Jamaica PM calls for other gov’t entities to review no sleeveless policies

Prime Minister Andrew Holness

(Jamaica Gleaner) Prime Minister Andrew Holness says other institutions in the society will have to look at their dress code policies as the government embarks on its own review.

Holness last week announced the suspension of the no sleeveless policies implemented by ministries, departments, and agencies.

Responding to questions from journalists at his quarterly press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister this morning, Holness said it is an issue worth exploring.

“So, for example, hospitals – they have a health concern. So, your dress code is designed by virtue of health. But, they are obligated to now look at the direction of the government and look at their (own) policy and see what is absolutely necessary for health versus what is just a general cultural stance against entering public institutions in sleeveless,” Holness explained.

He continued: “The courts, obviously they will have to look at their own rules and adjust accordingly if they so desire. But it would not be good in my opinion and I’m entitled to it, to have someone denied justice because of a sleeveless dress.”

“For Parliament, there is a standing order and the government’s policy does not automatically change the standing order, there is a process. So, what we will do is instruct our house leader to initiate the parliamentary committee to discuss that matter and of course bring the standing order in line. Of course, there’s going to be robust debate in parliament but I think that the general sentiment for which MPs should pay attention to is that we should align our policies to modern considerations,” he contended.

In announcing the suspension, Holness said that the Cabinet had taken note of the concerns expressed by members of the public.

In that regard, Holness instructed the Cabinet Secretary to write to Ministries, Departments, and Agencies inform that they are not to deny access or services to persons in sleeveless attire as this is not the policy of the government.

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