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Shameful handling of the Governor-General’s Christmas address

The yearly Christmas address to the nation by the Governor-General is a long-standing tradition in this country. It is a comforting and proud tradition, where the representative of our head of state, His Majesty the King, speaks to the nation on this most solemn, joyful and important time of year. It is an address which in years past has been handled excellently and reverently by the Government Information Service. That was, until this year.

Watching the Governor-General’s speech this year I was horrified to see the way the Government and GIS have handled it compared to years past. While the Prime Minister’s address was given its own format, a unique intro and special pomp and circumstance, the Governor-General’s address was lumped in together with ministerial addresses, under the heading of “Christmas message by Government Ministers”, preceded by a montage of various ministers and government parliamentarians. This is shocking behaviour and handling by the government and GIS.

The Governor-General is not a government minister. The Governor-General is the representative of our head of state; constitutionally the highest office in Grenada, above even the Prime Minister. She is a nonpartisan figure above our party politics.

Relegating the Governor-General’s address to such a second-rate position, lumping it in with the addresses from ministers and government parliamentarians, is insulting and degrading to the office and to its occupant, Dame Cecile La Grenade.

It also gives the impression she is a servant of the party and government in power, which she is not. The Governor-General’s Christmas message should and must be totally divorced from any messages from or association with the political administration and governing party.

The new NDC government of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell must show respect and honour due to the highest office in this country. As someone with high hopes and admiration for our new administration, I am shocked by this callous disregard and disrespect to the Governor-General.

The government and GIS must do better next year, ensuring that the Governor General’s Christmas address is given its due; separated from the messages by government ministers.

I would furthermore implore the Office of the Governor General to return to a physical format for the speech, rather than a green screen. The current setup, with Her Excellency standing in front of a digital Christmas tree, seems cheap, haphazard and poorly produced.

The Governor-General’s office should take notes from the production quality and style of the Prime Minister’s address, which was excellent and professional.

I would also recommend they take inspiration from the Christmas address to the Commonwealth by His Majesty the King, in terms of production, style and tone. A message to the nation by the representative of our head of state should be professional and well-made, not a cheap, ramshackle production.

The Grenada Loyalist