Labour Minister, Stephenson King, has expressed concern about the operation of security companies here, telling reporters that he has spoken to National Security Minister, Hermangild Francis about the issue.
“Security now must be seen as a major concern of this country,” King asserted.
He said Saint Lucia cannot treat the matter lightly.
“We cannot allow our security companies to be operating as they operated in the past. There is legislation but no one seems to follow the legislation,” King explained.
He declared that there was need to regulate security companies and the entry of personnel into security firms so that individuals are not just taken off the streets and employed as security guards.
King said security guards must be certified and go through a level of training “probably equal to that of the police.”
The minister told reporters on Tuesday that when someone hires a security officer, it should be understood that the person who is hired is competent and has been screened.
“We have a number of foreigners who have been engaged by most, if not all of the security companies in the provision of security services,” the Labour Minister observed.
He expressed the view that security officers are the lowest paid.
“So it is a rush to the bottom and each company seems to be undercutting the other. What happens at the end of the day is that the service is not the best, because once an individual gets a better job he moves out of the security service,” King said.
He asserted that if security companies are regulated and security officers certified, more career individuals who will be paid value for money will enter the security system.