Time is long gone for policy to streamline uniform of public servants

Dear Editor,

People generally go to work in Guyana in a wide range of totally unfit clothes. The Public Service, with its nebulous standards, stands out conspicuously in this regard.  Apart from ill-fitting clothing worn by women in particular, some ludicrous colours and jeans dot the workplace while Tee shirts and tank tops proliferate. Faces are often times unrecognizable, with poor choice of make-up, seemingly daubed in a hurry to get to work. Perhaps the talented Joel Gansham could offer a few tips.

The time is long gone for a social policy to streamline a professional choice of wear for the public servant. The wide spectrum of 21st century clothing worn is rather more in line to compete with fellow workers and as a seemingly (unconscious) expression of low self-esteem, ranging from politely conservative to downright comical. If you cannot see exposed beauty – if there is any — then you can see exposed bodies. Women strive to out-dress their teenage daughters and in the process end up highlighting their fault lines and revealing storage places that compel dress designers to rethink stitching patterns. Small wonder many end up looking like a pumpkin on a pair of chopsticks.

A poor choice of footwear is open front sandals and flip flops. The simple reason that the streets of Guyana are rough and insanitary allowing for toe stumping and disease (people spit and animals mess on the streets). The grey/brown colouration of toenails is most likely the result of fungus developing under the nails. Oftentimes peoples’ feet are black and dirty at the end of the day and this is taken into the home.

But another parallel workplace code awaits addressing: Speaking to the public. A code of communications is desperately needed.  The Ministries, NIS offices and police officers are distressing examples of untrained personnel with poor etiquette. In Guyanese lingo: they behave like pigs, bark like dogs and are eager to shove their little authority down your throat. This sordid facet of interaction permeates the entire country; with public servants radiating the aura that they are doing you a favour, rather than doing the job the government spends more than 200 billion dollars annually. Nail polishing, chewing gum, smoking, personal cell phone usage, improperly eating at the desk are a few examples of a society struggling for an acceptable standard of performance. As a former St Stanislaus College teacher these occurrences were non-existent! The country needs training officers in the field of Customer relations which is presently lopsided or non-existent, while complaints against unmannerly employees, for the most part fall on deaf ears.

You are what you eat; you are what you wear; you are what you speak.

Yours faithfully,

Leyland Chitlall


New York


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