Re-think­ing and Re-imag­ing Se­cu­rity Guard Ser­vices in Saint Lu­cia

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Martin Carasco

In a re­cent news broad­cast Cas­tries North MP Stephen­son King re­it­er­ated what is com­mon knowl­edge to all who are served by the sec­tor: se­cu­rity guard ser­vices are not up to proper stan­dards and there is a strong need for proper training and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. He stopped short of sug­gest­ing that govern­ment should im­pose leg­is­la­tion and con­trols and I sus­pect that he was hint­ing to the pro­fes­sion­als in the in­dus­try that it was time to clean up their act.

The pub­lic per­cep­tion of the role of se­cu­rity guards may be at the heart of the mis­con­cep­tions about the sec­tor, not to men­tion the no­to­ri­ously low hourly pay scale. In most cases about four dol­lars and seventy five cents per hour only aug­mented by twelve hour shifts and over­time/hol­i­day pay.

Se­cu­rity guards, gate­keep­ers, and other loss pre­ven­tion pro­fes­sion­als are called upon to en­force var­i­ous laws as part of an over­all cor­po­rate risk man­age­ment pol­icy but be­fore at­tempt­ing to en­force or in­voke the pro­vi­sion of any law, each prospec­tive se­cu­rity pro­fes­sional must be ed­u­cated as to the laws of our coun­try, town and village coun­cil and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in gen­eral. It is nec­es­sary to form an over­view of these laws and their in­ter­re­la­tions and hi­er­ar­chy.

Only af­ter gain­ing such an over­view can a per­son ex­pect to come to un­der­stand each pro­fes­sional’s role, author­ity and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. No one can legally en­force any law if they are not duly au­tho­rized to do so. Like­wise, a se­cu­rity pro­fes­sional can­not ab­di­cate his or her re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in sit­u­a­tions where they are morally, eth­i­cally or legally ob­li­gated or re­quired to act.

For to­day’s se­cu­rity per­son­nel, be­ing clear on these is­sues is not just nice to know; it is our moral, eth­i­cal and le­gal re­spon­si­bil­ity. In light of the fore­go­ing, one could ask why training for se­cu­rity guards is not on the cur­ricu­lum of the Na­tional Skills Devel­op­ment Cen­tre. As it turns out, the NSDC, which pro­motes CARICOM stan­dards for Caribbean Vocational Qual­i­fi­ca­tions, is in the process of launch­ing a mul­ti­stage In­dus­trial Se­cu­rity Op­er­a­tion pro­gramme which will fill some of the void that ex­ists in the field of pro­fes­sional se­cu­rity training in Saint Lu­cia. Caveat, the tar­get group for training is un­em­ployed youth from Den­nery go­ing south to Vieux Fort and the num­bers are se­verely re­stricted. Why the al­most non-ex­is­tent pub­lic­ity? Well . . .

What more needs to be done to get se­cu­rity guard ser­vices up to proper stan­dards in Saint Lu­cia?

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