Home / View Point / Guest Columns / Demming: Rend your hearts and not thy garments! Legal Affairs should loosen dress code

Demming: Rend your hearts and not thy garments! Legal Affairs should loosen dress code

Recently I witnessed an act of discrimination at the Ministry of Legal Affairs. Two people were not allowed to enter the building because of their dress.

One was wearing mid-calf jeans and the other had jeans with horizontal tears. In my own case I was only allowed in because I had a shawl to place over my cap-sleeved dress.

Photo: A young woman wears a fashionable jeans.

This is more than discrimination, it is a social justice issue in which the state is disregarding the circumstances of a citizen and placing citizens at a disadvantage because of the way they dress. Suppose those were the only clothes owned by those two citizens? Does it mean they cannot interface with the state until they have clothes approved by the state?

The woman wearing the mid-calf jeans said she was trying to get a birth certificate and pointed out that she would have to take time off from her job to return to the Ministry. My experience with this Ministry is that even the simplest of matters cannot be done in one visit; there is always a need to return, which means more transportation costs and time off from work.

Citizens go to the Ministry of Legal Affairs because they have to, and show up wearing whatever they can afford. It is not a nightclub or place of entertainment where the management has a right to put a particular dress code into effect.

What I did not understand about this particular denial was the difference between wearing mid-calf jeans and wearing a knee-length or a mid-thigh skirt. When I looked around at the employees I saw several knee length skirts and lots of cleavage on show.

So if you are employed at the Ministry of Legal Affairs you can wear a knee-length skirt but if you are citizen, you cannot wear a mid-calf pair of jeans.

Photo: Attorney general Faris Al-Rawi.

Why are we wasting time and resources on things like the way citizen dress to enter a government building when those resources could be directed to making the system sound, efficient and people friendly?

We have mastered the art of having people stand in line to deal with our inefficiencies. Whichever government service you try to access, you have to stand in line and be prepared to spend at least two hours on your feet—except for the Immigration Department where they have innovated the line to a kind of musical chairs system. (Citizens are now required to sit in sequence there and move up one chair at a time as our number is called.)

The developed world has solved most of these problems and I long for the day when there is an enlightened government which will tackle the systems issues which are suffocating us. System redesign is needed throughout the entire Public Service before we even talk about a 2030 vision.

About Dennise Demming

Dennise Demming
Dennise Demming is an Adjunct Faculty Member at UWI, Media and Communications Strategist, TEDxPOS organiser and co-licensee for TEDxPortofSpain and Chairman of the Board at TTTHTI. Dennise, who grew up in East POS, also has a Business MBA and B.Sc. in Political Science & Public Administration and Mass Communications from UWI.

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111 comments

  1. Nor can you enter exposing part of your milk containers

  2. As far as I know there’s a dress code for entering all Gov’tt offices as well as some private enterprises. It’s been that way a number of years. I was turned away from 2 Gov’tt offices and 1 private business years ago on separate occasions. I had to go buy myself a sweater next door on one occasion 🙂

  3. This is a PUBLIC meeting OUTSIDE, in the hot sun at the QPS back in the day, John and Jane Public ladies and gentlemen. Photo courtesy POS Corporation fb page. Oh how far we have come! It is not about denying service, it’s about having standards, morals and values. It is the lack thereof that have our country in the decay that it is now. You are going into an official office building to seek a particular service you should dress appropriately. You are not going down to the corner shop! Your mother, grandmother, tanty, nenen would have told you that if they knew where you were going and dressed like a nowhwerian! Have some respect for yourself and others and dress appropriately.

    You show others how you want to be treated by what you allow. Government offices also have a dress code and it is sad that it’s the government that have to tell big people how to dress when visiting such places.

    And no, this is not ‘Merika! Go with them sagging jeans and exposed boxers to KFC for that birth certificate.

    • Ezra Joaquim do you see people here still wearing hats in this hot sun?

      Get up to date and realistic man. Steups.

    • Lol, Linda! I guess you too will have to pass back another time for that birth certificate!

