ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC) — Less than a week after the Jamaica government announced it had suspended the no sleeveless policy after reviewing the longstanding practice of prohibiting women wearing sleeveless attire from entry into government buildings, another Caribbean island is following suit.
The Antigua and Barbuda government said it had appointed Social Transformation Minister Samantha Marshall to undertake a comprehensive review of the policy that prohibits people from wearing certain types of clothing when accessing services at government departments.
Marshall said that her ministry has already started the process and is also holding discussions with other Caribbean islands to learn from best practices.
“In the past, we have used what is the old-time sort of thinking in terms of dress code. Right now, we have to appreciate that we serve the people and we have to accept that there are ways in which persons may present themselves,” Marshall told the Antigua Observer.
She said that if an individual is not dressed in a vulgar manner, he or she should be allowed to conduct their business.
Marshall said that the present policy is not mandated by law, but is a rather a rule that was adopted a few years ago.
“We are in consulting stages, we are hoping that within two to three weeks we can have an initial report to present to the Cabinet and we are hoping very shortly that there will be a change in the policy,” Marshall said.
Last week, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness in a statement said he has formally given instructions for the suspension of the no-sleeveless policy and instructed a full review of government dress code practices.
“It has been found, that while the practice exists to prohibit persons who wear sleeveless from entering Government buildings through “dress codes” established within particular Ministries, Departments and Agencies, there is no law or official government policy on which these are based. “
“To ensure the formulation of a proper policy, in the medium term, the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport has been mandated to formulate, subject to consultation, a government dress code policy that is aligned with modern considerations as well as the climatic realities of Jamaica,” the statement noted.