Mon | Jan 30, 2023

Jamaica House attire

Published:Tuesday | February 16, 2010 | 12:00 AM

An open letter to Information Minister Daryl Vaz

JAMAICAN OLD people have a 'saying' for almost every occasion. The one that comes to mind now is 'what don't happen in a year happen in a day'. I had an experience on Friday, February 12, that was quite embarrassing, eye-opening and somewhat strange.

As a favour to a friend, I went to Jamaica House to pick up a photograph, but was barred from entering the premises by the police. I think both my friends and enemies will attest to the fact that I am a person of style with an excellent sense of dress and decorum. Professionally, I lecture in customer service techniques, dress and deportment, the social graces and personal development. I am not ever known for being poorly or inappropriately attired EVER!!

On Friday, I arrived at the Hope Road entrance to Jamaica House, stated my name to the policemen at the gate and advised them why I was there. One of the policemen's first words to me were: "Do you have a jacket in the car?" I must admit I was somewhat flummoxed by the question so I said "No, why?" The man said I was "not appropriately dressed to visit Jamaica House!" Never before in my long life have those words been directed to me!

I suggested that they call and ask the person to bring the item to the downstairs door of Jamaica House - but was told that would entail me coming out of the car, which I could NOT do in the clothes I was wearing.

I was not even permitted to step outside of the car. When I tried to hand the officer my phone to speak to the person I was going to I was sternly ordered back inside my car.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am a stickler for correctness and appropriate attire. But a dress code for picking up packages in the parking lot! Good Lord, when did this happen? When I asked the policemen to show me where it is written that there is dress code for entrance, he said "it's in the staff orders", whatever that is - how would a messenger see those "staff orders"?

Oh that we were such sticklers for correct behaviour when dealing with the children in our lock-ups, or any of the myriad other social ills we face in this country on a daily basis.

Minister Vaz, please arrange for appropriate signage to be erected at all the entrances to Jamaica House stating what not to wear when visiting. Someone from a normal country might find the experience somewhat odd.

-Carmen Clarke