    • Ezra 🙂 I don’t need a TT birth certificate 😘

    • I really wish people would stop and think deeply and analytically before they expressed certain opinions. Why is it when this topic is always brought up some clown always has to go to the extreme to trivialise

      Nobody here is not saying there should be *no* dress code for f**ks sake; we *are* saying that the dress code should NOT BE DETERMINED BY WESTERN MIDDLE-CLASS CULTURE. This is a HUMID, TROPICAL environment and even the Euro has laughingly talked about our adherence to dress codes that do not in any way reflect our climate or culture (read S Hilton-Edwards’ “Lengthening Shadows”)

      The photograph above was taken in the colonial period and at a time when Victorian/Edwardian values were almost absolute in this country. Judging by the types of hats worn, this would have been in the 1920s

      The elites of the society developed POS as the *only* place where *true* cultural events took place. Queen’s Park Savannah horse racing (the only form of gambling that was allowed because that is what the elites participated in) was the one social event where all the levels of society could congregate. But they could only do so dressed in the way the elites approved.

      *This* is the racist legacy we’ve inherited and it’s so obscene that Goldman-Sachs, the most amoral, parasitic capitalist institution should be the one to pass instructions to relax the corporate look its employees had. It’s only a matter of time before other institutions do likewise and we will as usual be the last to do so because let’s face it, many of you always need white people to tell you what to think, say and do.

    • Ah Corey Corey Corey. This is a Social Media platform, not Harvard Law Review. People are certainly free to express their opinions.

      Just last week you were insistent on linking Trinidad’s carnival with it’s non existant African roots but yet refuse to accept your own Trinidadianess and how that came into being. EVERY CREED AND RACE stirred the pot Corey! And in this millennium ALL AH WE TOGETHER AS ONE! So leave meh Edwardian grandfather alone! For your edification the above meeting had to do with water rates in the city, they were not gambling, there are no horses strutting about. QPS was more than just a racetrack.

      Anyhow, don’t come in my office sleevless and in short pants, you will leave without whatever it is you came for. Here, enjoy this nice painting of Trinidad carnival from back in the day. That’s the original Jab Jab to the front! 😉

    • Ahhh Ezra, Ezra, do you work hard at taking pride in sounding stupid, ignorant and uninformed or does it come naturally?

      Last first: the figure in the image is NOT a jab-jab, that’s a Jab Molassie (i.e Molasses Devil).

      Next, the claim that our Carnival has nonexistent African roots is stupid, a clear indication of your mental laziness and completely counter to documented testimony (starting with Herodotus “The Histories” in which he, having witnessed the spring solstice festival in Egypt, was very clear in stating that the Greek “Bacchic” festival was African in origin; then see Ovid for further info…you’re welcome)

      Every creed and race stirred the pot but the real flavor was put in by Africa and India while the taste was enjoyed by Europe that then set about invisibilising Africa and India as their own writings show (go in the National Archives or go online, your choice)

      The image was taken at QPS during the water rates discussion yes, was this the same way they dressed at the horse racing events at the same Savannah? Also yes. Even more lavishly as some photographs clearly show because they were trying to recreate Europe in Trinidad (see Raymond Ramcharitar’s unpublished thesis “Hidden History of Trinidad“ in West Indiana section of UWI library….it’s not hard to find, it’s the section UWI students such as yourself hardly ever use)

      This is a social media so I guess the idea of using whatever platform is available to engage in educational debate and discussion is not an option in that little brain of yours. Noted.

      Well then run along and play Candy Crush Saga or post photos of your goldfish; I’ll click “Like” just for manners; meanwhile us grown-ups will be on this side abusing the social media platform instead of the Harvard law Review.

    • A Jab Jab has a court jester head piece and whip, a Jab Molassie is has horns and is covered in black pigment. The above is clearly a Jab Jab and here below is a Jab Molassie. Ah boy Corey! Yuh learn something today eh!

    • Yes!!!Ezra Joaquim I learned that you *can* sound stupid, ignorant AND be wrong and strong at the same time. Thank you so much. All my years of being involved in Traditiional mas was a lie

      I thought THIS was a Jab-Jab

    • (That’s the figure in the centre eh, not the Fancy Indian on the right)

    • So tell me nah, where you got that information from re Jab-Jab confused w/ Jab Molassie?

