Kenny Benjamin is the founder of the Guardsman Group of Companies, the region's largest private security conglomerate with more than 7,000 employees spread over Jamaica, Barbados, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
An Indian national by birth, Benjamin, a naturalised Jamaican, has made Kingston his home for the last 40 years. During that time, he has emerged as one of the country's leading business personalities and a social powerhouse, whose love for animals is the basis for the creation of his security empire.
The business that started with a pair of dogs has come full circle as it now includes Hope Zoo, the restoration of which is seen as a civic duty and part and parcel of the beautification of Kingston, with a view of providing a place of entertainment and learning about the environment and our interdependency; Marksman Security; a real estate portfolio of preferred properties, including the historic Sign Great House and Estate in Montego Bay; and the flagship Guardsman, now operating in four Caribbean countries.
Known and celebrated for his elegant soirées and dinner parties, today we share some things we bet you did not know about the business leader and social icon.
- Studied at the University of Technology, then the College of Arts, Science and Technology, became an accountant/auditor before the entrepreneurial bug got him.
- Owned and raced motor-bikes in his youth as well as owned and flew aeroplanes.
- Believes in leading by example and has worked as a security guard to relieve one of his employees and to maintain the security of the client's property when a guard failed to show up for duty due to a family emergency.
- Has a very distinct sense of 'stick-to-it-iveness', and sees all tasks undertaken to a successful conclusion.
- A genuine, loyal and supportive friend, who takes pleasure in the success of his friends and is always ready to extend a helping hand. He genuinely believes once befriended, you are a friend for life.
- An accomplished chef who enjoys cooking for friends and family and special dishes for parties.
- The executive chairman for the Jamaican Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for the last 15 years.
- Is a lay architect, whose pastime is adding his special architectural touch to acquired buildings.
- As a result of his hobby of rearing and training dogs, Guardsman Limited was established 35 years ago, a venture that has expanded into 10 companies, and into three Caribbean countries: St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Barbados.
- Is owner of Reggae Sunsplash and currently exploring plans to relaunch the world's premier reggae music festival.