By Theresa Goodwin
Prime Minister Gaston Browne has pointed to what he believes to be a racket taking place between private security firms and government ministry officials.
Browne made the remark recently in an interview on his radio station. At the time of the interview, he was responding to a question posed by a security officer highlighting the fact that workers of a security company providing service to three agricultural stations, are yet to be paid after two months.
According to the message, the owners of the firm blamed their inability to pay the workers on the fact that they are yet to be paid by the Treasury Department.
Browne said that people should be paid for services rendered. He also spoke about what appears to be an illegal activity between the security firms and some government officials.
“This security business is a racket. I find that too many of our public officials, I do not know how some of them get contracts, because they have not come before the Cabinet.
“It’s a racket…Many of them do not do any work. What kind of agricultural station they are guarding, and if they are not paying, then discontinue the service,” Browne said on the weekend.
PM Browne also explained that some security firms are also submitting huge invoices for work they did not perform and are depending on the government to compensate them.
“All of a sudden Antigua and Barbuda has the most security firms, a little small country – 100,000 people approximately. One of them came to me recently and said that the government owes him $2 million dollars, and in the first instance, the person does not even have the finances to even fund $100,000,” the PM said.
The nation’s leader said he has asked Public Works Minister Lennox Weston to investigate the issue and explore the possibility of installing security cameras as opposed to hiring separate security firms for specific jobs.