you are going …put it in a bag”, he recalled.
Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection with responsibility for Labour, Keith Scott, during his feature address spoke of the importance of reward and appreciation for these officers.
“It’s being able to understand everyday your life is on the line…being able to understand that the Ministry of Social Protection is conscious of what you have to go through and that is why when the guard was killed in Sophia immediately my ministry insisted that that death was an industrial death and we did our investigations and I can tell you that whatever happens to you that the Ministry of Social Protection will forever be there watching your back”, he said.
Trade Unionist Lincoln Lewis noted the importance of fully engaging members when making policies rather than merely consulting with them.
The Guyana Association of Private Security Organisations was established in 1996 and is the umbrella body for 45 security firms serving approximately 2000 persons. The organisation provides training and other opportunities for those under its purview.
By: Natasha Smith