As the Guyana Police Force continues to battle instances of crime across the country, many of which are being commissioned in the city and with the use of firearms, dishonest security companies seem to be indirectly contributing to these crimes by providing criminals with weapons.
On Thursday, 32-year-old John Blaire of Lot, 48 Melanie Damishana, East Coast Demerara pleaded guilty to robbery under arms and was sentenced to four years and six months in jail. Blaire on Sunday robbed 29-Year-old Joel Prince and his girlfriend, Otisceia Innis of a car and a quantity of jewelry, as they were out together.
During the course of that investigation the police picked up Blaire and at the time he was arrested, was in possession of a firearm and ammunition without being the holder of a license to carry the same.
But it was the intense questioning of Blair by the police that saw him admitting that the gun he used in the robbery was a gun that he stole from a security guard during a robbery at Coldigen almost a month ago as the guard was performing duties at a Chinese supermarket.
That supermarket was being secured by OPSEC Security Service. However, at the time, that supermarket was robbed by Blair and others, the security company did not inform detectives that a gun was taken from their security.
The police never received that information from the Chinese owner, the security guard nor the security company and the reason that information was withheld from the police was that the security company issued a gun to an untrained guard who was also not the holder of a precept to carry arms and ammunition on behalf of the company.
This development exposes the dangerous, criminal and dishonest practice of OPSEC Security Firm and its management and speaks to a clear breach of the conditions which govern the issuance of a security service license.
Contacted on Wednesday and again today, Thursday, a manager of the company whose name was given as Gonsalves, sought to defend the issuance of a gun to unauthorized personnel. He also suggested that after the robbery at the supermarket, the police sent the security guard to obtain a medical, and after that, no further contact was made with the security guard and company.
When this publication put to the security manager that the security service licenses guidelines dictate that the onus is on the company to inform the police that ta weapon is misplaced, Mr. Gonsalves continues with any logical defense.
He also could not say that why after almost a month, his security company did not inform the police that a gun was taken from one of its security during the process of a robbery.
In April on this year the police seized a weapon from a security guard of the same company who was performing guard duties with the use of a gun at another Chinese supermarket although he was not the holder of a precept.
In that instance, police ranks who were in the area performing duties, observed that the manner in the young man was holding a weapon was not consistent with the firearm training that he ought to have received.
When the man was asked to present his precept, he could not produce one and checks found that he was not the holder of a precept to begin with. The weapon was taken away, he was arrested and a file was sent to the Director of Public prosecution for advice.
When this publication questioned Mr. Gonsalves about this incident, he said that the security guard was ”just given the gun to hold by a supervisor who was in the washroom”
The police, however, based on our information found that no supervisor was present at the location at the time the man was found with the weapon by the police.
Gonsalves was asked if the so-called supervisor was still in the employ of the company and he responded in the positive.
Gonsalves in explaining the retention of the supervisor said if they sent the supervisor home for making a mistake, it means they will have to pay to train another supervisor and wait another six weeks for him to have a precept.
Gonsalves paid no attention to the fact that the action of the ‘supervisor who was not at the location in any washroom’ was unlawful as he handed a weapon to someone who is not licensed to carry same thus making him an unlicensed individual.