THEY call themselves THE GENERALS and thanks to them, General Security Services Ltd., (GSSL), St Lucia’s two airports are in safe hands
The company which will be 20 years old next year operates at both airports in St. Lucia with a clientele that includes Caribbean Airlines and LIAT (1974 Ltd.), Virgin Atlantic Airways, Delta Airlines Inc., British Airways, Sky Services, West Jet, Sun Wing, Air Transat, Jet Blue, and Condor.
GSSL also provides security services to customers within the wider community. This includes establishments like the St. Lucia Trade Free Zone Management Authority.
Since its entry into the market, GSSL has been able to revolutionize the range of services that the industry offers here forcing its competitors to embrace change.
The man at the helm at GSSL is Onesimus Peter Pinel who in 1998 saw the need for a security services provider in St. Lucia that offered more than what other agencies were offering at the time. Said Pinel: “Prior to the existence of GSSL the industry only attracted untrainable old men or men who were fully occupied in other professions such as; construction, fishermen and farmers and were looking for additional income that they didn’t have to work hard for. It was an era when the business sector had little or no faith in the private security industry and many only utilized the industry because of the increased level of criminal activity and the low cost attached to the services of private security.”
Using his comprehensive educational and vocational training background in Airport Security Management and Aviation Security Management, Pinel went to work with the goal of turning the industry around.
He saw that training and education would be the avenue to bring about the kind of change within the industry that he aspired for. He had seen that private businesses were more inclined to trust the police to secure their establishments, rather than security companies. To gain the edge, he had to make sure his new company offered the same aspects of security offered by the police. In doing so the business sector would have the same amount of confidence in a private firm such as his, as that demonstrated in the police. On finding it was down to training and education, the necessary changes were put in place.
Pinel says he still believes that the industry has a way to go before it is recognized locally for its contribution. However, with GSSL leading the way, he believes it is only a matter of time before that recognition is achieved.
GSSL offers a range of services that comply with industry standards whilst maintaining an innovative edge. “We believe that every aspect of security works hand in hand with all others, allowing us to deliver a complete line of coverage to our clients. Alongside our aviation, air and seaports security services, GSSL offers CCTV surveillance monitoring and response services, risk analysis and security surveys, K 9 services, Hotel Protection, Hospital and Healthcare Protection, Executive Protection, Electronic Surveillance for Financial Facilities / Banks, Security Consultants. Event Security Management and, School and Campus Security.
GSSL is tall on training which covers all of the aspects of the security business needed to operate within a thorough security service programme. Employees receive intense training in customer service, defensive tactics, first aid, emergency response and CPR. Agents are assessed through the company’s biannual performance appraisals and through regular counseling and feedback. This in turn works as an invaluable aid in improving performance of individuals within the company and the team as a whole.
Said Pinel: “At General Security Services, it is not only the services that we provide that make us stand out among all other security companies. The way that we deliver these services also has a lot to do with why we are so highly regarded in our field.”