I wish to concur with the honourable Commissioner of Police Mr. Clifton Hicken, who has warned security services to desist from the unnecessary use of high-powered AR rifles and submachine guns etc.
The private security industry in Guyana has been at its best, with respect, honour, dignity and service for a long time. It has always been an important component of the Guyana Police Force, as auxiliary support in crime-fighting and law enforcement.
The undersigned has been in the private security industry for 42 years, and I have employed tens upon tens of thousands of persons. Some of the finest security personnel, some of the most disciplined and articulate ones, many of whom have returned to the Creator. I will always be grateful to them.
Today, the security industry seems to be one in which many enter for their convenience and as a part of what they think is a “get rich quick syndrome or scheme.” Many are registering security services after other names of businesses, and even independently, merely for the factor of acquiring guns. They say it’s too hard to go through the normal system. Some guns are scary and unnecessary.
I’ve seen auto sales and security services, I’ve seen retail wholesale halaal and security services, and I’ve seen pawnbrokers and security services. Very soon we may have toilet rentals and security, latrine makers and security, cosmetics and security, Cinderella and security, tamarind-ball and security etc.
My point, dear Editor, ladies and gentlemen, is that a lot of people are adding security companies to their various businesses because they want guns for their families and friends. Some of them are involved in renting weapons to neighbours, corporate owners, and business people whom they process as SCs. And one wonders who else!
I know one person who says he has several guns, his mother-in-law has a gun, his wife has a gun, his maid has a gun, and all his neighbours have guns. They all make it seem as if security services in Guyana have gone gun mad with madness! It seems people can use all kinds of games to acquire firearms by registering a security business.
It rocks my heart at times when I suddenly see an announcement of a new security service. Their personnel have heavy-duty firing power around their necks. I sometimes have to wonder, after 42 years in the security industry, we are trying to upgrade or get approval for 2 or 3 upper-level firearms as we are a responsible company and we do not use firearms to show off nor play big or bad. But these new boys on the block instantly seem to have their personnel processed, and weapons galore as soon as they get their licence.
Many long-term security services are asking the same questions, as well as the citizens of Guyana. They usually get the high-powered weapons instantaneously, it seems, and it makes us feel as if we are providing service in places like Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Palestine and Israel. Weapons that make us look horrible, and as if our state is a war zone or a narco-state, which is not the case!
I have had many visitors in Guyana, and they have expressed shock to see these kinds of firepower and security outfits, as if we are legal mercenaries for some countries, and are being used to support the militant campaigns of some powerful nations in places like Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq etc. It is shocking to know that one of the most equipped in the country was recently formed, and has such firepower and such reach with only one business.
People are beginning to say that some of these businesses are merely fronts for other businesses, and are using legal weapons for possibly illegal businesses. This is the opinion and view of many educated and simple Guyanese.
We have, in Guyana, a stable Government! We have a well-trained Police Force that no one can defeat in a major altercation! These overnight security services are carrying more firepower than our Police Force. This is scary. My specialist friend in security, Mr. Robert Gates, has been talking about the possibility of these kinds of personalities coming together, rivaling the Police and our Defence Force in an attempt to create mayhem and destruction in Guyana, especially those with ulterior motives in Guyana and possibly anti-Government.
We saw one operator of a security company — before the elections, during the count and recount in 2015, and even in 2020 — threatening this Government when they were in Opposition in pre-2020. He, the head, put up advertisements that ex-GDF, military, and Police personnel were warning the then Opposition which was the PPP/C and the Government now, of major activity against them, yet still this company is being awarded security contracts and has firearms.
Travelling to Berbice a few days ago during Ramadan, I was shocked to see a communication tower with a lone security guard and an AR rifle hanging on his neck, coming down his belly, over his reproductive part while eating. He could have easily been disarmed with a piece of stick, a baton, a punch to the face, or a spit in the eye.
It must be noted that some security services pop up with strange names, and some are being awarded major Government security contracts without having any experience, expertise or security specialisation. These businesses lack the ability to procure security personnel, and lack offices in different districts for which they are being awarded. After being awarded the contract, they even lack the ability to start the contract on time, even with the Ministry giving them as much as an additional two weeks.
We have had to suffer and wait those two weeks to assist the security service, because it is our Government’s properties and staff that were involved. But they were awarded the contract just because they tendered below cost.
With this below-cost tendering, I say this to the Government of Guyana: ‘watch out for Income Tax, VAT, PAYE, and definitely National Insurance Scheme being cheated’. It is the normal corollary of thefts. It is unfortunate that the law-abiding agencies with the skills, abilities, and talents, and those that cannot charge below cost will have to suffer the consequences of those bent on deceit and dishonour. So GRA and NIS, watch out for lower Income Tax and NIS funds into your schemes.
We have seen one security service that stole NIS, GRA monies and VAT. And made arrangements to pay, but never did to any of these agencies. They declared bankruptcy, changed their name, and with the same uniform, at the same offices, they continued into business with the major Government contracts during the APNU era going their way. And they continued the same criminality, such as stealing the NIS, VAT etc…
A union was given the contract guarantee for 7 years, and it stole billions in NIS, GRA, and PAYE taxes, and never paid corporate taxes. Then they went belly up. NIS suffered, GRA suffered, and the legal companies suffered to make up for the shortfall of the dishonesty.
I tried to cover three important areas with some emphasis on what is happening in Guyana. The Cabinet, the Ministries and the Government must pay serious attention to the award of security contracts, and other contracts that are important to the development of Guyana; for example: seawalls, roads, kokers and housing. Do not leave it up to NPTAB only. They need to find a method to eliminate those bent on dishonesty and desperation.
I highlight these things with the hope that it will draw the attention of those in power.
Dr. Roshan Khan Snr