Attendance at Public Functions

In fulfilling his social and traditional roles, the Governor-General and his wife attend many public functions during each calendar year on the invitation of individuals, community and civic groups or organisations.

  • 6.1. Invitations
    • 6.1.1. Invitations to Their Excellencies for such events must be submitted in writing, and must include the following information:
      • Background information on the event and/or individual, organisation, etc.
      • Date and time of the event and whether these are flexible
      • Venue
      • Mode of Dress
      • The role you would wish the Governor-General and/ or his wife to play, if any, such as, speech delivery, presentation of awards, special guest, etc
      • Expected number of participants
      • Name, postal address, email address and telephone numbers of two contact persons
    • 6.1.2. The invitation should be sent by post to:
      Private Secretary to the Governor General
      Government House
      Independence Drive
      St. John's

      or by email
    • 6.1.3. Invitations are to be addressed to "Their Excellencies" in cases where the Governor-General and his wife are being invited to attend the function.
    • 6.1.4. It is recommended that invitations be submitted at least four(4) weeks in advance. Should the invitation be accepted, the Private Secretary to the Governor-General will respond in writing, and the Aide-de-Camp to the Governor-General will discuss all matters relating to the courtesies that are expected will be extended to the Governor-General at the event.
    • 6.1.5. Invitations submitted on a printed card only which may be deficient in the required information should be accompanied by a letter, except for private ones sent to Their Excellencies by their families and close friends.
    • 6.1.6. The Governor-General and his wife should not be invited to adjudicate competitions nor to assist in selling tickets for charity or raffles.
  • 6.2. Greeting on Arrival
    • 6.2.1. On arrival at public functions, the Governor-General and his wife are to be met at the main entrance of the venue by the senior official of the organisation, or another senior official who is appointed to receive Their Excellencies.
    • 6.2.2. The Aide-de-Camp will introduce the senior official and his/her spouse to the Governor-General and then to the wife of the Governor-General.
    • 6.2.3. At least one week in advance of the date of the event, a copy of the programme as well as a list of the other officials who will attend the function are to be submitted to the Governor-General. Whenever the Governor- General and or his spouse visit exhibitions or similar events, a senior official must always be in attendance with them until they depart.
  • 6.3. Speeches
    • 6.3.1. The speakers will address the Master of Ceremonies first, followed by "Your Excellency" or "Your Excellencies" if the Governor-General is accompanied by his wife.
    • 6.3.2. For private functions, the Host should be addressed first followed by "Your Excellency" or "Your Excellencies"
    • 6.3.3. The long format of acknowledgements requires that dignitaries be identified in accordance with the table of precedence. This should be prepared by the organizers and placed on the lectern from where the speeches are made so that the proper protocols are established.
    • 6.3.4. As it relates to the short format of acknowledgements, it is proper protocol to request waiver of acknowledgements rather than to assume that it is adopted. For example, the shortened form of acknowledgement should be rendered as follows:
      'Master of Ceremonies,
      Your Excellency or Your Excellencies,
      I crave your indulgence to adopt the protocols previously

      The presentation can then begin.
    • 6.3.5. It is recommended that any remarks to be made by the Governor-General be made early in the programme.
    • 6.3.6. Where His Excellency or Her Excellency is invited to present a speech, a well lit lectern should be provided. Additionally, an updated list of dignitaries actually present at the event should be provided on the lectern.
    • 6.3.7. In the case where Governor General's Spouse attends an official function without the Governor General in attendance, the same courtesies which are extended to the Governor General should be extended to the spouse.
  • 6.4. Time of Arrival and Departure

    Event hosts should expect the Governor General to arrive on time at functions. The established protocol is that all guests at any function at which the Governor-General is in attendance, are expected to be in place before the arrival of Their Excellencies.
    • 6.4.1. On arrival at the event, the Aide-de-Camp to the Governor General will announce his arrival and ask the audience to stand.
    • 6.4.2. All persons are expected to remain standing until the Governor General and his wife if she accompanies him reaches to their designated seats.
    • 6.4.3. If the National Anthem is to be played or sung, this is only done after His Excellency or Their Excellencies have reach their seat.
    • 6.4.4. The national anthem is normally played at official functions upon arrival of the Governor General except in cases where it is not deemed mandatory.
    • 6.4.5. At the end of a function, the Master of Ceremony is expected to ask the audience to stand for the departure of the Governor General and his wife if she accompanies him and remain in their places until when Their Excellencies are escorted from the event venue.
    • 6.4.6. The organizers of the event are to make provisions for parking for the official vehicles for Their Excellencies. These provisions are to be approved in advance by the Aide-de-Camp to the Governor General.
    • 6.4.7. According to established protocols, the Prime Minister is expected to arrive five (5) minutes before the Governor General in cases where they are both attending the same function. The personal security staff for the Governor General and Prime Minister will coordinate arrival of the Head of Government and Head of State respectively.
  • 6.5. The Governor-General's Team

    The Governor-General is usually accompanied by an Aide-de-Camp as well as security personnel (at least four in number). Other members of his team may include the Governor-General's Permanent Secretary and his Private Secretary. The number of persons in the party may increase depending on the nature of the event. Her Excellency is usually accompanied by her Lady-in-Waiting and security personnel (One (1) officer). When Their Excellencies attend functions together the number of persons in the team may increase. Information regarding the composition of the Governor-General's team will be communicated to the organisers in advance by the Governor-General's Personal Secretary or Aide-de-Camp.
    • 6.5.1. Organizers of events are required to make provisions at the event for the Aide-de-Camp and members of the security personnel
  • 6.6. Seating of the Governor General
    • 6.6.1. For formal dinner or lunch seating hosted by the State, the Governor General is normally seated at the Head of the Table.
    • 6.6.2. The Prime Minister if he is in attendance should be seated on the right of the Governor General. Seating for other guests should be done at the discretion of the host giving consideration to the order of precedence.
    • 6.6.3. For dinners not hosted by the State, the host is normally seated at the Head of the Table and the Governor General is seated on the right of the host. The spouse of the Governor can be seated on the left of the host OR on the right of the spouse of the host.
    • 6.6.4. Provision is to be made for the Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to the Governor General to be seated in reasonably close proximity to His Excellency or Their Excellencies which is usually in the seat in the row directly behind His Excellency. In some cases, modifications can be made after discussions with the ADC.
    • 6.6.5. At all other events with the exception of weddings, christenings, baptisms, funerals etc where families need to take precedence, the seating arrangement will be as follows:
      • The Governor General and his spouse if present, are to sit on the right side at the front.
      • The Prime Minister and his spouse if present will sit on the left side at the front.
      • Normally, space is left on either side of the Head of State and Head of Government. However in circumstances where space is required consultations may be held with the Aides to the Governor General and the Prime Minister respectively.
      • As it relates to the Governor General's seating in a vehicle the Governor General is always seated in the left rear seat and the spouse in the right rear seat.

For any further information on these protocol guidelines, please contact the Office of the Governor General - 268 462 0002/3/4

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