Home Safe Security and Domestic Services yesterday signed a $1.6B contract with government for the provision of security services for the coastland Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs), and for which it has been asked to address concerns over frail and disheveled guards at sites.
The company’s General Manager Robert Johnson Jr told Stabroek News that that the contract provides for a handover/takeover system where the current guards at the locations will be employed with him. He promised that the security guards will receive no less than the minimum wage and will be paid be promptly as his invoices and reconciliation statements will be given in to the respective regions on time.
He also promised to abide by the stipulations set down in the contract.
At the signing yesterday at the Local Government Ministry Boardroom, Minister of Local Government Ganga Persaud stressed the importance of security personnel being paid their fair due and emphasised the clause in the contract that speaks to this issue. “There were accusations that guards were being paid all sorts of wages and it was worrisome… these contracts will not allow for such allegations and if they do and if found true we will have to bring closures with the security service,” he said.
“The clause of the contract clearly states that you fail to pay the workers at least minimum wage then the law will deal with you,” he later noted.
Persaud also revealed that when the company was selected, meetings were held with their management team to iron out “shady areas” that had previously generated concerns, such as having feeble and unkempt guards on sites.
The minister said that he hoped that given that the company now has the financial wherewithal, the complaints will be quelled.
Last year’s contract, which will expire next Thursday, was awarded to embattled security service provider Richard Kanhai, who was in August charged for receiving stolen property.
An operation by police earlier in the year had led them to the Queenstown office of Kanhai’s security firm, where several stolen articles, including four laptops and other electronic devices, were found.
Police searched the property after receiving tips from persons that items stolen from a number of villages on the West Coast of Demerara were sold to an official of the company and that some of the items were in storage at the Queenstown office.
When tenders were received and opened in August this year, Kanhai’s security firm had bid much to the dismay of critics, who opined that he should have all court matters pertaining to the theft dismissed before tendering.
Following the fixing of the national minimum wage at $35,000 per month and a five-day work week, RKs Security Services had withdrawn from some government security contracts. Contracts were then retendered to take account of the new working conditions and RKs had submitted a $1.7B bid along with four other companies, including Home Safe, for the new contract.