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Camouflage commotion

Baby’s pair of pants removed at airport...

By Carolyn Kissoon carolyn.kissoon@trinidadexpress.com

Ridiculous. Disgusting. Outrageous.

Those were some words used yesterday to described the actions of Customs and Excise Divisions officers at the Piarco International Airport who instructed a woman to remove her 10-month-old baby’s teddy bear camouflage pants.

There were others who agreed that the officers were right to enforce the law.

An Express reader blogged, “Some of the laws in Trinidad are so archaic, they border on the ridiculous. Imagine first world countries that are under constant threat from terrorists, you can go into any army surplus store and purchase any camouflage outfit or any paraphernalia and wear it in public. It seems that we are taking one step forward and two backward.”

Another reader posted, “To hear they asked the mother had to remove the baby’s trousers is a little upsetting, but I guess if that’s the law then so be it.”

Many readers said the law banning camouflage clothing was absurd, and needed to be removed from the law books because it was making the country appear “third world”.

The mother and son were returning home from New York City, USA, when she was asked to remove the child’s trousers. 

“We passed through immigration in the United States and nothing was mentioned about the pants. My son was in the stroller when the immigration officer told us to join the red line. He said the camouflage pants was illegal and I should remove it. I took the pants off my son and handed it over to him,” she said. The incident occurred on Monday afternoon.

The Express was told that camouflage clothing are confiscated on entry to any port in Trinidad and Tobago. The clothing is handed over to the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force where it is destroyed by burning.

The Ministry of National Security has also prohibited the importation of any camouflage pattern material without specific approval.

Travel websites advertising Trinidad and Tobago advised visitors not to wear camouflage patterned clothing on their vacation.

Worldnomads.com states, “If you have packed your camouflage cargo board shorts to wear on the beach in Trinidad and Tobago, think again. There are laws prohibiting the import of camouflage pattern materials, without permission from the Minister of National Security. It’s even illegal for children to wear camouflage clothing in public.”

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