Private security bodies seek legal support

by Sharon Lall
Guyana Chronicle
January 26, 2000

THE Guyana Association of Private Security Organisations (GAPSO) yesterday lobbied for speedy enactment of legislation to assist it becoming a better organised and monitored security body.

The organisation has undertaken to investigate a few new security services which are not legitimately known to the security industry.

President of GAPSO, Mr Maurice Amres, delivering the organisation's annual report for the year ending December 1999, said two firms, in particular, were found to be demonstrating a "haphazard approach" to service, with no proper office or administrative facilities.

"...One even has a branch in New Amsterdam," he told members at the Georgetown Club at the third annual luncheon of GAPSO. He added that neither of these security firms is registered as a business entity with the Registry.

"To all intents and purposes, they don't really exist except for those persons they may offer their services to," the GAPSO Head said.

On the proper storage and distribution of arms and ammunition, Amres said GAPSO must acknowledge its responsibility to "investigate and assess as much as possible the background and attitude, generally, of those selected to bear arms even in a supervisory capacity".

The shooting incident at Buxton involving a senior supervisor of one of GAPSOs member companies serves to highlight the fact that any organisation or disciplinary service that issues weapons to individuals, takes a risk of the weapon "being used indiscriminately" he noted.

As a result of that incident, the Police Commissioner Laurie Lewis had informed GAPSO members to advise him of any senior personnel, who is entrusted with a company's firearm on a 24-hour basis and, first seek his approval before issuing weapons.

Amres said GAPSO will continue to be dedicated to developing closer ties with all law enforcement agencies, especially the Guyana Police Force.

He lauded the Police Commissioner, who was present, for being helpful in attracting new members into GAPSO's fold.

Amres said the security body was preoccupied for six months last year with preparations to amend a version of the Private Security Services Bill (1989).

Draft copies of the 1999 Amended Bill was submitted in July, last year, to the Police Commissioner, the Minister of Home Affairs, the Attorney General and all 16 GAPSO members. A response on the 1999 Amended Bill is yet to be had from the relevant authorities.

According to Amres, Jamaica and Trinidad have already implemented similar bills designed to monitor and control the development of the private security industry.

He added that GAPSO, from its inception, has demonstrated "tangible support" for the Guyana Police Force.

At its first annual luncheon, GAPSO handed over a cheque for $80,000 to the Police Commissioner. Last year, a cheque for $115,000 subscribed to by GUYOIL Security, GEB Security, RKs Security, COPS Security and Professional Guard Services, was handed over for those Police Officers who were outstanding during the course of duty.

This year, GAPSO, at the personal request of the Police Commissioner, has imported a quantity of traffic aids which comprise 48 Maglite traffic wands, torchlight accessories, 12 safety Triangle kits and 48 luminous vests all worth $191,772.

These items are already in the country and will soon be handed over soon to the Police Traffic Division.

"It must now be obvious to all members, potential members, the (Police) Commissioner and the Government, that this is the only way forward for the private security industry. We must work together with those in authority," Amres said.

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