Eyebrows were lifted as President Adama Barrow made it to the airport to receive the royal couple; the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. Despite being an heir to the throne, Prince Charles is not a sovereign or head of State and therefore President Barrow should have delegated the responsibility of the airport welcome to either his Vice President or the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
So many questions abound in this matter no matter whether it is ‘royalty or otherwise’. The President can only receive his counterpart at the airport if he is fit and able to do so and no one lesser in stature or authority.
Thus if Her Majesty was to visit the Gambia, President Barrow should definitely be in the forefront. Did protocol or any of the President’s close advisers took notice of this and advise the President? Despite the fact that President Barrow is learning fast but he still needs the advice of seasoned people around him especially in matters of this nature.
The Protocol Office at State House has some experience in all this but seem to have it wrong this time round or failed to put things right. The mayor of Banjul was hot on her heels and in utter disbelief when she realized that she was not among the list of VIPS arriving for the official welcome ceremony held on Thursday.
To make matters worse she was not even considered to make a statement on the occasion despite the fact that she is the Mayor of Banjul.
Protocol demands that as mayor she should have delivered the welcome remarks to the Royal couple and even handed the symbolic “key to the city” as a present to the Prince. Speaking to this paper, the Mayor expressed her disappointment in these serious lapses and breach of protocol noting that as Mayor of the City she plays an important role both ceremonially and officially and that her office should be treated with the respect it deserves.
Mayor Lowe said when she introduced herself to the Prince, he was taken aback. The Prince remarked “What a beautiful woman you are.” in the presence of President Barrow and VP Darboe. She said she thanked the Prince for the compliment and added that for her that was more than a compliment and took out the bitterness she felt of her being sidelined at an event held in her jurisdiction.
As the Royal couple continue their West African tour, we must take cue of some of the lapses in protocol that have been manifest in this visit. President Barrow should understand that he is a head of state and in that capacity he should only accord an airport welcome to his contemporary and no one lesser. A Head of State is a Head of state. The Prince is not sovereign but the Queen is.