Several private security firms underpaying guards; hiring persons from night shelter- Labour Minister

Last Updated on Thursday, 24 August 2017, 16:16 by Denis Chabrol

Junior Minister of Social Protection, Keith Scott.

The Ministry of Social Protection is warning Private Security Companies to obey labour laws or face penalties.

Keith Scott, Minister of Social Protection, with responsibility for Labour, issued the call Thursday morning at a seminar for private security services providers, at his Brickdam, Georgetown office.

The Minister urged Private Security Companies which are not functioning in their employees’ best interest, to obey laws and regulations in relation to the Minimum Wage Act.

“We at the Ministry of Social Protection are inclined to believe, that while other National States have made much progress, Guyana is at a virtual standstill, if not in a state of regression, in respect of the subject under focus. Such a situation must be reversed if we are to approach our mandate of national development with the seriousness it deserves.” Scott was quoted by government’s Department of Public Information (DPI) as saying.

In spite of the National Minimum Wage Order, the minister revealed there are still companies breaching the labour laws.

“Since 2013 the National Minimum Wage Order established a 40-hour work week with those hours to be distributed over five days but there are some employers inclusive of Service Providers who have adopted a six-day work week encompassing more than 40 hours and still refuse to pay the overtime rates. I don’t believe that I have to tell you that such practices are prohibited and must cease forthwith,” Minister Scott said.

Deonarine Ramsaroop, Personal Assistant to the Minister of Public Security stressed the importance of the Private Security Services in Guyana.

Private Security in Guyana is very important…I have learnt recently that equal to the police force we have approximately 8,000 employees within the Private Security Sector. It is an enormous number and it is solely important to our country.”

Notwithstanding the importance of the private security services the Minister pointed that his Ministry is in receipt of reports revealing that Security Service Providers are employing persons who are negligent and unsuitable to enter into legally binding contracts.

“We mean no disrespect to anyone, but it is a shame that we are in receipt of reports that there are some Service Providers who have a proclivity for employing individuals who fit the description of a derelict citizen. It is more than just reports, we are in a position to tell you it directly, because they come to our Night Shelter and recruit people,” Scott explained

The half day event also featured presentations on private security services within the realms of national development; the role of the security services in safety and the economy; the impact of security services on single mothers and the elderly, also the social impact of the security services on men, among others.