New visitor policy at gov’t offices allows for slippers, sandals and sleeveless tops

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New visitor policy at gov’t offices allows for slippers, sandals and sleeveless tops

A new inclusive Client/Visitor Dress Code Policy for Trinidad and Tobago Government Offices will be instituted nationwide from Monday 15th January, 2024.

In a release on Monday, the Ministry of Public Administration revealed that based on extensive research, it was able to gain Cabinet’s approval for the policy, which includes a standardised dress code that aligns with the principles of fairness, decency, respect for cultural diversity, clarity and consistency, as well as safety.

The policy was guided by public feedback on a number of key issues including the denial of service, non-alignment of dress code policies in offices across the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (GoRTT), as well as research on global trends towards a more relaxed dress code.

“We have listened and completed the research to ensure that a more inclusive, culturally-sensitive policy is instituted. The focus is on equitable treatment, mutual respect and safety, as well as on providing, and not denying service,” Senator the Honourable Allyson West, Minister of Public Administration stated. “We also intend to ensure customer-service training to staff in the coming months. Our priority is to our Constitution and the Vision 2030 promise of ‘Delivering Good Governance and Service Excellence’. And we intend to gain your feedback, as we move forward into a new era of public service excellence.”

The new policy applies to all clients and visitors to Government offices in Trinidad, including all Ministries, Departments and Agencies, whether in-person or virtually. Additionally, it extends to clients and visitors to Government offices under the purview of the Central Government in Tobago.

However, the policy does not apply to non-offices including schools, police stations, hospitals/health centres, courts etc.

(An excerpt from the Client/Visitor Dress Code Policy for all Government Offices)
Dress Code for Face-to-Face Visitation-
It is important to create an environment where clients/visitors to government offices are served and not denied service due to their choice of clothing and appearance. In this regard, please cooperate as follows:-

1. Appropriate coverage: Refrain from wearing clothing that exposes the body in any kind of vulgar manner; the upper body (chest) must be covered and the lower body covering must not be higher that mid-thigh. Swim wear, sheer clothing and entering bareback are not permitted.

2. Decency: Avoid wearing clothing or accessories that display inappropriate or obscene messages or pictures that may be offensive to others or which contain signs or symbols of gangs or groups that are a threat to security.

3. Appropriate footwear: Please note that footwear is mandatory. Do ensure that footwear does not pose a safety concern i.e. contains proper soles and grip to prevent the risks of slippage and falls.

4. Head and face coverings: are allowed. Headwear, once it does not obscure facial features and allows for full view of the face. Where facial coverings including masks, facial shields and niqabs are worn, please note that individuals may be checked further by security personnel. If facial features are not visible/are blocked, the individual may be required to remove the mask/facial shield briefly to facilitate confirmation of his/her identity. In the case of niqabs, individuals will be checked in a separate room.

1. In cases where a breach of the above dress code criteria occurs, prior to denying access to services, the client /visitor should be given the opportunity to express a legitimate reason for non-compliance. For example, in unique circumstances where an individual’s belongings are destroyed due to fire or flood, a Customer Service Representative can attend to that individual and seek the necessary approval to facilitate access to services.

2. Clients/Visitors must ensure that the criteria/requirements of the dress code are checked before visiting Government offices to conduct business.
In addition to the above criteria, please note that there must be compliance with the dress code standards required for picture identification services. Here are some restrictions in place further to those outlined above:
(i) Requirements for the Trinidad and Tobago National Identification Card – Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC), Ministry of National Security:

• Shoulders must be covered
• No contact lenses
• Eyelashes must not obscure the eyes
• No headgear unless it is for religious purposes
• No piercings on the face (only ear piercings are allowed)

(ii) Requirements for Passport – Immigration Division, Ministry of National Security:
• Shoulders must be covered
• Headwear is not allowed (exceptions will be made for religious
purposes only)
• The colour of clothing must be in contrast with the background. White tops are not to be worn.
• Beards are permitted once it represents the person’s everyday
• Dark glasses are not allowed except if the person suffers from a

(iii) Requirements for Trinidad and Tobago Driver’s License- Licensing Office, Ministry of Works and Transport:
• Do not wear white.
• No headgear is permitted.