    • And I had no idea that Jab Molassie devils could not carry a whip, wow! I didn’t get the Gayelle Jersey but I really learned something today

    • Lol, yuh so lucky, yuh getting a whole article on the subject…
      http://www.caribbeanlifestories.uk/?p=1081

    • Ezra Joaquim. reading your posts, I fully understand a line in Sparrow’s calypso “Dan is the Man” when he sang: “if mih head was bright, I woulda be a damn fool.” You, sir, your head is bright.

      Because we see in the article:
      “Jab Jabs were meant to be able to withstand pain which they demonstrate by engaging in whip battles with other Jab Jabs who they encounter on the streets on Carnival days. In this regard Jab Jabs who crack their whips and regularly engage in fierce duels on the streets have a similar warrior tradition to the kalinda stick-fighters.
      A Jab Jab costume makes him look like a medieval European jester — two-coloured shirt with points at the waist, decorated with bells, mirrors, and rhinestones; a cape; a hood, sometimes with horns; stockings on his legs. But this clownish gear disguises a fierce warrior who carries a thick whip, ready to use in battle against any other jab jabs he may encounter”

      That would be these guys here

    • it then goes on to state:
      “The jab molassie’s costume is nothing more than a pair of shorts or alternatively pants cut off at the knee, and a thick coat originally of molasses and later of tar, oil, or grease, all over his body, including face and hair. He often sports a tail and horns and carries a pitchfork, sometimes with chains and padlocks round his legs, attempting to offend polite society, ”

      That would be, oh, I dunno, maybe this guy?

    • Check back when you’ve learned how to read and understand and stop making yourself an ass wasting good time and byte space

    • I would have recommended you read Michael Anthony’s “Parade of the Carniivals” or Errol Hill’s “Trinidad Carnival” or Dr Hollis Liverool’s masterpiece “Rituals of Power and Rebellion“ but they are all way too taxing for you. I’d suggest you follow Lord Kitchener’s advice to “Come in town J’Ouvert Morning/find yourself in a band” but J’Ouvert already has enough problems without your presence adding to it. And the infuriating thing is that J’Ouvert’s problems stem from the fact that NCC comprises of people like you; it’s people like you who end up in positions of leadership in NCC and know everything.

      So do get informed, right now you’re just an unliterate embarrassment

    • buh what trubble is dis? 😯 Seems I have plenty to read … and learn hahaha 😄

    • A Corey Gilkes hey thanks Corey, yet again. I’m going to re-share your information on my page. I mean as much as our history was painful, it’s so interesting. Makes me love our country more. 🙂👍🏼

  4. Lets keep it real here..The damage to the psyche of the African continues to manifest it’s hold and depth..As Fanon or Paulo Freire might say we have fully internalized the self hatred..Who else as a group voluntarily wears rags and false hair and pays another group exorbitant prices for it, in the names of fashion and style? Did the slaves not wear rags because they had no choice? Is that a ‘heritage’ we want to embrace?

  5. they were right as a society we have little to no respect buss up jeans was a vagrant thing you cannot go before a judge dressed like that your shirt needs to be buttoned up and your shirt tucked in your pants but i find that they need to come down on some women attire if there is a dress code for clubs and bars etc they have to be in schools offices and other places as well

    • Betty Ann Byng it’s not an easy thing to dictate self respect and morality with a dress code, armless , short pants , short skirts , are all part of modern attire , the individual must be able to differentiate what is appropriate to be worn and where.

    • i get that but you cannot force your choice on me if you want and choose to dress like a slut, a bum, even a hooker that is up to you but if I choose not to let you in my place of business your choice cannot trump mine
      the same way they want to be respected and embraced i want the same as the old people say there is a time and place for everything if you going to do business dress as such if you going a party dress as such if you going and sell food also dress as such cause i love doubles and if i see the person selling if not dressed appropriately i not going to buy it is that simple

    • Betty Ann Byng ma’am i am in agreement with some of what you say , but these are public places , government offices are not private, i went to clear a barrel at Plipdeco and people were not being allowed on the compound in three quarter pants or sandals, ridiculous, by the way have you noticed how some people dress to attend church ? it all comes down to knowing there is a time and for everything, even fashion .

