Our National Flag belongs to all our citizens.
Our National Coat of Arms, with our National Birds inscribed therein, is the sacred trust of all our citizens. So it is today, please I urge you, let it always be so. Let us always be able to say with the Psalmist, behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. Dr. Eric Williams, August 31 1962.
The adopted upon Independence from the United Kingdom on 31 August 1962. Designed by Carlisle Chang, the flag was chosen by the independence committee of 1962.
The width of the Black and White bands joined side by side at the upper dexter corner of the Flag is one-fifth of the full length of the Flag, and the width of each white band is one-sixth of the width of the White and Black bands together. The width of the Black is therefore four-sixths of the total width of the White and Black.” (The width of the white stripes is 1⁄30 of the flag length and the width of the black stripe is 2⁄15. The total width of the three stripes together is therefore 1⁄5 of the length.)
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE COLOURS OF THE FLAG
The Black represents the dedication of the people joined together by one strong bond. It is the colour of strength, of unity of purpose, and of the wealth of the land. Red is the colour most expressive of our country; it represents the vitality of the land and its peoples; it is the warmth and energy of the sun, the courage and friendliness of the people. White is the sea by which these lands are bound; the cradle of our heritage; the purity of our aspirations and the equality of all men under the sun. Thus, the colours chosen - Black, White and Red - represent the elements of Earth, Water and Fire which encompass all our past, present and future; and inspire us as one united, vital, free and dedicated people.
SPECIAL DAYS FOR FLYING THE NATIONAL FLAG
The dates of special significance for this country on which the
National Flag may be flown freely by all citizens are:
1. Independence Day - 31st August
2. Republic Day - 24th September
3. Remembrance Day - 2nd Sunday in November
4. Any other date that may be prescribed from time to time.
1. The President’s Standard is a personal standard and should fly continuously, day and night, as long as His Excellency is in residence.
2. The President’s Standard should be lowered as His Excellency leaves the grounds of his official residence only when he is to be away for the night. On such days when His Excellency is to be away for the night, his Standard is immediately upon his departure, replaced by the National Flag between the hours of 6.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. On His Excellency’s return, as he enters the grounds, his Standard is hoisted and the National Flag (if flying) lowered.
3. When the National Flag is flown in place of the President’s Standard it should be lowered at 6.00 p.m. and hoisted again at 6.00 a.m. daily. The National Flag should be flown from the same mast as that used for the President’s Standard.
4. On the special days of national significance, the National Flag should be flown together with the President’s Standard to the left of it and at the same height on a separate flagstaff. When the National Flag is flown with the President’s Standard, it should be hoisted at 6.00 a.m. and lowered at 6.00 p.m.
5. The President’s Standard being a personal standard, should never be flown at half-mast except in the event of the death of the President. When occasion requires that a flag be flown at half-mast, the National Flag should be used.
PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICIAL RESIDENCE
The National Flag should be flown daily from 6.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. at the Prime Minister’s official residence.
The National Flag should be flown daily during working hours on or in the precincts of important Government Buildings. On the special days for the display of the Flag, the Flag should be from 8.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.
The National Flag should be flown on school days on or in the precincts of all state and state-aided educational institutions from 8.00 a.m. to closing time. On the first day of the term the flag should be ceremonially hoisted and, on the last day, ceremonially lowered. In this context the term “ceremonially” should be taken to mean in the presence of all the students assembled, and with the singing of the National Anthem.
PAYING RESPECT TO THE NATIONAL FLAG AND OTHER FLAGS
While the National Flag is being raised or lowered or while it is passing in a parade or review, all persons should pay respect it by standing at attention and facing the Flag. Men in civilian dress should remove their hats. Persons in uniform should salute. The Defence Force Colours should receive the same respect. (Standards, ensigns or emblems of institutional or voluntary organisations need only to be paid respect by members of the institutions or organisations according to their individual customs).
USE OR POSSESSION OF A CEREMONIAL FLAG
A Ceremonial Flag is a National flag usually braided around its three (3) sides in white.
The inclusion of braiding on a national flag effectively negates its use for official purposes, i.e. a ceremonial flag must NEVER be flown, and can only be used for decorative or ceremonial use indoors. The President of Trinidad and Tobago, as Commander in Chief of the Defence Force, is the only individual authorised to use and or display a ceremonial version of Trinidad and Tobago’s National flag.
GUIDELINES FOR THE USE OF THE NATIONAL FLAG
Hoisting and lowering of the Flag The Flag should be hoisted briskly to the top of the staff, care being taken to ensure that it occupies the correct position on the halyard, the right upper corner of the flag being at the peak of the staff. The Flag is to be lowered slowly and with dignity.
Display of the National Flag with other flags and emblems
(a) In this country and at its Overseas Missions, no other flag, colour, standard, ensign, or other emblem should be displayed above or to the right of the National Flag, that is, the Flag’s own right, or the observer’s left. All other flags flown together with the National Flag of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago should be placed to the left of it.
(b) When the flags of two or more nations are displayed together they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height and all the flags should be as far as possible of the same size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another in time of peace.
(c) When the National Flag is flown with other flags it must be the first to go up and the last to come down. It must never be lowered while other flags are flying or are being hoisted.
(d) When the National Flag is flown in a group with local flags, standards, ensigns, or emblems, such as those belonging to our Townships, institutions, societies, and organisations, it should be at the centre and at the highest point in the group.
