Do not allow people claiming to be members of law enforcement or any other official body into the house until their identity is checked with their headquarters.
In late February 2015, Marriott International Inc, operators of the Guyana Marriott Georgetown, called Amalgamated Security Services (Guyana) Inc into a meeting chaired by their Loss Prevention Manager – Victor Tenorio – at which they asked if we could provide security officers to cover their opening ceremony, expected to be in mid-April. This was to be a signature event attended by the President of the Republic, and all leading government, diplomatic and business officials in Guyana.
They stressed that they wanted a calibre of security that they did not think was possible to obtain in Guyana – Security Officers in blazers, equipped with radios fitted with earpieces, a la the US Secret Service. They were quite anxious because their experience of both private and public security in Guyana to that point had left them shaken and nervous.
Amalgamated Guyana was involved in discussions with the Marriott over the commissioning of their CCTV system and training of their personnel to operate it; we were recommended to them by their counterparts in Trinidad who had had positive interactions with Amalgamated in Port of Spain.
Immediately after the meeting, our Accountant Nadica Gudan researched and found pictures of the Honour Guard in action. They first came to our attention at the reception hosted for the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police at the Centre of Excellence in Port of Spain in April of 2014, at which a Guard of Honour was mounted for the invited Commissioners and other guests. This was truly a powerful and impressive display by a private security company. The pictures were sent that afternoon to the LPM who immediately voiced his surprise and approval.
We alerted the Regional Development Director, Brian Ramsey, and the Chairman to the possibility and opportunity to showcase in front of the widest national audience, our new company and our superior capabilities. Both pledged to do what was possible to make this a success. We knew that we needed the assistance of Head Office, because as a new operation, there were some skill sets that we simply have not yet developed.
Due to the ever-changing input of the various parties – the Government, the Police and the Marriott, details remained fluid until almost the last moment, being finalized only 6 days before the event. There was then a flurry of activity in Macoya to assemble the team that would execute on behalf of the company. The leadership component of the team consisted of Davis Douglas, Leon Chandler and Fergus Balbosa; the Honour Guard component was comprised of Desmond Bobb, Ria Lessey, Adrian Joseph, Kelvin Radix and Fabian Nexar.
The team arrived in the dead of night, just hours before their first assignment, the Ribbon Cutting ceremony. They were met on arrival by the General Manager of the Guyana operation Wayne Clarke, and briefed on the drive in from the airport; they were taken to the location to get an idea of what they would face when the sun came up.
On the morning of 16th April, the local part of the contingent was in place at 0700hrs, as was to have been the Trinidad component. This was not to be as the hotel served them breakfast late and so their arrival was delayed. There was much nervousness as everyone, not least the hotel management, awaited their arrival; and even though they were yet to do anything, their arrival was nothing short of triumphal.
When the bus stopped and began to disgorge the occupants, there was a collective gasp that came from those witnessing the spectacle. There was a murmur as persons speculated about who these officers could be; no one had ever before seen private security officers in such magnificent regalia.
As all awaited the arrival of the President, persons from the Press, the Police, and invited guests constantly questioned the Honour Guard wanting to know if they were really private security, about Amalgamated, and about their dress. The sharpness of the officers, their manner, bearing and (almost) aloofness contributed to the mystique.
During and after the morning’s events, many persons took pictures of and with the officers; clearly they were a novelty item. It was as if the caps, lanyards and most of all, the white gloves, were beacons heralding the arrival of Amalgamated on the local scene. One board member of the electric company, clearly impressed by what he was seeing remarked “I never knew”; the General Manager replied “All things are possible at Amalgamated.” The honour guard was perhaps too good, sparking professional jealousy from the public security side.
The night-time function – the Opening Party – followed in the same vein. When we deployed the vehicle search mirrors and Mr Balbosa began instructing our officers in their use, the contingent of police at that checkpoint quickly drifted to within earshot and could be heard remarking about the equipment available to Amalgamated; some having never before seen a vehicle search mirror. Our officers were equipped with reflective vests, lighted wands for directing traffic and radios. They were checked upon frequently to ensure they were watered, fed, and generally all right.
As the assignment was winding down, members of the Honour Guard were instructed to make themselves prominent in the guest areas, promenading through slowly so that persons could get an eyeful. This they did with aplomb.
When the team completed their work they were taken to a couple of establishments so they could unwind after the day’s events. Some were heard making sounds in the general vicinity of a karaoke machine, even posing with a microphone. They departed all too soon after, taking our love and respect with them.
This is a fine example of how the Amalgamated family can combine its talents and resources to make any undertaking a resounding success. There are many things which the branches can gain and learn from the center. This was a spectacular success, one from which we will reap the benefits for a long time to come.