How to address the Governor General of Jamaica?
Sir Patrick Allen, Governor General Of Jamaica
Answered by Aneisha Dobson, Associate Writer
Have you ever noticed during formal events how the head officials are uniquely addressed?
For instance, if we are going to address the present prime minister, one would say “The Most Honourable Andrew Holness, ON, PC, QC”.
On the other hand, other government ministers are addressed as “The Honourable”.
So, how does one go about addressing the Governor General of Jamaica?
Before we dive into the title question, let me share some insight into the role of the governor general with you.
What is the Governor General's role? How is he appointed
Did you know that the Queen is the Head of State in Jamaica?
Yes, that’s right!
Despite attaining independence in 1962, Jamaica is still a Commonwealth realm.
For those who don’t know, a Commonwealth realm is a sovereign nation which recognizes Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as it’s Head of State.
Currently, there are 16 Commonwealth realms, Jamaica including. In each realm, the Queen appoints a representative to carry out various functions and duties. This person is known as the Governor General.
According to Section 27 of the Jamaica Constitution (1962):
“There shall be a Governor - General of Jamaica who shall be appointed by Her Majesty and shall hold office during Her Majesty’s pleasure and who shall be Her Majesty’s representative in Jamaica.”
The Governor General is appointed by Her Majesty The Queen through the advice of the Prime Minister and Her Majesty bestows all authority in Jamaica to the Governor General.
Roles and Responsibility
The Governor-General can exercise his authority directly or indirectly.
It is important to note that the Office of the Governor is non-partisan, i.e. he has no allegiance to any political party.
- The Governor-General provides independent guidance to the Government and is known to have regular meetings with the Prime Minister and, if necessary, other Members of Cabinet and the Leader of the Opposition.
- The Governor-General is also responsible for the appointment and swearing-in of the following individuals:
• Prime Minister
• Leader of the Opposition
• Cabinet Ministers
• The Chief Justice
• President of the Court of Appeal etc.
- The Governor-General also holds legislative function. Before a Bill becomes the law it must be approved by the Governor-General.
- In addition, the Governor-General is visible to the citizens of Jamaica through his presence at various educational, cultural and charitable national events; community outreach programmes and annual parish tours.
His Excellency sure has a lot on his plate.
The Governor General Of Jamaica, then and now
Currently, His Excellency The Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen serves as the Governor General of Jamaica.
Here’s a list of all the Governor Generals since Independence:
▷ 1957 – 1962: Sir Kenneth Blackburne (Governor)
▷ 1962 (Aug. - Nov.): Sir Kenneth Blackburne
▷ Dec 1962 – 1973: The Most Hon. Sir Clifford Campbell
▷ Jan 1973 – 1991: The Most Hon. Sir Florizel Glasspole
▷ Aug. 1991 -2006: The Most Hon. Sir Howard Cooke
▷ Feb. 2006 – 2009: The Most Hon. Professor Kenneth Hall
▷ Feb. 2009-Now: His Excellency The Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen
Now, to our title question...How do we go about addressing the Governor General?
If you noticed, when mentioning the current Governor-General, I addressed him as “His Excellency”.
This is how the Governor-General is generally addressed, but let’s get more specific.
- Addressing the Governor-General and spouse when being spoken to directly:
▷ Governor-General or Governor-General’s spouse: “Your Excellency”
▷ Governor-General and spouse: “Your Excellencies”
- Addressing the Governor-General and spouse when being spoken about outside their presence:
▷ Governor-General or Governor-General’s spouse: “His Excellency” or “ Her Excellency”
▷ Governor-General and spouse: “Their Excellencies”
Here’s is the style of addressing the present Governor General:
His Excellency the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Linton Allen, Member of the Order of the Nation, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Member of the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander, Knight of Grace of The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, Governor-General of Jamaica.
But that’s a mouthful, isn’t it?
Luckily there is an abbreviated version:
His Excellency the Most Honourable Sir Patrick L. Allen, ON, GCMG, CD, KSt.J
And this is the style of addressing the present Governor General’s wife:
"Her Excellency the Most Honourable Lady Allen".
If you are going to address them both in writing, here’s the correct style:
"Their Excellencies the Most Honourable Sir Patrick L. Allen, ON, GCMG, CD, KSt.J Governor-General and the Most Honourable Lady Allen"
"Their Excellencies The Governor-General and the Most Honourable Lady Allen".
Other Important Graces
Here’s some other tips to remember when the Governor General and his spouse is attending a function:
▷ It is required that all guest be in place before the The Governor General (and wife if she accompanies him) arrive. Failure to do so without a reasonable excuse is a sign of disrespect.
▷ The host or other officials of the organisations should meet The Governor General (and wife if she accompanies him) at the main entrance of the venue.
▷ The Governor-General should receive a copy of the programme and a list of the high officials who will attend the function one-week in advance of the date of the event.
▷ When The Governor General (and wife if she accompanies him) enter the room all in attendance are expected to stand and remain standing for the National Anthem.
The National Anthem is played when The Governor General (and wife if she accompanies him) stands in the assigned place.
▷ When acknowledging the protocol before their speech, the speakers may thank the Chairman first, and then address the Governor General by saying “Your Excellency” or Your Excellencies” if his wife is present.
Interesting facts, right?
Knowing how to address the Governor General is very important especially when requesting congratulatory messages, requesting birthday and anniversary congratulatory letters and inviting the Governor General and his spouse to attend public functions.
Remember knowledge is power, so share this article with someone.
If you wish to know more about His Excellency, visit the official website of Jamaica's governor general at www.kingshouse.gov.jm