Rules of Protocol & Responsibilities
The Governor-General, as the Representative of the Head of State, is entitled to certain privileges and courtesies. He/she retains the right of precedence in all circumstances, although he/she may, as a matter of courtesy, waive this in certain cases.
Particular rules of protocol have been established in connection with the performance of the duties of the Governor-General and this chapter outlines a few fundamental rules pertaining to the Governor General and his/her spouse, for guidance.
Invitations to the Governor General and spouse should always be sent in the form of a letter written to the Governor-General’s Private Secretary. It is not correct to send only a printed invitation card. This of course does not apply to private invitations sent to Their Excellencies by their families and close friends.
The Governor General or his/her spouse should not be invited to adjudicate in competitions, nor should they be asked to assist in the selling of tickets for charity or raffles. It is embarrassing for persons who either do not desire to purchase a ticket, or perhaps cannot afford it, to have to refuse Their Excellencies.
The Governor-General does not accord interviews to the Press or to representatives of commercial organisations, magazines, etc.
When the Governor-General arrives to attend a public function, he/she is met outside (weather permitting) at the door of a building by the senior official of the organisation, or his/her deputy, should the senior official be engaged in other NECESSARY duties – for instance receiving guests if it is a large function, or awaiting His/Her Excellency’s arrival in a special room with certain distinguished guests.
While the Governor General should have been informed of the name of the official meeting him/her, it is the duty of the ADC to introduce the official and his/her spouse should he/she be present to the Governor General, then to the Governor-General’s spouse.
On occasions when the Governor-General visits exhibitions or similar functions, a senior official must always be in attendance until he/she leaves.
The Governor-General always goes first down a corridor, through a door or entering an elevator or car. The one exception is the Governor-General’s ADC, who precedes him/her to make sure all is in readiness.
The National Anthem is played when the Governor-General (and spouse, if accompanied) reaches his/her designated seat, just before he/she sits down, NOT as he/she enters the room. All should rise at his/her entrance.
When the National Anthem is played (musical/instrumental), the 1st verse only should be heard. On the other hand, the National Anthem should be sung in its entirety.
On occasion when the Governor-General or his/her spouse is asked to present Certificates, Diplomas, Awards, Prizes etc., arrangements must be made for a suitable person (preferably of senior rank) to escort them from where they are seated to the area where the presentations are to be made, and to escort them back to their seats afterwards.
The Governor-General should be met outside (weather permitting) at the door of a building by the President or Chairman of the Organisation, or a senior official.
In being presented to the Governor-General and spouse by the Aide-de-Camp, the President, Chairman etc. precede their spouses and gentlemen precede their wives. This applies to both public and private functions.
If the Governor General is to be part of a receiving line, the line-up should be host/hostess, the Governor-General, the Governor-General’s spouse, host/hostess’ spouse.
If there is a large Head table, the Governor-General and his/her spouse, and the host and/or hostess, should remain until the last to enter the dining room. They enter the dining room in the following order:
At a large formal dinner the Governor-General should sit on the right of the Chairman or host of that dinner, regardless of the fact that there may be a “Guest Speaker” (titled or otherwise) or other distinguished guest. His/her spouse sits to the left of the Chairman or host. There are, however other appropriate seating arrangements. The ADC should sit at a table immediately in front of the Governor-General in order to be available if required.
At a dinner or reception of any size, the Governor-General is served first, his/her spouse second.
A speaker at dinner (or other function) addresses the Chairman first, “Mr./Madam Chairman”, followed by “Your Excellency” or “Your Excellencies” if the Governor-General is accompanied by his/her spouse.
It is preferable that any remarks by the Governor General be made early in the programme.
When the Governor-General, preceded by the ADC, leaves a dinner or other function, the guests stand until the Governor-General and party have withdrawn. The Governor-General, preceded by the ADC, is escorted to his/her motorcar by the Presiding Officer, or if the latter must remain with guests, by another senior official designated for this duty.
When entering a private home, the Governor-General and spouse are greeted by the host and/or hostess at the door. The host/hostess greets the Governor-General, presents his/her spouse to the Governor-General, they then greet the Governor-General’s spouse.
The Governor-General and his/her spouse should arrive at the door of the church five (5) minutes before the commencement of the service. It is customary that he/she be greeted by either the Clergy or other suitable church official. The party proceeds to the front right-hand pew in the following order:
ADC and church official
The Governor-General and his/her spouse
The ADC stands at attention beside the entrance to the pew. The Governor General’s spouse enters first, then the Governor General, the ADC sitting on the aisle seat.
The congregation rises when the Governor-General enters, and remains standing after the service until the party has withdrawn in the same order as when entering. The Clergy and church officials should be at the door to say goodbye.
The procedure should be that the Governor-General and his/her spouse attended by an ADC, are met at the church door five (5) minutes before the hour of the ceremony (and just before the entrance of the bride’s mother who enters last) by the Chief Usher, and are escorted down the aisle to the first right-hand pew in the following order:
Governor-General and Usher
Guests should rise when the Governor-General enters the Church and of course will be standing as his/her party withdraws, as they follow immediately after the bridal party and before other guests.
If they attend the Reception, the Governor-General and spouse are received first. On arrival at the place of the Reception the Governor-General and spouse are met by a member of the family or close friend and looked after during their stay. They customarily leave after the toast to the bride. The Governor-General does not propose such a toast, except under very unusual circumstances.
Arrangements are made with a member of the family or an official representing the group in charge. The Governor-General occupies the front left-hand pew and is attended by the ADC. The immediate family would normally be placed in the front pew on the right.
The Governor-General should arrive five (5) minutes before the casket in order to be met by the officiating clergy.
If the casket is carried out at the end of the service the members of the family of the deceased should follow immediately after the casket. The Governor-General comes next. The Governor-General will not normally go to the cemetery.
The Governor-General does not act as an honorary pallbearer at a funeral.
An ADC may be requested to represent the Governor-General at funerals. If he/she is a uniformed officer he/she should conform to the following:
Service dress, with medals, aiguillettes, and mourning band should be worn to the service;
At the service the ADC will sit in the first row on the left, and will leave following the chief mourners (he/she assumes the Governor-General’s precedence).
The ADC will not follow the procession to the cemetery.
The above is the only occasion on which the Governor-General is “represented” at any function, although requests come from time to time that this be done.
Attendance at funerals of relations or friends of great intimacy is of course a personal matter and no ADC attends the Governor-General, but proper arrangements for seating should nevertheless be made with a member of the family.
When the Governor-General is at a service attended by any group such as the Police Service, Scouts, Guides etc., he/she will probably be invited to take the salute at the March Past after the service, but an invitation to be present at the service is also extended by the Minister of the Church.
The Governor-General rides in the right-hand rear seat, his/her spouse sits in the left-hand rear seat.
The ADC rides in the left front seat. There are no exceptions to this rule.
The doors of the vehicle should be held open by the ADC and Orderly.
The Governor-General must always get out of the right-hand side of the car.
Immediately after the Governor-General leaves the car, his/her ensign should be furled.
When entering the car the Governor-General’s spouse or guest should enter first – NOT go around the car to enter on the left-hand side.
The Governor General always arranges to arrive at a function on time. The established protocol is that all persons attending a function at which the Governor-General is in attendance, are expected to arrive before and to be in their place before his/her arrival. Failure to do so without a reasonably good excuse is regarded as a sign of disrespect to the Office of Governor General, and ultimately to the People of Saint Lucia, whom he/she represents.
Request for use of space – 3 months prior
H.E. attendance for inviations – 2 months prior
Program to be sent – Official letter to be sent 1 week prior to the event