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 Protocol Procedures for the Prime Minister

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The Prime Minister, like the Governor-General, as the Head of Government, is entitled to certain privileges and courtesies.  He/she has the right of precedence in all circumstances, except when the Governor-General is in attendance.  Particular rules of protocol have been established in connection with the performance of the duties of the Prime Minister, which are not altogether dissimilar to that of the Governor-General.

This chapter outlines a few fundamental rules pertaining to the Governor General and his/her spouse, for guidance.


Invitations to the Prime Minister and spouse should always be sent in the form of a letter.  It is not correct to send only a printed invitation card.  This of course does not apply to private   invitations sent to the Prime Minister and spouse by their families and close friends.

The Prime Minister 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 them.


When the Prime Minister 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 such as receiving guests if it is a large function, or awaiting the Prime Minister’s arrival in a special room with certain distinguished guests.

As a matter of courtesy the Prime Minister’s office should be informed of the name of the official meeting him/her well in advance of the function.

On occasions when the Prime Minister or spouse visits exhibitions or similar functions, a senior official must always be in attendance until he/she leaves.

The Prime Minister, accompanied by the host or senior official who has met him/her at the door, always goes first down a corridor, through a door or entering an elevator or car.  The one exception is one of the Prime Minister’s security officers who precedes him/her to make sure all is in readiness.  Other security officers walk behind.

When to Play the National Anthem

In the absence of the Governor-General, the National Anthem is played when the Prime Minister (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.

Presentation of Certificates and Prizes

On occasion when the Prime Minister 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 Prime Minister, and spouse, if accompanied, should be met outside (weather permitting) at the door of a building by the President or Chairman of the Organisation, or a senior official.  

Seating at Table[1]

If there is a large head table, the Prime Minister 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:

  • the host/hostess and Prime Minister
  • the hosts’/hostess’ spouse and the spouse of the Prime Minister

At a large formal dinner the Prime Minister should sit on the right of the Chairman 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.  There are, however other appropriate seating arrangements.  The Prime Minister’s security officer should sit at a table immediately in front of the Prime Minister in order to be available if required.

At a dinner or reception of any size, the Prime Minister is served first, his/her spouse second.


A speaker at dinner (or other function) addresses the Chairman first, "Mr./Madam Chairman", followed by "Mr/Madam Prime Minister” or “Honourable (followed by full name) and Mr/Mrs followed by surname” if the Prime Minister is accompanied by his/her spouse, for example “Honourable Dr Kenny D Anthony and Mrs Anthony”.

It is preferable that any remarks by the Prime Minister be made early in the programme.


When the Prime Minister, leaves a dinner or other function, the guests stand until the Prime Minister and party have withdrawn. The Prime Minister, preceded by his security officer, 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 Prime Minister and spouse are greeted by the host and/or hostess at the door. The host/hostess greets the Prime Minister, presents his/her spouse to the Prime Minister, they then greet the Prime Minister’s spouse.


The Prime Minister and his/her spouse should arrive at the door of the church five (5) minutes before the commencement of the service[2].  It is customary that he/she be greeted by either the Clergy or other suitable church official.  The party proceeds to the front left-hand pew in the following order:

  • The security officer and church official
  • The Prime Minister and his/her spouse

The security officer stands at attention beside the entrance to the pew. The Prime Minister’s spouse enters first, then the Prime Minister, the security officer sitting on the aisle seat immediately behind the Prime Minister.

The congregation 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 is the same as that for Governor-General and his/her spouse but in the following order:

  • Usher
  • Prime Minister and spouse

Guests should, of course, remain standing as the Prime Minister and spouse withdraw as they follow immediately after the bridal party and before other guests.

If they attend the Reception, the Prime Minister and spouse are received first, assuming that the Governor General and spouse are not guests.  On arrival at the place of the Reception the Prime Minister and spouse are met by a member of the family or close friend and looked after during their stay.  The Prime Minister does not propose a toast, except under very unusual circumstances.


As for the Governor-General.


The Spouse of the serving Head of State or Government should receive the same courtesies, whether accompanied or not by the Governor-General or Prime Minister

[1] If the Governor-General is in attendance, then he/she along with his/her spouse takes precedence over the Prime Minister and his/her spouse.

[2] Ten minutes before, if the Governor-General is also expected to be in attendance.


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