GUARDSMAN St Lucia Ltd. is celebrating its 10th Anniversary of serving the St Lucian community. Starting off in Jamaica in 1975, the company has grown by leaps and bounds and has expanded to four countries within the Region.
After the establishment of Guardsman St Lucia in 2004, Mr Tim Augustin joined the company as Managing Director in 2006 after what he described as a very adventurous, rewarding and most appreciated career with The Bank of Nova Scotia after nearly 40 years of service in seven countries.
As with most companies, Guardsman St Lucia started off with a relatively small staff and has grown from a staff of 80 in 2006 (when Augustin took over) performing basic security services (guarding, cash-in-transit and monitoring and response) to a staff of 250 today with a basket of services that has grown over 100% to include ABM Maintenance, K-9 Services, Deposit Processing Services and Messenger Services. In the future the company hopes to add more security services and also diversify the services provided by adding other complimentary services.
A well-known feature of this security company is their K9 unit. Highlighting the importance of such a unit, Augustin noted that ‘a man and a dog is better than a man and a gun; if the man falls asleep the gun is inactive whereas a dog will remain alert whether or not the handler falls asleep’. Incidentally, as a regional company, Guardsman has the biggest K9 division in this part of the world. Here in St Lucia, the division is still growing with the number of dogs and handlers increasing as the popularity of the service expands.
As a company, great emphasis has been placed on the training and development of staff members. All new employees are put through a 10 – 12 day training programme that instructs on everything an employee would need to know about security and customer service.
Part of Guardsman’s recruiting process requires that their security officers have good verbal and writing skills; that there is good level of deportment and they are able to work within a team. Augustin adds: “We don’t hire people on certificates only. I want to know about your personality, I hire people on their fit to my organization. You must also love people and want to serve them and have a good sense of humour. I consider myself a staff member like all the rest except I have different and higher level responsibilities; in doing so we try to have a family-oriented feel”.
Another aspect of their business is the provision of armed security services. All of their armed officers undergo the highest degree of training, where adherence to the rules of engagement and firearm safety are paramount. To date, none of their 70 armed officers have had an unwarranted weapon discharge during the course of their assignment.
Guardsman St Lucia has its eyes set on expansion. In its soon to come new office facilities there will be a new and fully equipped training room that will be available 24/7 to ensure that continuous and refresher training is available to all employees of policy. “We have to ensure that our staff meet or exceed our client’s expectations on a consistent basis,” Augustin said.
Guardsman St Lucia has been a critical factor in providing protection to the St Lucian society. Prior to Guardsman’s arrival into the Cap Estate area, the community was riddled with countless burglaries. After setting up a 24 /7 Response Team that was commissioned by concerned residents of Cap Estate, the area has seen a significant drop in all property crime and when there is an incident in the area, Guardsman’s team will respond within 10 minutes.
Augustin strongly believes that private security plays a vital role in securing the nation.
“I contend that by providing these services we are augmenting the work of the national security forces or police. Our industry therefore needs the support of the both government and police as we can only take a bite out of crime if we work together. The survival of our economy depends on level of safety and protection we provide to our citizens and guests. So how do you address that? By embracing private security and giving them the tools to provide the services that help to ease the pressures on the police.”