The Ministry of National Security is moving to review and amend the legislation governing the private security industry in Jamaica.
Speaking with JIS News, State Minister in the Ministry, Zavia Mayne, said the review of the Private Security Regulation Authority (PSRA) Act, which was passed in 1992, is necessary to bring clarity to the issues concerning security guards.
“One of the challenges is that there has been a long-standing issue as to how our security guards are classified, whether they are employees or… independent contractors,” he said.
He noted that the lack of clarity has left some areas open for scrutiny, and legal challenges have been mounted against some private security companies regarding the classification.
“There have been matters involving the courts regarding the statutory deductions that were either not paid or have been paid by companies. This is something that we want to look at to see if, through the PSRA, we can offer some insight, as a conciliator, to facilitate the resolution of these matters,” Mr. Mayne explained.
He noted that the process to review and amend the legislation will take time, but the Ministry is committed to seeing the procedure through.
“Of course, it is a process of consultation and research. What we want to do is to ensure that we are at a settled position on the classification of the status of a security guard,” he pointed out.
The PSRA board is in the process of finalising the policy document to guide the legislative amendments, following which it will be examined by the Ministry.
Mr. Mayne said the Ministry recognises the need to speed up the legislative process and will ensure that consultations are done with the necessary stakeholders to garner their views.
“We will… get the involvement of the other players in the legislative process to do what they need to do within the shortest possible time, so that these amendments and the new Bill can become a reality,” he added.
The PSRA is a statutory body under the Ministry charged with the responsibility to monitor and regulate the operations of contract and proprietary security organisations, private security guards, private investigators and security trainers.
It is headed by a nine-member board with a secretariat of 29 members of staff, led by an executive director, who is the secretary of the board.