August 3, 2010
‘Businesses not willing to pay for security’

Just three weeks after condemning the attack on Richland Park businessman, Austin Mounsey, The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CIC)has once again spoken out against robberies, especially those targeted at members of the business community.{{more}}

The latest condemnation is related to the July 23 brazen robbery of the Banfield’s Shell Service Station, Kingstown.

On Wednesday, July 28, Shafia London, Executive Director of the CIC, said the position of her institution remains the same in denouncing the heist, which took place at about 8:20 p.m.(July 23)

Two masked gunmen escaped with an undisclosed sum of money after holding up two of the three attendants on duty at the station.

London indicated that the Chamber is in the process of organizing a meeting with a number of businesses, security service providers and officials from the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force to discuss stepping up security at business places.

She said that the meeting will look at, among other things, the possiblity of having security equipment being imported at a discounted rate.

“We are also looking at seeing where we could have security services at a discounted rate, especially if you are a member of the Chamber, you will fall under a special bracket.”

The issue of security measures at business places has received a lot of attention given the recent incidents, along with previous ones. This has caused some businesses to take steps to deter criminals or to prevent the recurrence.

Burglar bars; closed circuit television (CCTV); the use of guards, patrolling and cash-in-transit services are some of the measures being employed. However, a number of security experts have warned that more businesses need to take precautions, or else the situation will get worse.

When contacted by SEARCHLIGHT, the experts were of the opinion that the main reason for the absence of security at some businesses stems from proprietors not considering security an investment, but rather an expense.

The manager of one security firm warned: “The cost of security is a major factor. They don’t want to pay for the services… but at the end of the day, you may end up losing more… your cash, your investments or worse.”

Another manager indicated that businesses are usually unwilling to pay the minimum for the service of a security guard, or other services that the companies provide, such as armed escorts.

The managers all agree that unless companies that are not presently engaged with security firms take the necessary steps, their chances of becoming victims of bandits will be high, given the current state of society.

“There is a breakdown of morals,” one stated. “People have no respect for property. They are living by stealing and there is an underlying problem of insecurity that people feel in the city.

“We are in desperate times,” another added.

With the exception of one of the security firms questioned, the other companies indicated that there have been an increase in requests for quotations for their security services from business houses; more recently the cash-in-transit service as suggested by Assistant Superintendant of Police, Willisford Caesar, in a previous SEARCHLIGHT publication.

But until the queries transform to actual business, the experts think that more businesses may find themselves in the same position as the recent victims. (JJ)