Sir Orville will leave office on Nov 13

Governor-General Sir Orville Turnquest, 72, has been granted an extension on his leave of office in order to be accommodated in a formal farewell audience with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in November, the Cabinet Office has announced.


In July, Government House announced that Sir Orville was to demit office on Oct. 31, and that he requested an early farewell meeting with the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

But on Monday, The Cabinet said that Sir Orville will instead leave office on Nov. 13; the date being pushed back because Sir Orville intends to take formal leave of The Queen in a farewell audience.

Cabinet also said that Buckingham Palace has advised Sir Orville that the Queen has invited him to attend on her at Windsor Castle on Nov. 9.

"As the protocol has been established for a governor-general to call on the monarch while still in office as the representative head of state," the Cabinet Office said, "Sir Orville has proposed, and the government has agreed, that the date on which he would demit office be extended from Oct. 31. to Nov. 13.

Additionally, a formal farewell ceremony will be held for Sir Orville on demitting office on Nov. 13, Cabinet said.

Sir Orville and Lady Turnquest are currently in Grenada attending a Caricom Heads of State Conference.

Sir Orville will leave office as The Bahamas' fifth Bahamian-born Governor-General. He was sworn in office on Jan. 3, 1995, succeeding Sir Clifford Darling.

Sir Orville has been credited with bringing a new sense of style and grace to the historic Government House, which he often referred to as "The People's House."

Over his six years-plus reign, he has opened the doors of Government House to a wide cross-section of the community including civic groups, school children, and the elderly.

Sir Orville is considered the classic success story, rising from the impoverished Grant's Town community where he was born on July 19, 1929, to the highest office in the land. His parents were the late Robert and Gwendolyn Turnquest.

He is married to the former Edith Louise Thompson, granddaughter of the late Albertha Brown, a noted straw vendor. The couple's children include attorney Caryl Lashley, chartered accountant Michelle Fields, and former banking officer Tommy Turnquest, the Minister of Tourism, Member of Parliament for Mt. Moriah and leader-designate of the Free National Movement.

When news of Sir Orville's retirement first circulated, it was reported that he will retire to pave the way for his son's political career as prime minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. On Aug. 16, Tommy Turnquest was elected leader-designate of the FNM.

An attorney, Sir Orville articled as a law student in the chambers of the late A.F. Adderley, and was called to The Bahamas Bar in June 1953. He pursued further studies at the University of London in 1957 where he obtained an Honours L.L.B. degree, and was also admitted as a member of Lincoln's Inn, London.

Sir Orville was first appointed a Cabinet Minister in August 1992, following the FNM landslide victory at the polls, over the Progressive Liberal Party.

Sir Orville served as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Justice, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and as the MP for Montagu before he resigned in Nov. 1994.

Upon his elevation as governor-general, Sir Orville was conferred with the honour of Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (Knighthood) by the Queen.

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