  6. Denise, I experienced this and posted it on facebook. My issue is that I do not believe a public agency/organisation can dictate what I, a citizen should wear. I have to abide by the laws of the land as they pertain to common decency in dress and I believe the public agency should respect that and not impose its own standard on me. The agency has contracted with its own employees and can require them to go beyond those laws and dress according to standards it has defined but this should not apply to the public citizen.
    In my case I was very well dressed and the security shooed me away because my top had no sleeves. The agency office was filled to capacity and there were people standing outside the doors and seated on the staircase waiting their turn for service. When I posted it some people said, “what’s the problem Hyacinth, can’t you obey rules?” They missed the point altogether! We need rules but at some point rules become outdated, irrelevant and some rules are downright foolish. Then it is up to ordinary citizens to push the envelope and advocate for those rules to be changed. Yes, the next time I went back to the agency I wore my sleeves, because at this point I have no choice and need my business to be done. But that does not mean that I would silence my voice or change my stance on the issue. What would happen if government owned/majority owned business organisations like TSTT, NFM or FCB say you citizen cannot come in here with no sleeves. For me, I would take my business to the competition.

  7. Also, women cant wear armless…. there is a written dress code which the security guard showed my wife. I find that is real backward……her friend had to come down and give her a sweater……Lol

  8. Trinidad discriminates on multiple levels , in developed countries ( USA and Canada ect ) seniors have access to all services in said societies, in TT your are denied access to mortgages ( sixty plus) because of your age , that’s discrimination based on age , and there is race , gender , education, employment , colour (even to play mas) size and more , here , we discriminate full stop .

  9. Even private service denial now is challengeable in court

  10. It’s not okay to deny government services. It’s totally okay to deny service as a private enterprise.

  11. It’s not about what u ok with

    It’s not ok to deny service

  12. Just one question if you up in arms about this. Then are you saying you ok with sagging?

  13. You might begin by asking yourself where do the rules come from? All rules and regulations must come from an Act of Parliament when it concerns Government institutions. What baffles me is how come this has never been challenged?

  14. That’s why people wouldn’t like me because if I saw that happen I was going to ‘get involved’ and ask the people to give the lady a pass and if they did not we’d end up quarreling. SIGH.

    All well and good to make observations but if 10 people spoke up they might have been ashamed enough to allow it to pass. I couldn’t watch this unfold and keep quiet.

  15. This outfit meets the dress code lol. Has sleeves and long pants.

  16. I said weeks ago it was discrimination

    It needs to be addressed

  17. We are so intent on lowering all of our standards in the country by people who know better.

  18. We continue to ” strain at a gnat and swallow a camel”…
    We continue to look for form rather than substance.
    We continue to be enamored with show rather than authenticity.
    But what can you expect from a people who like masquerade, from a people who continue to be not ” free from mental slavery “?

  19. One rule for those employed in the building and another for the general population that they are supposed to be serving? Staff at these places effectively saying ‘do as we say- not as we do! = arrogance and lack of respect.

  20. Just shy of ten years ago during one of my visits to TnT, I came upon a flyer from the Chaguaramas Development Corp. promoting trips to Gasparee Island. I drove over to the office in attempt to get more info, but was stopped in my tracks from entering. Apparently my white tank top (aka “vest”) was prohibited wear.

    I was flabbergasted to say the least. The thought that I, dressed in climate-appropriate clothing, turning up at a quasi-Government office, housed in what might as well be a trailer, flush with an unpaved gravel parking lot, was “inappropriately dressed,” just beggared believe.

    Thankfully common sense prevailed and I was allowed into the otherwise empty “office” to ask my questions. My ignorance was no excuse to give me a pass, but the policy was ridiculous. Think about it, the average person showing up at that office under the circumstances (day trip to Gasparee) would be dressed how?

    But my own subjective experience aside, the dress codes highlighted in this (very good) article are benign for the most part, but at the same time antiquated and unnecessary. Someone showing up in three-quarter pants or a sleeveless shirt would impede the functioning of the office, or the conducting Of Government business, how?

    • Inefficiency is the real obscenity that takes place at Government offices.

