Wed | Sep 30, 2020

Security guards may be used to enforce COVID rules, says Chang

Published:Saturday | August 15, 2020 | 12:07 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer


The Government might engage security guards to help enforce Jamaica’s COVID-19 health regulations because of persistent breaches, National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang has said.

“There are still too many individuals who have the common expression, ‘Jamaica beat COVID,’ but we have to encourage the society to recognise that the pandemic still poses a major risk,” said Chang, while addressing Friday’s official opening of the Private Security Regulation Authority’s (PSRA) western regional office in Montego Bay.

Chang said that the ministry would be seeking to expand the roles of security guards to cover the role of constables in policing the wearing masks and the maintaining of social distancing in public spaces.

The national security minister hailed the work of the private security sector in maintaining public order and, by extension, supporting Jamaica’s economic growth trajectory.

The PSRA’s newly opened western office will be used to register security personnel and companies and provide access to training, as well as monitor performance and compliance with the organisation’s regulations.

Approximately 24,000 private security personnel islandwide have been registered with the PSRA as of December 2019.

During Friday’s launch, PSRA Executive Director Rick Harris said that the entity will be taking steps to increase its accessibility to stakeholders, including through the improvement of its electronic database.

“The PSRA is improving its electronic database of information on private security personnel and companies. This will allow for greater transparency and additional protection for our clients, companies, and valued security personnel,” said Harris.

“We are finalising the launch of an online application for the renewal of individual PSRA licences, which would help to improve our service delivery time.”