Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 15th 2016 Contents A15
Monday, August 15, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Results will soon be out. You may be wondering...
On the same day that
Black Power revolutionary
Makandal Daaga was laid
to rest, claims of a young
black man being threatened
with termination from his
job at an insurance compa-
ny because of his hairstyle
went viral on social media.
Colfire, the insurance
company in question, how-
ever denied the allegations
levelled against them.
Daaga, who played an
instrumental role in the
Black Power movement in
the 1970, passed away at
Port-of-Spain General Hos-
pital, last Monday.
Daaga, whose birth name
was Geddes Granger, was
laid to rest in a funeral serv-
ice held at Queen s Park
Savannah, on Saturday.
Speaking to the Sunday
Guardian last week, Khafra
Kambon explained what the
mood in the country was
like at the time of the rev-
Kambon was in the fore-
front of the movement with
academics like Daaga, Carl
Blackwood and Russell
Andalcio, and union leaders
George Weekes, Winston
Leonard and Clive Nunez.
Kambon, whose birth
name was Dave D Abreau,
was 23 years old at the time.
"There was open racism
not only job discrimination,
and the bank is what stuck
out most in people s minds
for the simple reason that
almost everybody had to go
in the bank to put their
salary in no matter how
small, and everybody was
aware that when you went
into the bank the only per-
son who would be black was
the doorman. Nobody,
whether Indian or African,
nobody with a dark skin
worked behind that counter,"
Kambon said Daaga was
a hero to both Africans and
Indians in this country.
"At the bank it was very
obvious but you had insur-
ance companies like that,
you had a number of other
private companies that less
people went into, but the
thing with the bank every-
body went there so every-
body was aware of it as a
talk, as a buzz but the small-
er companies that dealt with
less of the public people
were not so aware of it but
it was just as bad," he said.
"There were many jobs
that no matter how qualified
you were with a dark skin
in this country you could
not get a job," Kambon said.
Kambon said at that time
blackness was not consid-
"The beauty queen show
was an annual insult to our
people. The thing is that if
you called somebody black
in the 1960s that was a rea-
son for a fight. Black was
synonymous with an insult,
and one of the things that
disturbed me was in that
time you heard the term
black and ugly as an insult.
Colfire employee threatened with dismissal over hairstyle
According to citizens on Facebook there
seemed to be shades of this era 46 years ago
when news of an incident involving Colfire
were posted on the social media site.
Maurice Ramirez posted to Facebook a
letter he received from his employer Colfire, an
insurance company in Port-of-Spain.
"Reference is made to the two discussions
held between you, the manager and assistant
manager finance and also with the
undersigned (human resources manager) with
the most recent being on July 22, 2016 in
relation to your improper professional
grooming," the letter dated August 11 stated.
"During these discussions the subject of
your unprofessional hairstyle was repeatedly
addressed. You were asked on both occasions
to comply with the company's policy as it
relates to professional image. However, it has
been observed that you have failed to comply
consistently with our policy on uniform and
dress code," it stated.
"I refer you to our Uniform and Dress code
Policy Section 8 which states that 'Hairstyle
and hair colours must be conservative. Hair
should be kept clean, neat and well groomed',"
the letter stated.
Ramirez posted a photo of himself to
accompany the letter.
"This letter serves as a final warning and we
expect immediate and sustained improvement
in your professional grooming. Kindly note
that you are required to report to work on
Monday 15th August, 2016 in keeping with our
Uniform and Dress code Policy," it stated.
"Please be advised that failure to comply
will result in further disciplinary action being
taken, up to and including termination of
services. We are confident that you will take
note of the concerns raised above," the letter
The letter was signed by Colfire's human
resources manager Rhonda Oblington-Joseph.
Social media users blasted the insurance
company for its "archaic" policy.
Citizens posted to Colfire's Facebook page
expressing outrage over the incident with
SHADES OF 1970
Colfire chairman Robert Mayers issued a
statement denying the allegations.
"We refer to the issues being aired on
certain sections of social media regarding
an internal matter with one of our staff
members. We wish to advise that our
confidentiality policy does not permit an
open discussion in the public domain.
However, we give the assurance that we
will communicate directly with the staff
member in accordance with the company's
grievance procedure policy," Mayers
"Colfire denies the damaging allegations
that have resulted from the publication of
an internal document. Colfire continues to
appreciate and value all our customers,
employees and agents," the release stated.
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