Janet Silvera and Nagra Plunkett, Senior Gleaner Writers
GraceKennedy Money Services (GKMS), operators of Western Union locally, has declared that a team has already commenced work on a system to address security concerns which have led Western Union International to shut down its 14 locations in Montego Bay, St James.
"Compliance is something we are strong on and we are currently reviewing the system," said Patria Aarons, GKMS's sponsorship and communication manager, who stressed her company was not pressured by the international body.
Her comments came in the wake of the instructions by Western Union International to close the 14 stores in the Second City until they implemented security measures capable of combating the multibillion-dollar lottery-scamming industry.
The stores will remain closed for a minimum of two weeks, said the order.
Acknowledging that several customers were inconvenienced by the sudden closure, Aarons said additional resources were deployed to the neighbouring parishes of Trelawny and Hanover to make the transition easier.
Aarons said she did not believe the closure would go over the intended two weeks.
CHAOS AT OUTLETS
In the meantime, there was chaos in both Hopewell, Hanover, and Falmouth, Trelawny, as customers stood in long lines, cursing both the lottery scammers, who have been blamed for the closure, and Western Union International.
Yesterday, Davon Crump, president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, threw his support behind the actions of the remittance conglomerate.
"Western Union is actually making a very big statement because, I am sure, this will also impact them financially," Crump told The Gleaner.
"But I think the inconvenience to the citizens … pales in comparison to the damage that scamming is doing to the City of Montego Bay."