(e) When the National Flag or any other flag or flags are displayed from crossed staffs against a wall, the National Flag should be on the right (the flag’s own right), with its staff placed in the front of any other staff or staffs as the case may be.
Display of Flag in horizontal position or at an angle
When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from a window sill, balcony, or the front of a building, the upper dexter quarter of the flag (or more simply, the top right corner of the flag) should go clear to the peak of the staff provided the flag is not being displayed at half-mast.
Display of Flag without staff
(i) When the Flag hangs over a sidewalk from a rope extending from house to a pole standing at the edge of the sidewalk it is displayed vertically, the upper dexter quarter towards the pole.
(ii) When the Flag is being displayed but not flown from a staff, it should be displayed flat and fully extended, whether indoors or out, or so suspended that its folds fall as freely as if the Flag was staffed.
(iii) When the Flag is displayed over a street it should be suspended vertically with the upper dexter (right) quarter to the North in an EastWest Street or to the East in a North-South Street.
The National Flag in a Parade
(i) The National Flag should not be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free, and borne to the front and middle of the Stand-bearer.
(ii) The National Flag when carried abreast in a procession with another flag or with other flags should be on the marcher’s right (the right being the position of honour) with the other flags to the left of it. If the procession takes the form of a line of flags, the National Flag should be at the front of the centre of that line.
(iii) The salute to the Flag in a moving column by those present in uniform should be rendered at the moment the Flag passes.
(iv) When the Flag is displayed from a float or motor car the staff should be securely clamped to the chassis or the right fender.
(v) The Flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of any vehicle, railway train, or boat.
Display of Flag in Church
The Flag if used in the chancel of a church should be borne on a staff at the clergyman’s right as he faces the congregation. Any other flags should be placed on his left. When displayed on a staff in a chapel in front of the chancel, or in the body of the church, it should be flown from the congregation’s right facing the chancel or platform; any other flags in the body of the church should be to the left of the congregation.
Display of Flag at public meetings, etc.
(i) When used on a rostrum, the Flag should be placed, if displayed flat, behind the speaker and high above his head and above all other decorations, and in its normal position as when it flies from a staff; i.e. the upper dexter quarter should be uppermost and form the right side of the flag as it faces the audience.
(ii) When the Flag is displayed from a staff on a speaker’s platform, it should be placed at the speaker’s right in the position of honour. If displayed in the body of the auditorium, facing the platform, it should fly from a staff at the right of the audience. Other flags in the body of the auditorium should be displayed from staffs standing to the left of the audience facing the speaker.
(iii) The National Flag must not be used to cover a speaker’s desk or be draped in front of the platform.
The Flag at Unveiling of Monuments
The Flag may be displayed at the Ceremony of unveiling a statue or monument, but on such occasions, it should not be used to cover the statue or monument.
The Flag at Funerals
The National Flag may be used at official funerals. It is draped over the coffin with the upper dexter quarter at the head and over the left shoulder of the deceased. The Flag is secured at the four corners. It should be removed before the coffin is lowered into the grave and should not be allowed to touch the ground. These rules also apply to a burial at sea.
The Flag in Mourning:
Half-mast The National Flag is flown at halfmast (or half-staff) when the Nation is in mourning. Half-mast refers to the lowering of the Flag by its own depth from its normal position at the peak of the staff. When the Flag is flown at half-mast, it is first hoisted to the top of the staff for an instant, then lowered to the halfmast position. Before lowering for the day the Flag is again raised to the top of the staff.
The Flag should be flown at halfmast:
(a) On the day of the death and funeral day of:
(i) The President
(ii) The Prime Minister
(iii) The President of the Senate
(iv) The Speaker of the House of Representatives
(v) Members of the Cabinet
(vi) Other notable citizens and residents of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago as may be announced by the Minister of National Security.
(b) On other occasions as may be prescribed by the Minister of National Security.
When any of these days of mourning on which the Flag is required to fly at half-mast falls on one of the special days of national significance, the National Flag should nevertheless be flown at full mast on that day, unless special instructions to the contrary are received from the Minister of National Security.
Flying the Flag at Night
The National Flag may be displayed in the open after sunset when it should be floodlit if possible.
PROHIBITED USES OF THE NATIONAL FLAG
1. The National Flag must not be dipped to any person or thing; this honour will be rendered by the Defence Force Colours or where appropriate by the flags of the institutions, organisations etc.
2. The National Flag should not be used for purposes of adornment or advertising. It should not be printed or embroidered or otherwise reproduced on such articles as handkerchiefs, uniforms or clothing of any kind, or furniture, cushions, etc. It should not be printed or otherwise impressed on paper boxes or napkins or anything intended for temporary use and discard. It should not be used as any part of a disguise costume.
3. The Flag should not have placed on it or attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, work, figure, design, picture or drawing. It should not be used as a commercial trade mark. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the National Flag is flown.
4. The Flag should not be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying or delivering anything.
5. The Flag should not be festooned over doorways, arches, etc., or tied in a bowknot, or fashioned into a rosette, or used as draping. It should not be drawn back or drawn up in folds but always allowed to fall free.
6. The Flag should not be displayed, used or stored in such a manner as would permit it to be easily torn, soiled or damaged in any way.
7. The Flag should not be used as a covering for a ceiling.
8. The Flag should not be allowed to touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water or merchandise.