It was a routine Sunday evening at the Best Dressed chicken processing plant in St Catherine. The clock was hastening towards 10 PM while the 10 o clock shift were hastening to their work stations.
Suddenly the piercing wail of the fire alarm broke the stillness of the night.
The security officers on duty got ready to enact the well-rehearsed fire drill as they had done so many times before.
The security supervisor went to investigate the source of the alarm when suddenly all hell broke loose.
“Evacuate the plant now, all personnel, including security are to leave the plant and find a safe place to stay. Ammonia leak.”
This was not good. Sophia Robinson, a six-year veteran of Allied Security, was at her usual post at the front gate.
A wife and mother of three, she did not abandon her post – despite the overpowering smell of ammonia gas which burns your eyes and nose, making breathing and visibility difficult.
Instead she held her ground continuing to man the gate ensuring that the workers could exit the plant without hindrance.
Little did she know that her evening was going to get even more interesting.
At about 10:30 pm, Steve, one of the workers responsible for plant sanitation exited the plant. He leaned against a chain link fence and was obviously in some difficulty. Sophia saw his distress and immediately went to offer him assistance.
She responded even though there is a natural tension between workers and security.
She responded even though there were other persons nearby who did not.
She responded not knowing exactly what she was going to do – but knowing something had to be done.
She responded, knowing that she had been hand picked for the job and that she was not going to betray the confidence that the management of the plant had reposed in her.
And in responding she saved a life.
Steve collapsed in her arms. Talk about the strength of a woman. She caught him - and was assisting him towards the security post when he totally lost consciousness and she had to lower him to the ground.
Sophia rushed inside the security post for some water and rubbing alcohol and tried to revive him, but it was too late - he had no pulse.
She could have panicked, after all she had done all she could. This is where the medical professionals step in and take charge. Except there were none. There was only her - and a prostate Steve Wright who was not going to make it home tonight.
But Steve did make it home. Sophia performed CPR in the best way she knew how. She poured some water in his mouth, placed her mouth over his, and blew it down his throat.
And he breathed. Thank God Almighty, he breathed at last.
The doctor who tended to Steve at the May Pen hospital told us that were it not for her intervention, Steve Wright would have died that night. Sophia Robinson saved his life.
Tonight, we have the honour and the pleasure of recognising Sophia Robinson.
• her dedication to duty
• her proficiency and competence
• her love for her fellow man
Sophia is described by the management of Allied Security "as a symbol of decency, respect, discipline, poise, knowledge and confidence. She has demonstrated her ability to add value to the team and our objectives as a Company".
We, the Jamaica Chapter of ASIS International describe her as a heroine.
(Tribute written by Capt (Ret'd) John Richards CPP, PCI, PSP)
Whenever something interesting is happening in the Chapter, Suzanne Scarlett PSP probably has something to do with it.
Sue, as we affectionately call her, serves on the BMC (Executive Committee) as the Legislative Chairperson.
Suzanne is currently the Safety & Security Manager for HEART Trust/NTA having the overarching responsibility for the safety and security for staff, trainees, visitors and company assets island-wide.
Suzanne recently completed her Law Degree from the University of the West Indies and entered the Norman Manley Law School.
She is the holder of a Masters Degree in Computer Based Management Information System and a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from the University of the West Indies, Mona.
She is also a certified Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Professional and a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).
Nichelle Georgianna Duncan PSP, joined the ASIS International family of security professionals in 2015. Since then she has been an active member of the ASIS Jamaica Chapter sitting on the Business Management Committee as the Women in Security (WIS) Liaison.
In 2019, Nichelle was awarded the Road to Certification Scholarship in honor of Allan J. Cross. "This scholarship means the world to me. I aim to be one of the few women with triple certification and this is the next step up that ladder of success in the field of security. I can shout it loud to all my female counterparts especially those within my chapter that it is possible."
–Nichelle Georgianna Duncan, Jamaica, 2019 Road to Certification Scholarship Recipient.
Viewed here, on the right with the pink box, she is busy assisting with the awarding of prizes at one of our annual banquet and awards functions.
She is presently employed as a Manager at the Police (Civilian) Oversight Authority.