    • Nigel so funny, but that’s exactly what I was thinking. It didn’t apply in my case, but as Demming points out, members of the public often have to make multiple trips in order to achieve the simplest of things. It’s an example of the focus being put on the wrong things.

      Incidentally, during that same trip I went to another government office and saw a male employee walking around with a scarf fashionably slung about his neck (a trend that apparently lasted about two weeks in TnT). Nothing wrong with that, but turning away someone otherwise appropriately dressed, while employees prancercise in “appropriate” but impractical clothing just highlights the capriciousness of the policies in question.

    • Nigel S. Scott this dresscode applies across all “Ministry” offices and in some cases is so counter productive where clients are concerned.. I worked Min of Soc Dev at one of their smaller regional offices…thank goodness one of the coordinators would use his descretion and allow clients to “conduct business” in whatever they came in, once it wasnt grossly inappropriate….imagine at a welfare office where sometimes the poorest of the poor are coming for assistance, they are supposed to be turned away if they have on slippers…sometimes that was the only footwear they owned…

    • Dafina, kinda like going to ah homeless shelter and being turned away for not being able to provide proof of address.

    • This is condescending and dehumanizing.

      You’re saying that someone who needs assistance from social development cannot get a clean shirt, an untorn jeans and a shoes to go to do business?

      That demonstrates a willingness and prejudice to demean the lower economic strata which underscores the cruelty meted out to them.

      You think they have no pride in their appearance?

    • Kwesi Prescod is your post in response to my comment?

  21. The problem with being accommodating,if you say shorts and sleeveless Trinidadian will come in with undergarments

    • Here we go again, see my reply above

    • A Corey Gilkes I don’t concur as you are not told what to wear just what not to wear.you could wear a dashiki sari etc. I understood what you were saying but we’ve moved passed that .when you see the posters up they usually say no shorts , sleeveless etc.ifthese places guided by OSHA act they would be within their right to say no flip flops,but no one is saying to wear three piece suit and tie or dress and stockings

    • Well actually Ana Charlerie, in some places like the courts they *do* expect you to wear a jacket and tie — which prompted Israel Khan to successfully challenge it — and it’s also virtually required that you wear it in the corporate sector (which is why I posted last week the news report that, of all places, Goldman-Sachs, one of the most amoral predatory institutions on earth, relaxed its dress code for its employees because they are trying to attract the younger generations who have made it very clear that they do not have any regard for or trust anyone who wears a suit because of what they [visually] represent).

      Furthermore, I’ll never forget one of my Health Safety and Environmental Studies lecturers back in 1994 when he spoke about how, even in the drafting of the International Health and Safety Code, there was quite a bit of criticism inItaly from some countries on the basis of the proposed code being influenced by Western liberal middle-class ideology (like a great many other international laws and standards by the way) and that adjustments had to be made. So even in OSHA, cultural attitudes and assumptions are or were not separated.

      I also could not help but notice what the wife of Dr Rowley often wears on formal occasions including the swearing in of our President. I also notice Michelle Obama did the same as well on a number of occasions (ie, sleeveless dresses). They both nonetheless looked dignified

      The fact is that in this society, there is a deep culture of what Lloyd Best used to call unresponsibility, which stems from an almost reflexive fear to independently change anything that was imposed on us during colonial rule; you met it so, you leave it so and don’t be questioning or changing anything. This also, the other elephant in the room no one likes to talk about, the way so many here unquestioningly accept the default white Western model in so many things (see the comment posted below by the person who thinks “We are so intent on lowering all of our standards in the country by people who know better”).

