While there have been much talk recently about the strict enforcement of dress codes at various state agencies across the country, President David Granger is of the view that the country needs to be more liberal, calling the imposed dress codes “archaic” and “backward”.
Speaking on the weekly televised programme The Public Interest on Friday, the Head of State pointed out that while the matter has not engaged government at the legislative level, it is a minor bureaucrat probably promulgating rules that are obviously prejudicial.
He noted that if dress codes are causing public nuisance, then it should be removed: “We need to be much more liberal and I am in agreement with serving the public interests first. If the person is clean and decently clad and doesn’t offend public morality, I think the public services should be extended to those persons.”
The President explained that it is unknown where such rules originated but noted that they seem quite archaic: “It is my view that some of the requirements in the so-called code, they’re certainly not law. It seems to be a bit backward. I don’t think, in 2016, there is need for that sort of restriction; it’s an unnecessary imposition particularly when people have to travel distances to transact business with the government.”
President Granger noted that the dress code issue has often been taken to ridiculous extremes. He recalled several complaints from parents in a certain part of the hinterland, who claimed that the children were being told to wear white socks and black shoes to go to school.
The Head of State posited that rules such as these pose hindrances to the future of Guyana’s children as well as to the development of the country.
He went on to say that since the 1970s, the country started moving towards comfort, especially in allowing females to dress comfortably and in accordance with the weather and what they can afford, while being conscious of the need for decency, of course.
Some dress codes in effect at state agencies disallow: tights and short skirts, armless clothing, hair curlers, slippers; and short pants for men and women.
While dress codes affect the daily routine of most Guyanese, the matter recently gained traction when a local columnist was denied entry into the National Communications Network (NCN) compound because she was clad in an armless dress, even though the dress code notice made no mention of armless clothing.
This is the predicament Guyanese often face when going to conduct business at most government buildings.