A large audience comprising representatives of government, the judiciary, the diplomatic community, members of the public and well-wishers, gathered on the lawns of King’s House on Wednesday (Feb.15) for the installation of His Excellency the Most Hon. Kenneth Hall, as the country’s fifth Governor-General.
So massive was the crowd, which included President of Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency Professor Max Richards, and the Governor-General of Belize, Sir Colville Young, that those in the back had to observe the proceedings on an overhead projector.
Many of the children in attendance were awed by the fanfare of the occasion in addition to the performance of the rites of office, which included Governor-General Hall taking the Oath of Allegiance and Oath of Office, following which he received the Royal Commission from outgoing Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Howard Cooke. The Royal Commission is the symbol of the Governor-General’s executive authority, which he will now exercise on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen.
This was followed by the lowering of the outgoing Governor-General’s standard and the hoisting of the standard of the new Governor-General, to a fanfare of trumpets. The Governor-General’s standard, which is flown next to the Jamaican flag, consists of the Tudor Crown, mounted on a lion in gold, with Jamaica written beneath in scarlet. It is flown day and night at King’s House and lowered when the Governor-General demits office.
Following a medley of songs by Lt. Commander John McFarlane, the new Governor-General was then invested with the Order of the Nation, Jamaica’s second highest national honour, by Chief Justice Lensley Wolfe.
In his inaugural speech, which followed, Governor-General Hall promised to be an active participant in forging national consensus, in building social capital and projecting a self-reliant, self-confident Jamaica. “In this connection, I shall meet with a wide range of political, social, professional, religious, private sector, public sector, educational, cultural and, of course, youth organisations to gain a better insight into their views, their hopes and aspirations, as well as their plans for a better Jamaica,” he said.