Amid the recent uproar by residents for the criteria for both state and official funerals to be made public, the Cabinet has now sought to provide clarity to the method by which it makes it determination.
“Generally speaking, state funerals are reserved for heads of state, [as] in the case of the Governor General, or heads of government, in the case of a prime minister,” explained the chairman of Cabinet, Prime Minister Gaston Brown.
Still referring to the threshold for being accorded a state funeral, the Prime Minister also said that it applies to, “national heroes and individuals of the equivalent who would have made similar contribution.”
The former Chair of the State and Official Funeral Committee, Dr Jacqui Quinn, because of an overwhelming request for her to comment on the issue, provided a criteria of sorts on her Facebook page.
Her post agreed with the sentiments of Prime Minister Browne on the issue of merit for according of a state funeral.
On the issue of official funerals her post read: “Official funerals are for former ministers, senators and citizens who have been knighted.”
Prime Minister Browne said that, “I thought that Jacqui Quinn dealt with the issue very succinctly and accurately.”
“I see a number of people making strident arguments about a state funeral for the late Vaughn Walter. I mean… that could not be even given consideration,” Browne lamented.
“At best,” he continued, “the Cabinet could have used its discretion and maybe relaxed the rules and maybe give an official [funeral]. But, the way we saw it is that he was not quite deserving.”
Chair of the State and Official Funeral Committee, Minister Samantha Marshall said, “We just want to make sure that we abide by what is the standard.”
“The Queen’s protocol,” on the issue of state and/or official funerals, “is well established,” Marshall added.
The family of the late Culture Director, Vaughn Walter, has rejected the Cabinet’s offer of a grant towards the funeral of the late culture icon.
“They have obviously got caught up in the rhetoric and they are not looking at this issue objectively,” said Prime Minister Browne of the family’s refusal.
“Evidently, they believe that [Vaughn Walter] is deserving of at least an official funeral and they are reacting to the fact that the Cabinet did not see it that way.”