Guardsman to enter two more Caribbean islands by year end
JAMAICA’S LARGEST security conglomerate, the Guardsman Group of Companies, is in expansion mode as it seeks to regain and grow market share amid the economic fallout triggered by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Managing director of the Guardsman Group, Vinay Walia, says the security firm is now finalising plans for its expansion into two additional Caribbean islands. He says Guardsman will be announcing the two additional Caribbean islands before the end of this year.
The Guardsman Group boss says the footprint of the 40-year-old security firm is already in five Caribbean islands outside of Jamaica, and it is continuously looking to enter more islands.
Currently, Guardsman’s Caribbean operations are sited in St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, Barbados, The Bahamas and Bermuda.
Walia says the scope of Guardsman’s security services in the Caribbean currently ranges from “guarding to cash management to electronics to investigations and whatever else the client asks us to do”.
He says the Guardsman Group, mainly through its security arm, is seeking to increase its footprint in the region by capitalising on new business opportunities in those Caribbean islands where it has found demand for its expertise.
“We moved our operations outside of Jamaica
[and] we are still looking for expansion so this year, we are hoping to add two other islands, and now because of COVID, we may even move it forward by a quarter in terms of implementation,” Walia said.
“In some countries, we started with [offering] cash management solutions, and in other countries we started with guarding but was asked to introduce the cash management solution, but typically now all islands with the exception of The Bahamas, which doesn’t allow us to offer guarding solutions because it’s restricted to locals, we are comprehensive – from guarding to cash management to electronics and investigations,” he added.
Walia says Guardsman’s expansion into the Caribbean market is driven by its outstanding track record and advanced expertise in the security business in Jamaica. “How the pan-Caribbean dream came about is that the financial institutions [in other Caribbean islands] asked us if we could replicate what we have in Jamaica for them. In some of the islands we were forced to go because they just wanted us there,” he explained.
With an ever-expanding security operation, the managing director says the Guardsman Group depends a lot on the use of technology to manage and fulfil the needs of its security outfits across the Caribbean. “Thinking about our pan-Caribbean footprint, we were forced to look at technology as a partner to come up with solutions that are flexible to meet not only the needs in Jamaica but every Caribbean island [whose needs] are peculiar,” Walia explained. And for those islands where there is need for additional expertise, the Guardsman Group boss said: “We fly people out of Jamaica to go and fulfil their needs.”