Impose cess on security firms
THE Editor, Sir:
Lack of money is not Jamaica's national security problem. Violence production rivals any big industry from the state to the world stage. Trading in arms is a big global business. Who believes that the entrepreneurial titans want to quit the lucrative business?
The cadre of private security guards in Jamaica is bigger than the combined army and police force establishment. Jamaicans are deliberately kept hostage to fear of their violent demise and vulnerability to criminals to maintain the growth of the private security industry.
Why has the private security industry been allowed to flourish and develop haphazardly in Jamaica's post-Independence existence? Should it not be a complement to the regular security forces, which it is definitely not! Why was the Private Security Regulation Authority (PRSA) not mandated to ensure that the private companies complement the regular national security forces by ensuring that recruitment, training and deployment of private security guards conform to this imperative?
I propose that the Government impose a cess for the privilege of enjoying private security when the rest of the society depends on the lean resources of the regular law-and-order forces. This should be levied on every private security guard approved by the PRSA, and every firearm issued by the Firearm Licensing Authority to private security companies and private citizens. The proceeds should go to the regular national security budget.
With so many private guards, why is the recruitment priority of the army and police still the increase of their establishment and not just to ensure that levels don't fall below it, because of retirement and normal attrition?
Why does every senior or retiring police and army officer appear to own a security company, become a private security consultant, or end up in a senior pension-supplementing job with a private security company after retiring?
Private security is more of a business than a fortification of the maintenance of law and order in Jamaica. Only the privileged minority can afford the illusion/delusion of extra protection, which even the poorest taxpayers subsidise. That's why I propose the cess!