ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Over 200 workers are at risk of being laid off by the month’s end as Special Security Services Ltd (SSSL) struggles to meet operational costs.
This is said to be in the face of non-payment from businesses that contract the company for its security services.
SSSL owner Wilbur Purcell told OBSERVER media he has been “fighting” and “begging” several subscribers – to no avail – to pay year-old outstanding bills for security services in the form of guards, installation upkeep and monitoring of security alarms and the like.
“I have some very good customers but the few giving trouble are among the larger companies and businesses…” Purcell lamented.
“Between last week and the week before, I had to pull my guards from four different locations … One of the companies owes about half a million dollars … and another owes about a million.”
He identified several defaulters by name, but due to contractual agreements and continued efforts to coerce them to pay, didn’t want those names published at this time.
However, defaulters range from hotels to educational institutions and statutory corporations, among others.
A manager at one of the companies said to be defaulting told OBSERVER media, “We have issues.”
He declined to speak further as to the nature of those issues, the quantum owed and when or if the company intends to pay.
At the same time, a representative of one of the statutory bodies indicated there were no problems with SSSL, but the body doesn’t have money to pay, due to management and other “serious issues.”
Efforts to reach the managers of at least two of the hotels were unsuccessful.
Purcell’s SSS business is said to employ 798 workers, making it the second largest employment agency after the government. He said the last resort is laying off workers and the threat of that occurring is becoming greater by the day.
Purcell said he has already put some of the matters in the hands of his attorney, Lawrence Daniel.
Special Security Services Ltd has been operational in Antigua & Barbuda for about 20 years.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)