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Cultura Venezuela | Pennywise workers to get counselling

Paladee said Al­lied Se­cu­ri­ty is con­tract­ed to pro­vide se­cu­ri­ty and make de­posits on be­half of Pen­ny­wise

Rad­hi­ca De Sil­va

Trau­ma­tised work­ers from Pen­ny­wise Plaza, in La Ro­maine, will get coun­selling and time off as need­ed to help them cope with the hor­rif­ic or­deal of Mon­day’s mur­der­ous heist which left two se­cu­ri­ty of­fi­cers dead.

Di­rec­tor of Pen­ny­wise Dr Vishum Paladee spoke with Guardian Me­dia, a day af­ter six ban­dits in­ter­cept­ed an Al­lied Se­cu­ri­ty Ser­vices cash-in-tran­sit van and rid­dled it with bul­lets, killing two guards and mak­ing off with an undis­closed sum of cash. The cash has since been re­cov­ered.

Prais­ing the po­lice for their quick work, Paladee said the way the rob­bery was ex­e­cut­ed showed that crim­i­nals were now op­er­at­ing on a new lev­el.

“We have seen crime es­ca­lat­ing. We have a lot of se­cu­ri­ty in the store, al­so po­lice pres­ence dur­ing busy pe­ri­ods. We have armed and un­armed se­cu­ri­ty. Se­cu­ri­ty has been a top pri­or­i­ty for us for years now,” Paladee said.

He not­ed that Pen­ny­wise had a se­cu­ri­ty pro­to­col in place which was ac­ti­vat­ed when the gun­fire start­ed.

 “The man­agers gave the in­struc­tions to shut the shut­ters and every­body was kept safe in­side the Pen­ny­wise store, even though we did not even know what was hap­pen­ing,” he re­called.

Paladee said Al­lied Se­cu­ri­ty is con­tract­ed to pro­vide se­cu­ri­ty and make de­posits on be­half of Pen­ny­wise.

He not­ed that Pen­ny­wise is now ex­plor­ing oth­er op­tions as it re­lates to con­trac­tu­al se­cu­ri­ty.

“In the con­tract with Al­lied, it says the se­cu­ri­ty com­pa­ny must pro­vide the prop­er ve­hi­cles for trans­ac­tions. We were un­der the im­pres­sion the Al­lied ve­hi­cles were re­in­forced,” Paladee said.

He added: “It should be their re­spon­si­bil­i­ty to en­sure that once se­cu­ri­ty picks up the cash they are in a prop­er ve­hi­cle to take the cash out. Due to that, we are view­ing what oth­er op­tions we have in terms of oth­er se­cu­ri­ty com­pa­nies.”

 Paladee said Pen­ny­wise’s hir­ing prac­tices were metic­u­lous.

“Every­one has to sub­mit a Po­lice Cer­tifi­cate of Char­ac­ter when they ap­ply to work in Pen­ny­wise,” he ex­plained.

He lament­ed the spate of crime in T&T but said Pen­ny­wise will as­sist all of its em­ploy­ees.

“Don’t be ashamed to come for­ward. We will pro­vide the coun­selling and time off as need­ed,” he said.

Mean­while, pres­i­dent of the Greater San Fer­nan­do Cham­ber of In­dus­try and Com­merce Ki­ran Singh said it was ap­par­ent the Pen­ny­wise heist was well planned.

“We are see­ing an in­crease in crime in the South­ern and South West­ern area. It is ap­par­ent from how the rob­bery and mur­der went down that it was well thought out,” he said.

He said busi­ness­peo­ple are re­al­ly pressed be­cause they en­gage in ad­di­tion­al se­cu­ri­ty. 

“Pen­ny­wise em­ployed a se­cu­ri­ty firm and did not en­gage reg­u­lar em­ploy­ees to do cash de­posits, yet they were at­tacked. The guns used by the crim­i­nals were high-tech. They had bul­let­proof vests and com­bat boots. Where is this com­ing from? Trinidad and To­ba­go do not man­u­fac­ture guns.”

He added: “Re­cent re­ports of scan­ners be­ing in­op­er­a­ble, does that have some­thing to do with this? How could they land here on our shores and be used in crimes?”

Singh said peo­ple are fear­ful.

“Pen­ny­wise is a place where there are a lot of women and chil­dren. We have to com­mend the TTPS for the great work that was done yes­ter­day. Hope­ful­ly, this will send a mes­sage to crim­i­nals,” Singh said.