On the Colfire Dress Code

Colfire Dress CodeTHE EDITOR: This COLFIRE caper illuminates some deeper issues that have always crept up every now and then. This doesn’t mean I expect said issues to be addressed; by and large, as a society we don’t like to face uncomfortable truths, preferring instead to deflect, trivialise and live in denial.

To be clear, I agree that in professional circles there should be dress and grooming codes. But that in no way precludes us from challenging and re-defining what those codes should be. Face it, we’ve never really determined who we are because we have for the most part scorned what little we did see in answer to that question. At the very bottom of all this is a reflexive contempt for appearances, dress patterns and hairstyles that do not fit into the “ideal” image set by Europe/Euro-America – the “Default White” model that’s so all-pervasive it doesn’t even need to be mentioned. Many callers to Power 102 and i95.5 following the death of the Chief Servant Makandal Daaga showed that very clearly.

Prof Glenn Sankatsingh, in an article on “Trailer” societies talks about the mindset that what is good for the West is best for the rest. That pathological mindset is crystal clear in T&T’s corporate sphere, courthouses, electronic media and Parliament (Gerald Yetming notwithstanding). Fifty-four years into our alleged independence and we still lack that almost arrogant self-confidence that designs then adopts patterns of dress conducive to our climate yet reflecting the dignity of high/corporate offices and then demanding that the rest of the world respect what we’ve created. Ditto for hairstyles that reflect our non-European ancestries. S. Hylton-Edwards – a WHITE BRITISH soldier – mentioned it in his book “Lengthening Shadows” and still………we remain in denial, finding all sorts of lame excuses.

COLFIRE just opened the bag of worms, but other financial institutions are no different (and schools too!!). Forget the fact that global trends are shifting towards digital/creative economies and the research that shows that persons who think and operate differently are at the cutting edge of these new shifts. No, cut yuh hair, put on the suit and tie and keep yuh little tail quiet.

So millennials, I strongly suggest you create your own space and don’t strive too hard to get into the muddled ones we over 40 are occupying. We don’t have nearly the answers you think we do. Look at this latest issue for an example.

Corey Gilkes
La Romaine

9 thoughts on “On the Colfire Dress Code”

  1. This Silly employee believe he can do/say wear what he want. Then get your own Business. Police/nurses/bank employees.fire/even fast food folks must wear, look the part of the employer demands. You want a job, there are standards. Trinis always have to demand change, but cannot back it up. —DISIPLIN–DISIPLIN–DISIPLIN.

    1. Horace, by your standards an emerging Tupac, Dr. Dre or Big E would Never have survived to become the accomplished artistes, changing the music and cultural globe that there
      Initiatives obviously did. Your views echo the soundings of a ‘house negro’, when the master speaks, you use your mouth as a loud speaker to fellow house negroes.

      My personal taste in grooming is not the same as the Colfire employee. But I do respect his right not to abandon his racial features for the sake of fake idioms that to look European at any cost is how he should present himself for the sake of earning a penny.

      Bankers, Police, Nurses and the like are different. When a policeman stops you, you do not respond to the man. The uniform he is wearing presupposes an authority given to him that you Must pay attention to. So you must respond to him. Ditto for nurses etc. In the case of the Colfire employee, if he came to work and looked like a vagrant, then by all means he should be reprimanded. If he came to work not observing personal hygiene by all means he should be reprimanded but based on the picture placed in the media, he does appear to be otherwise well groomed and attired. His hair style represented exactly what nature has attired him with. What is wrong with that?

    2. Ease up on Maurice nah… There is much more at play here than ‘Dress Code’.. One can only imagine his work environment and all dem beauties that Maurice attracts (for not being ‘square’)..
      Some ‘men’ will put spokes in his way… as they see him as a threat on their ‘turf’.

      Beat him into submission… Ent?

      Now go see how how animals do it…


  2. Yes Corey… This COLEFIRE caper do open a can of worn…. After I saw who runs this company..


    One have to wonder where were these ‘Directors’ (well most of them)during Daaga’s Revolution? Did any speak on a ‘Black Power’ platform as our Dear PM, Dr. Rowley did back then?

    Anyway, yuh tink dem COLEFIRE nigroes dem vex cause they cyah grow hair in their golden years?

  3. The sad reality is that this is a fight the young man cannot win.

    One has to decide in life what battles to fight, and which to walk away from.

    The young man has a choice: conform to the Colfire norms expected, or quit.

    Btw, those norms will embrace many other things beside a hair-style, to include all the intangibles that define a “culture”.

    If the culture embraces values that the young man is unable to adopt and conform to, he should leave. Or he will find that his situation will become untenable anyway and he will be forced to leave.

    This is not a “house negro” vs “field negro” situation. This is the nature of clubs, societies, corporations, and indeed gangs. Each will enforce its culture upon new members. Adapt or leave. It is as simple as that.

    Note: I make no assertion as to the goodness or badness of such behaviours.

    But the good of it is that it forces the individual to examine his own values and make a decision as to where he wants to “let down his bucket”. Many faced with that choice have chosen to “Up your own organization!”.

    The last is a book title that was popular a few decades ago. It preached entrepreneurship, and the virtue of making one’s own way. If he has the stuff, that might be the spur for him to build his own damn company and its own culture conforming to his values. Otherwise, if is pure beta male, then tuck his tail and conform.

    RamK is right in his insight re the young vs the old hippo. It was ever thus.


  4. Try going into the Licencing Office with short sleeves or a short pants. The government also set standards, so why shouldn’t private companies.

    1. ‘Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-­Primus has said she does not believe someone’s hairstyle should have anything to with how they perform their duties in the workplace.
      She said back in 1997 when she was contesting the Public Services Association (PSA) presidential election, she had to make this point clear to the association’s membership.
      “I had started growing my hair in locks and my colleagues and other people told me that I would not win the election based on my hairstyle. And my response to them was: my hairstyle has nothing to do with it,” she told the Express yesterday.’

      Al… Elections do have consequences..
      Here.. Maybe the government needs to bring protection in LAW for people like ‘Maurice Ramirez’…

      The ‘Maurice Ramirez Law’ sounds fitting..



  5. Those links were supposed to represent Adrian Leonce and Fitzgerald Hinds… Both Dreadlock Reps. for the government..

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