Camouflage clothing

In much of the Caribbean, camouflage clothing is for soldiers only, not civilians. — Joseph Bonet, U.S. Army

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. People here in the United States take a lot of their freedoms for granted. If the citizens of this country were to stop and compare their freedoms to those of other people in countries around the world, they would realize just how blessed and fortunate they are.

Take for example the fact that we all can wear whatever we want, whenever we want here in the U.S., just so long as it is not “totally” obscene. In Time Square in New York City, for example, we have seen people dressed like the Statue of Liberty, snake charmers, superheroes, Mickie Mouse, police officers, Donald Trump, Donald Duck. The list goes on and on.

With all that freedom, who knew that it is against the law in many Caribbean countries for a civilian to wear camouflage? I certainly didn’t. I just stumbled across the fact about a week ago. In countries such as Antigua, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, it is against the law for civilians to wear camouflage clothing or accessorize with anything that has a camouflage print. Camouflage is considered to be strictly for military or law enforcement uniform, so the print cannot be worn in public by anyone who is not in “active” military or law enforcement status.

Yes, the rule applies to you too, Mr. and Mrs. Tourists.

Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines have zero tolerance for anyone (including visitors as well as locals) who break the law by wearing camouflage clothing in public. In St. Lucia not only is wearing any form of camouflage clothing illegal but also carrying bags with that print. In Barbados it is illegal to wear any camouflage clothing or display any item containing camouflage material. In Jamaica, the Parliament has put in place a law that allows only the police or soldiers to wear camouflage clothing as a uniform. They want to make sure that there is no mistaking who is a law enforcement officer.

Daphne James served in the military in Jamaica. She said that when her son visited the island a few years ago, he decided that he would wear one of his favorite pairs of camouflage shorts. Since they don’t live together, she had no idea what he planned to wear, so she did not have the opportunity to warn him. When he arrived in Customs, they pulled him out of line and told him that he had to remove the shorts or be sent back to the states. “What else could he do but follow orders,” said James, “He went and took them off immediately so that he could enjoy his vacation.”

Break the law and you could face up to $2,000 or more in fines or possibly serve some jail time. Why not get it right the first time so you can enjoy yourself and keep your money in your pocket?

There are a few other laws in the Caribbean that I think would interest you.

Going to Grenada? Just remember to wear your modesty hat and take off that itsy bitsy, teenie weenie bikini before you hit the streets. You have a coverup? That doesn’t matter. Swimwear is for the beach only. If you plan to disregard this law, make sure that you bring an extra $270 with you so that you can pay the fine.

Caribbean people love to hang their clothes outside to dry because of that fresh clean air smell, but in Trinidad and Tobago there are rules about hanging your clothes near the street. Do not hang your clothes on a wall that faces a street or hang your clothes over any part of the street. If you do, you could face up to $250 in fines.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Well, words will hurt in St. Lucia and St. Kitts. In St. Lucia, you can be fined to the tune of $1,000 for being mean-spirited, insulting or threatening. In St. Kitts, they need you to come with the clean version of yourself and leave the profane version at home. Cursing is against the law. Apparently both DMX and 50 Cent were arrested after using profanity-laced language during their concerts there. They had to post bail to get out of jail.

Finally, if you want to be evenly tanned, you won’t achieve that goal in Barbados. Topless or nude sunbathing is illegal.

Many of the laws are similar and originate from a very proper British history. You’ve heard the saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” It means when visiting a foreign country, follow the customs of those who live in it. Another way of looking at it is when you are in an unfamiliar situation, you should follow the lead of those who know the ropes. First and foremost, stay safe when you travel.

Don’t be like the people on 90 Day Fiancé. Know before you go.

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