Sun | Dec 11, 2016

When is an umbrella not a weapon?

Published:Saturday | August 9, 2014 | 12:00 AM

I had a sad experience with the Stadium police on Independence Day, August 6. It rained heavily at the Grand Gala and so I travelled with two umbrellas, not realising that the longer one was considered a weapon.

I walked inside the station, asked for the officer in charge, introduced myself as a government employee, naming the place of employment and extending a handshake, which was refused. I related my case nonetheless, though appalled that a senior officer was unaware that his action was impolite. His retort was that the police only keep guns.

I explained that the security personnel told me that the umbrella was considered a weapon and I was simply asking that it be left somewhere in the guardroom until my return. The attitude of the policeman on duty incurred my dismay. I left telling him that I could only imagine what the average citizen encounters daily.

I walked down the road not knowing where I was going nor to whom. A private security guard listened to my story, took my umbrella, gave me his cell number and told me to call at the end of his shift to hear the name of his co-worker who would be taking over when his shift ended.

I called, learnt the name, and remained for a few hours. As I left the event, I walked happily to the institution and collected my brand-new umbrella.

I now do not expect the police to keep any weapon besides guns, so unlike citizens who destroyed theirs and entered wet with underclothes printed to their shame, I ask, do you know that it is a lady who extends a handshake and it is poor manners to refuse same?

Can policies be amended to permit citizens to use a big, not oversize, umbrella to shelter during a heavy downpour as was the case at the Grand Gala? Those who chose to break theirs, leaving sharp metallic edges, will admit, they made weapons. A simple brush leaves a wound.

Will organisers of major events show some level of leniency or, rather, intelligence? Something obviously lacking at the police station?

BRENDA SMITH

twintricy@yahoo.comMalvern PO, St Elizabeth