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NATIONAL FLAG

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  • DESCRIPTION OF THE NATIONAL FLAG
  • OFFICIAL USE OF THE NATIONAL FLAG
  • RULES FOR THE DISPLAY OF THE NATIONAL FLAG
  • THE FLAG IN MOURNING
  • PROHIBITED USES OF THE NATIONAL FLAG

THE OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION AND DIMENSIONS OF THE FLAG
The national flag was designed by the Independence Committee and selected to be used as the National Flag in 1962. Its colours are red, white and black.

Red is the colour most expressive of our country. It represents the vitality of the land and its people; 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.

The Black represents for us 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. The colours chosen represent the elements Earth, Water and Fire which encompass all our past, present and future and inspire us as one united, vital, free and dedicated people.

The official description of the Flag reads as follows:

“On a Red Field, a Bend Dexter Sable bordered Silver; that is to say, there is on the Red Field a diagonal from left to right in Black bordered with White. 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 Black and White diagonals must always point to the peak of the staff.

“The dimensions of the National Flag shall be in the proportions of five to three (5:3). For flags carried at sea the dimensions shall be two to one (2:1).”


Source: Trinidad and Tobago. Ministry of Home Affairs. Our Flag and Other National Emblems. Trinidad: Government of Trinidad and Tobago, 1962. Print.

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 as follows:

  • Independence Day - 31st August
  • Republic Day - 24th September
  • Remembrance Day - 2nd Sunday in November
  •  Any other date that may be prescribed from time to time.

PRESIDENT'S RESIDENCES
The President's Standard is a personal standard and should fly continuously, day and night, as long as Her Excellency is in residence.

The President's Standard should be lowered as Her Excellency leaves the grounds of Government House only when she is to be away for the night. On such day when Her Excellency is to be away for the night, her Standard is, immediately on her departure, replaced by the National Flag between the hours of 6.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. On Her Excellency's return, as she enters the grounds, her Standard is hoisted and the National Flag (if flying) lowered.

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.

On the special days of national significance listed in section III above, 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.

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 demands 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.

GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS
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 listed in section III above, the Flag should be flown from 8.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.

EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
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.

MOTOR CARS
The under-mentioned persons may, besides their own distinctive flags, fly the National Flag on their official or private cars when occupied by them for travelling on official duty: at other times the National Flag on such cars should be removed or sheathed.

  • The Prime Minister
  • The President of the Senate
  • The Speaker of the House of Representatives
  • Members of the Cabinet
  • Heads of the Country's Permanent Overseas Missions.

The Flag should be on a staff firmly affixed to the right fender of the car, the staff being of sufficient height to ensure that the Flag does not touch the body of the car.

OVERSEAS MISSIONS
At Overseas Establishments of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the National Flag should be flown daily unless this is contrary to the law or custom of the country in which the Mission is located. In any event, the Flag should be flown on the special days specified in section III above and on such other special occasions as may be prescribed by the responsible Minister.

FLAG STATION
The National Flag will be flown under arrangements made by the Commander, Trinidad and Tobago Regiment at a Government Flag Station from 6.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.

THE COAST GUARD
On Coast Guard vessels, flags will be flown in the following manner:

  • When in harbour, daily from 8.00 a.m. to sunset, the National Flag at the bow and the Coast Guard ensign at the stern;
  • When at sea, by day or night, the Coast Guard ensign at the stern;
  • At all times whilst the vessel is in commission, a commissioning pendant at the mast head.

THE MERCHANT NAVY
The Merchant Shipping Act lays down that all British merchant ships should fly the designated flag of their country of registration when entering or leaving harbour and when required by Her Majesty's ships to do so. All merchant vessels registered in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago should fly the National Flag in the stern of the vessel in accordance with this requirement. In harbour, the flag should be flown between the hours of 8.00 a.m. and sunset.

When visiting foreign ports, merchant vessels flying the national flag, should observe the custom whereby the national flag of the country visited is flown at the yard arm or mast head as a matter of courtesy.

SHIPS AND VESSELS IN GOVERNMENT SERVICE
All ships and vessels, or other craft operated by Government, should fly the National Flag at the stern when underway between the hours of sunrise and sunset. If desired, any departmental flag may be flown at the bow.

GENERAL RULES FOR THE USE AND DISPLAY OF THE NATIONAL FLAG

HOISTING AND LOWERING OF THE NATIONAL 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.

DISPLAYING THE NATIONAL FLAG WITH OTHER FLAGS AND EMBLEMS
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

DISPLAYING FLAG AT A HORIZONTAL POSITION OR 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.

DISPLAYING FLAG WITHOUT STAFF
When the Flag is displayed otherwise than by being 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.

When the Flag is displayed over a street it should be suspended vertically with the upper dexter (right) quarter to the North in an East-West street or to the East in a North-South street.

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.

THE NATIONAL FLAG IN A PARADE
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.

The National Flag when carried in a procession with another flag or with other flags abreast 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.

The salute to the Flag in a moving column by those present in uniform should be rendered at the moment the Flag passes.

When the Flag is displayed from a float or motor car the staff should be securely clamped to the chassis or the right fender.

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 being 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 IN PUBLIC AFFAIRS
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, the Flag occupying 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.

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 honor; 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.

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 MOMENTS
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.

DESTRUCTION OF WORN FLAG
The National Flag, when it is no longer fit for display, should be disposed of by burning. It should not be left lying about with other unserviceable articles.

THE FLAG IN MOURNING: HALF-MASTING
The National Flag is flown at half-mast (or half-staff) when the Nation is in mourning. By "half-mast" is meant lowering 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 half-mast position. Before hauling it down for the day, the Flag is again raised to the top of the staff.

The Flag should be flown at half-mast:

  1. On the day of the death and funeral day of:
    • the President
    • the Prime Minister
    • the President of the Senate
    • the Speaker of the House of Representatives
    • Members of the Cabinet
    • Other notable citizens and residents of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago as may be announced by the Minister of National Security.
  2. Other occasions as may from time to time be prescribed by the Minister of National Security.
  3. 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 referred to in Section III above, 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.

Source: Government Printery, Trinidad and Tobago

PROHIBITED USES OF THE NATIONAL FLAG
(Miscellaneous)

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Flag should not be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying or delivering anything.
  • The Flag should not be festooned over doorways, arches, etc., or tied in a bowknot, or fashioned into a rosette, or used as drapings. It should not be drawn back or drawn up in folds but always allowed to fall free.
  • 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.
  • The Flag should not be used as a covering for a ceiling.
  • The Flag should not be allowed to touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water or merchandise.

Source: Government Printery, Trinidad and Tobago