    • I better go with a full indigenous costume just to make a point. I’ll take a jacket for the A/C in case it’s cold but seeing that it’s mostly hot and humid in there because some A/C might not be working, I think my dress would be most appropriate. Plus remember our indigenous people didn’t dress like the north american Indians lol joking of course, I’m not serious but if I were I should have the right, I will wear a top as an exception but it’s not going to have any sleeves lol

    • A Corey Gilkes that’s why I’ve said we’ve come a long way since then, I work around court and the young ones might wear jacket and tie but every fraternity has it own codes( a judge my comment on your use color ,they talk in code n d lawyer might ask am I not allowed to wear a red tie,judge : no am just making observation) the young ones are doing there own trends and you can see young lawyers ,makes in their tight pants and shirt fitted jackets females in very short skirts and dresses that sometimes include slits) civilians it not as rigid once you try to cover.The MTS will be unable to stop them from really coming in unless they really over doing, because sometimes a relative might be visiting some member of staff .and as I mentioned I saw a lady in a cat suit ,no one told her she couldn’t go inside the court with that.especially if someone is a witness in a matter,what you gonna say we can’t proceed? people try to put on what would cover them it might be tight .

    • Linda Louison that might be very amusing, hilarious even.although I have seen some of Carib descendant try to wear the crafts etc

    • Ana Charlerie this is a conversation we need to have.
      I don’t think the issue should be it’s handed down from colonialism etc.
      It is our poor judgement and lack of discretion.
      You ever see the way some ppl dress for church?
      I heard of a priest who refused to conduct a wedding ceremony until the bride covered herself with a shawl.
      Was it okay for the ‘tourist’ to visit ppl temple in shorts?
      Is common sense totally lacking?
      A ministry is a place of business. Didn’t most ppl who are adults know when they were growing up there was attire for church, school, lime etc? You could have told where ppl were going by how they dressed.
      Why would a grown man be wearing 3/4 pants to go to see about business?
      I saw Westmall put up a sign about dress code after seeing a woman in shorts so short you were literally seeing her butt. This is a place families go.
      We would not need this conversation if discretion was our nature.
      While we may argue about armless, armless could also mean a strapless naval breaker etc.
      Instead of going through all the drama, they just give guidelines.
      It is not archaic, but civilised.

  22. Nothing is wrong with a dress code.we should get over it, however some people take things to a whole other level and overdo wether it’s the dresser or the people working in the building.once your body fully covered what’s the problem?if the jeans too shredded kindly take the person one side and explain well next time try to use another one or something so.I have seen a woman come to court in a cat suit (middle age but good physique) probably as far as she was concerned she covered from head to toe

  23. We does major in minors. Meanwhile, de man in suit and tie robbing we blind.

  24. Central American Presidents noticed one day a long time ago that shock horror – they lived in the tropics and decided to dress accordingly when at home so no hot wool suits. They save those for when they visit cold places. Its long white sleeved shirts for men. Women, short sleeved or no sleeved tops/dresses.

    • Kala Ramnath I think being asked to dress appropriately is less of a human rights abuse than the outright refusal to provide all children in your country with equal access to their human rights, education, applicable health care and employment opportunities when they become adults.

      Sure, allow people to wear shorts and sleeveless tops but frankly I really don’t want to head into government offices where I have to sit next to smelly Mcgoo because he or she doesn’t practice good personal hygiene and the clothing (sleeveless or tank top) helps to emphasize that fact.

      Forgive me but I think that this is some trite bullshit.

    • Laura Escayg smelly mcgoo could be fully-clothed though, so its hygiene more than dress. And yes yes yes to the farce that is special needs ed policy.

    • Kala Ramnath yes Kala I agree smelly might be fully dressed. Right now though, for me, I see this as much less of a major issue. I have to go into government offices to deal with business and I’ve never Seen them ask anyone to wear a wool suit or dress. All they ask is that one dresses decently because it is Trinidad and sometimes people overdo it with the lack of dress code. People can wear jeans, even t-shirts to go into government offices. Tell me how that translates into extremism? Maybe the sleeveless and shorts can be revised.

    • Laura Escayg tbh I don’t see a problem with jeans and t shirts. they are perfect tropical wear. I would draw the line at excessively skimpy clothing. Wearing jeans is no sign of disrespect. People in Cuba manage with shorts and t shirt in a very rigid one party state. We are a multiparty democracy (with lots of other kinds of parties) but given our experiences with special needs policy, when the people in those offices start doing their damn wuk and stop boddering about what people wear (bar their underwear) I think we might get somewhere. Its probably the worst irony ever: the things being enforced are not good governance and dealing with di public’s grouses swiftly and professionally, but spending far too much time around peripheral issues.

