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Senior cop: Zoo breaking no law with saggy pants ban
The decision taken by the Zoological Society of T&T one week ago to refuse entry to people whose underwear was exposed has been met favourably by the public and does not contravene any law. According to ASP Joanne Archie, the decision by the owners and operators of the Emperor Valley Zoo, St Ann’s, to stop and even evict people whose underwear was exposed, was a private policy decision.
Asked if the managers had broken any law when they introduced this policy, Archie said: “Not that I am aware of.” Archie answered the question during yesterday’s weekly media briefing at the Police Administration Building, Port-of-Spain. Meanwhile, president of the Zoological Society Gupte Lutchmedial is standing by the decision to enforce a strict dress code for patrons.
Speaking yesterday, Lutchmedial explained that although they receive a government subvention, the zoo is privately owned and run by a board of directors who set the rules. Stressing that a dress code had been introduced in 1952 when the zoo was first opened, Lutchmedial said: “This is like a school and can be considered a public place, and we too have rules and regulations. We reserve the right to admit entry to anyone who is bareback, dressed in skimpy clothes and whose underwear is exposed.”
The decision to ban people wearing “baggy or saggy” pants is similar to the one taken in 2007 when a strict no-smoking policy was implemented. Lutchmedial said just like in that instance they took that decision and this new one after people started complaining through the zoo’s suggestion box about the standards being set, as children were present everyday. He revealed that out of 28 complaints received in January, 16 dealt with the issue of exposed underwear.
Lutchmedial said this prompted the board to review its dress code policy, with a view to enforcing stricter penalties. Before entering the zoo, patrons are advised to fix their attire and if found to be exposing their underwear after being admitted, Lutchmedial said, ever-vigilant security guards will escort the person out and they will be refunded their money.
Failure to comply with the regulations will result in people being barred from entering the facility. “The dress code was always there but it was slightly modified. People just have to follow the rules and abide by the law,” Lutchmedial said. Since its enforcement last week, Lutchmedial said the revised dress code had found favour with many visitors who had expressed through the suggestion box, calls and letters to newspaper editors, their satisfaction by the management's decision to ensure people were properly dressed.
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