No to ‘saggy pants’
By SASHA HARRINANAN Tuesday, March 19 2013
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NO: The Emperor Valley Zoo in Port-of-Spain has banned patrons who wear their pants in the 'saggy' style as seen in this photo. It is a ban which Nati...
NATIONAL Security Minister Jack Warner says the Emperor Valley Zoo in Port-of-Spain did the right thing when its management team decided to deny entry to men inappropriately dressed in sagging trousers that expose their jockey shorts or other choice of underwear.
“The zoo has my full support,” Warner declared. “In fact, any institution, public or private, which chooses to institute a similar ban would also have my support because many times the guys who wear their pants that way are involved in deviant behaviour.”
Warner’s views came after Newsday’s front page story in yesterday’s edition headlined “Zoo bans ‘saggy’ pants”, in which President of the Zoological Society of Trinidad and Tobago, Gupte Lutchmedial, explained the ban was implemented after the zoo received numerous complaints from senior citizens and families about their discomfort in the presence of young men who sported low-slung pants that exposed their underwear.
Lutchmedial told Newsday there have only been, “a few incidents”, since the ban came into effect last week Monday, March 11. “Mostly on weekends you find men trying to enter the zoo wearing saggy pants. On Sunday (March 17), two young guys whose jerseys were covering their pants upon entry, were later spotted inside the zoo with their underwear exposed. Security asked them to fix their clothes but they refused, so they were escorted off the compound and their admission money was refunded,” Lutchmedial said yesterday. The National Security Minister’s support for the ban came as no surprise, since he himself spoke out against the wearing of saggy pants shortly after his appointment to the post last June.
Addressing the launch of the Victim and Witnesses Support Unit (VWSU) of the TT Police Service’s regional conference at Hyatt Regency in Port-of-Spain on August 27, Warner promised to target youths who wore their pants on their buttocks because, “those are the kinds that develop patterns that lead to indiscipline.”
Questioned about the status of his plan to address this trend, most common in teenaged boys and young men, Warner yesterday told Newsday, “This is something I raised at the National Security Council very early in my term. We have not abandoned it at all. In the fullness of time, after looking at all of the pros and cons of the matter, I expect we shall come up with a programme or campaign to address this.” The Emperor Valley Zoo is not alone in its saggy pants ban. The Office of the Prime Minister is one of many government institutions which does not allow entrance to visitors or staff, who have on one or more of the following — sleeveless tops, short pants, rubber slippers and saggy pants.
While there isn’t a nationwide ban on wearing these items in public spaces, nor has legislation been introduced to do so, such moves have been made within the United States.
In February 2012, the Alabama House of Representatives unanimously passed a Montgomery county ordinance, dubbed the “Saggy Pants” Bill, which imposed a fine of up to US$100 for juveniles and up to US$150 for adults cited for wearing “saggy pants.”
A few months later, in October 2012, the City Council of Cocoa, Florida voted three-to-one in favour of a new ordinance which barred persons in “public view from wearing pants or skirts below the waistline that expose the undergarments or the skin.” That law was scheduled to come into effect on January 1.