    • Kala Ramnath completely agree with you on this! I should tag you to witness a politician’s response to a social worker’s post about Disability awareness. A clown who referred to Children with CP as liabilities in the past.

    • Laura Escayg this wasn’t about sleeveless or even shorts or even panties and nakedness. It was about calf length jeans – the same length as long office skirts. I agree with that take. It’s offensive, wasteful and downright nonsensical for the ministry to be wasting people’s time like this. Maybe you didn’t read the whole article?

  25. This is a lot of bullshit.

    The dress code is not onerous. It’s not asking for a tux or even a business suit. It’s requiring dress for business. Are we so adverse to DISCIPLINE that we abhor the concept of someone being asked to dress appropriately for business?

    So people should come and do business in their nightee? In their drawers? Get serious.

    • Attending court and going before a judge is business, going to a government office is not. We aren’t talking about going to an office in a nightee or a bikini 👙.

    • Aaaand here we go, always someone comes up with the extreme (and always absurd) argument.

      All Dennise Demming and other like-minded people are saying is that we need to develop a dress code CONDUCIVE TO THE REALITY OF OUR SOCIETY, HISTORY AND CLIMATE, which, in case it’s not clear to some, is TROPICAL and HUMID.

      JESUS H CHRIST

      How hard is it for some people to understand that we have a dress code developed by a people who only knew *their* reality and also intended to project *their* cultural values — which was based on racist, class-separatist ideologies they brought over from Europe — onto the “darker-skinned races” as we were sometimes called, who in their minds had no culture, history, morality, sense of dignity or DISCIPLINE.

      Why the hell is it always that the call to decolonise dress codes are immediately, reflexively trivialised or taken to mean that we could go in a bank in a nightie? That says so much about how some people — ironically with a clearly non-European name in this case — can only think in simplistic binaries and have internalised Eurocentric attitudes. So in other words, is only Western cultures have proper dress codes?

      I will always remember when Gerald Yetming went into Parliament wearing a shirt-jack suit designed by Meiling and how dignified it looked while at the same time very comfortable. I will also remember how he was berated by suit-wearing Patrick Manning and his beautiful response (and he continued to wear it until he demitted office and he also wore it in the banking sector). Again, the irony, here we had the supposed “black” representative, being schooled in decoloniality by de Chinee.

      The other element Ms Demming brought up is the very pertinent issue of class/status descrimination. What about the many people who have business to transact but, because of their socio/economic circumstances, only have certain forms of dress? But again, all this is trivialised and often dismissed in the most disrespectful way by people for whom, since that is not their experience, don’t care to know about other people’s reality.

      And the thing is, in some other Caribbean countries, they have long since gone ahead and adjusted. I’ve personally witnessed that when I was in St Lucia some years ago as well as Jamaica *steups*

    • Kwesi Prescod your conclusion isn’t logical, and also doesn’t reflect your usual high standard of debate.

    • Tracy Hutchinson Wallace yes I noticed the same thing; wondered if it’s the same man. To be honest, i don’t think he even read the article.

    • Linda Louison I respect his views on many topics,so I am surprised and dismayed at this contribution.

    • Tracy Hutchinson Wallace yup, but I guess we all have our moments. I probably say things where people ask themselves with is wrong with her all of a sudden

    • Sorry to disappoint folks, but you all lost me when someone said going to a government office is not doing business.

      So transactions with government to get access to publicly funded goods and services is play?

      And short minis are fashionable, but not always appropriate. Great for a dinner date, questionable for office wear. Same goes for buss-up jeans and slippers.

    • So Corey, are you saying that wearing buss up close and slippers is “black”?

      That’s the most self hate thing I heard this week (assuming you are black). Either that or the most condescending affront to black pride (assuming that you’re not).

      Again folks sorry to disappoint.

    • Actually Kwesi,I think you’ve only disappointed Tracy Hutchinson Wallace, you haven’t disappointed me at all. My expectations were never high.

  26. Why hang onto old antiquated rules from a colonial era You can’t have a sleeveless dress, shirt or three quarter pants in a tropical climate? Madness! A person with a significant portion of their breasts on display can ask you to leave? Ridiculous!