To develop and maintain international relationships, one needs to maintain accurate and respectful protocol. Especially today it is distinctly significant because it not only covers conventional rules followed during official functions and how to respond to special occasions but also contributes to established rules of courtesy that are to be respected in society.
The visit of the Royal couple was just one test of protocol that may seem to have some distinct flaws no matter what importance was attached to the visit. We observe first that as a matter of state protocol, President Barrow should have delegated his lieutenants to receive the Prince at the airport.
This at the highest level should have been the Vice President or the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Did Protocol prevail? Who advises the President on such matters and failed to do so? Was it the President’s decision to receive the Royal couple at the airport?
We have many questions that need answers on this. However we strongly believe that the President should only accord such treatment to his fellow head of state. The visit by a foreign delegation indicates the highest form of mutual appreciation by two states. Therefore, the underlying protocol norms are significant. Good preparation as well as tight management is necessary for the success of the occasion. One challenge for visits by a foreign delegation is how to reconcile the directives of the host with the requests of the guests.
Our next observation takes us to the breach of protocol during the official welcome ceremony at McCarthy Square. I really wonder if we understand the role of the Mayor of a city. The Mayor is considered the ‘First Citizen’ of the city. The importance of the position is still widely recognised and remains the highest office that the citizens of the city or borough, through their elected representatives, can confer.
It makes the holder their first citizen, and, within the city the Mayor takes precedence over everyone except the sovereign or the sovereign’s representative. Under his or her ceremonial duties are to receive important visitors and give formal and informal talks at events as they occur in the city.
Unfortunately for Mayor Rohey Lowe she was not even given a chance to at least give the welcome address to the Royal couple at the opening ceremony. This was a breach of protocol and should not happen in the future. In all cases however there is a responsibility to uphold the dignity of the office of the Lord Mayor