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Republic’s decision should be respected

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It was quite interesting to read the news story about Republic Bank’s no-hat policy to protect customers, in which Rastafarian Michael Scott claimed to be booted out of the bank because he refused to remove his hat after being told of the no-hat, no-cellphone policy. Scott also claimed that the bank was discriminating against “Rastamen” even though he admits to being a customer for 32 years. It was also without merit to compare removing a hat to removing a hijab, orhni or Baptist headwear, which have their own cultural significance.

I would like to offer Scott some comfort in knowing that one of my male relatives recently visited another branch of this bank and was also asked to remove his cap. This relative is neither a Rastafarian nor is he aspiring to be one. He simply happens to be an elderly pensioner who never goes anywhere without his cap. He protested to the security officer at first, but accepted that it was the bank’s policy.

The world is not the same as it was three decades ago, as we see each and every day. Anyone can walk into a bank concealing a weapon under their hat or speak to an accomplice from their cell phone. For this reason, banks, other organisations and especially airports have now implemented new policies to protect law-abiding citizens and the general public.

According to the newspaper report, Scott did not want to be subjected to the humiliation of removing his hat in full public view (of a confined space) and was very defiant about it, yet it’s funny how easily he removed his headwear for the photographer, in order to have his photo published on the front page of a national newspaper. I suppose everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame.

Vashti Bowlah
Via e-mail


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