Over the last twenty years or so the security industry has grown exponentially and this phenomenon is also reflected throughout Antigua & Barbuda.
The industry of security encompasses personal protection, surveillance, protection of property, payroll night deposits and collection services, as well as many other services.
Unfortunately, the powers that be lacked the foresight to ensure that this phenomenon of growth was monitored and regulated, resulting in the status quo of ill-equipped, unskilled and untrained security personnel flooding the industry, not to mention those of ill-repute and a checkered criminal history.
Indubitably, this has been extremely detrimental to our society particularly in light of the fact that the most equipped of our national workforce, snub their noses at the prospect of working as a “lowly” security guard, thus leaving the opportunity for honest work to those individuals of ill-repute and questionable commitment.
While I do not wish to wax nostalgic, I was recently reminded of eras past where honest labourers at the English Harbour docks worked from sun up to sun down for the remuneration of a few shots of rum.
In our fast paced and spiralling economy, and in an instant gratification era, there are precious few who are attracted to honest work for honest remuneration.
It is true that the present administration with Dr Errol Cort at the helm has moved to regulate this industry, but is this action now being taken ten years after the proverbial horse has left the stable?
Another train of thought is that this industry is negatively impacting teenaged students.
I recall a young man who recently concluded his high school academia and for whom I provided glowing recommendations to many educational and work institutions.
While his aspirations were limitless, he hid behind a building in self-disdain upon a chance meeting between us a few years after he had left school.
The reason for his chagrin, as I perceived it, was that he was a security guard. I was left wondering if his embarrassment would be as acute had he been employed as a police officer for instance, both occupations providing to a great extent, much of the same service.
Does employment as a security guard uplift or depress the morality of our young people? Shouldn’t security guards be held to a higher standard?
Is it too much to ask that they be literate, of good moral fibre, and an uncheckered past? Should they not bring more to the table than obesity and a good impersonation of a narcoleptic?