Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Some good-news stories

I never thought I'd be saying it about any of our papers, but today's Gulf News is full of interesting reading. I'll do a separate posting on the government's new three year development plan.

A couple of good-news items particularly caught my eye. The first is:

No group worker visas for firms defaulting on salaries.

The story goes on to tell us that the Ministry of Labour is cracking down on rogue companies. If they don't pay salaries for more than two months they will not be allowed to apply for new visas for one year. They are also threatened with liquidation of their bank warranties.

"It's part of the strict measures being taken by the ministry against companies that do not pay salaries in time or have inadequate accommodation for the workers or medical facilities" said Humaid Bin Deemas, Assistant Under-Secretary.

The second is headed:

Security firms say they will not arm personnel

In the wake of the ram-raid at Wafi City there's a risk of over-reaction, and although I can't imagine that the government would allow non-police people to be armed, it's good to see that the security companies interviewed by Gulf News already seem to be taking a sensible approach. And they're honest about their industry.

One security comapny spokesman said: "The market is not willing to pay properly for security and as a result we do not hire trained professionals". We're all well aware of that of course, but it's nice to hear the industry say it.

Other quotes of note:

"...companies should emphasise recruiting of security guards who are heavily built, otherwise aggressive youngsters will be tempted to try to grab the gun of a lean security guard."

"...there is a strong chance of disgruntled employees misusing their weapons if they are not properly trained by the government on how to handle arms. It is workable if the guards are qualified. If they are not, then the weapons they are equipped with can be misused."

I'm sure I'm not alone in being horrified at the thought of armed guards all over the place, trained or not.

I'll post some photos another day of the situation in Cairo, where the security presence around hotels and tourist sites is heavy, oppressive, disconcerting rather than reassuring.

If Dubai ever goes down that path I won't be the only one leaving, I'm sure.

Links to the full articles:

Security firms say they will not arm personnel

No group worker visas for firms defaulting on salaries

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