John Azar | We're not all slave masters
I write in relation to the letter, written by a former security guard who requested anonymity, published in your edition of September 9, 2018, captioned 'Security companies are modern-day slave masters'.
While it might come as a surprise to many, I actually concur with most of the sentiments expressed in the letter, as the writer consistently speaks of abuses meted out by SOME companies to include the following: inability to get salaries on time; not receiving a salary while on probation; working up to three months before being eligible for pay; payment below government-mandated minimum wage; untrained personnel being sent into the field; unregistered companies with no known offices; companies not paying government statutory taxes, etc.
Companies that operate as outlined in the letter, and as summarised by me above, erode the standard of the private security industry in Jamaica and operate at prices that companies who are compliant find it impossible to compete against for obvious reasons.
I echo the writer's call that such companies ought to be properly regulated and forced to operate within the Private Security Regulatory Authority guidelines, as doing so will ensure a level playing field within the industry and simultaneously safeguard the rights of consumers.
My issue, therefore, is not with the writer of the letter for the sentiments expressed, but more so with your newspaper in using a misleading headline that implies that ALL security companies operate equally when the writer himself/herself stresses that not to be the case.
In fact, the writer goes further by encouraging customers to do their own research in ensuring that they are utilising a "reputable, licensed" company that utilises "well-trained guards and dogs" which, in itself, makes clear that he or she appreciates that all companies are not guilty of the inhumane breaches described, which ultimately culminate in the description used of "modern-day slavery".
For the Gleaner headline to imply that all security companies are guilty of the breaches outlined - when the writer of the letter repeatedly makes clear otherwise - is irresponsible and does a disservice to the companies in the Industry who pride themselves on operating within the law and for the betterment of civil society.
Speaking specifically for KingAlarm, I can say that not one of the breaches described above is applicable to us. Companies like ours are owed an apology by your newspaper for your misleading and irresponsible headline, but I will not hold my breath for same.
- John P. Azar is managing director of KingAlarm. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
(EDITOR'S NOTE: The Gleaner stands by the referenced commentary which, neither in its body nor headline, intended to suggest that ALL security companies are modern-day slave masters.)