Central America and Caribbean :: Trinidad and Tobago

Introduction ::Trinidad and Tobago

    First colonized by the Spanish, the islands came under British control in the early 19th century. The islands' sugar industry was hurt by the emancipation of the slaves in 1834. Manpower was replaced with the importation of contract laborers from India between 1845 and 1917, which boosted sugar production as well as the cocoa industry. The discovery of oil on Trinidad in 1910 added another important export. Independence was attained in 1962. The country is one of the most prosperous in the Caribbean thanks largely to petroleum and natural gas production and processing. Tourism, mostly in Tobago, is targeted for expansion and is growing. The government is coping with a rise in violent crime.

Geography ::Trinidad and Tobago

People and Society ::Trinidad and Tobago

Government ::Trinidad and Tobago

    conventional long form: Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
    conventional short form: Trinidad and Tobago
    parliamentary democracy
    name: Port of Spain
    geographic coordinates: 10 39 N, 61 31 W
    time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    9 regions, 3 boroughs, 2 cities, 1 ward
    regions: Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo, Diego Martin, Mayaro/Rio Claro, Penal/Debe, Princes Town, Sangre Grande, San Juan/Laventille, Siparia, Tunapuna/Piarco
    borough: Arima, Chaguanas, Point Fortin
    cities: Port of Spain, San Fernando
    ward: Tobago
    31 August 1962 (from the UK)
    Independence Day, 31 August (1962)
    1 August 1976
    English common law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Anthony CARMONA (since 18 March 2013)
    head of government: Prime Minister Kamla PERSAD-BISSESSAR (since 26 May 2010)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed from among the members of Parliament
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    elections: president elected by an electoral college, which consists of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives, for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 15 February 2013 (next to be held by February 2018); the president usually appoints as prime minister the leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives
    election results: as the only candidate nominated, Anthony CARMONA elected president; sworn in on 18 March 2013; percent of electoral college vote - 100%
    bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (31 seats; 16 members appointed by the ruling party, 9 by the president, 6 by the opposition party to serve a maximum term of five years) and the House of Representatives (41 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
    elections: House of Representatives - last held on 24 May 2010 (next to be held in 2015)
    election results: House of Representatives - percent of vote - NA; seats by party - UNC 21, PNM 12, COP 6, TOP 2
    note: Tobago has a unicameral House of Assembly with 12 members serving four-year terms; last election held in January 2013; seats by party - PNM 12
    highest court(s): Supreme Court of the Judicature (consists of a chief justice for both the Court of Appeal with 12 judges and the High Court with 24 judges)
    note - Trinidad and Tobago can file appeals beyond its Supreme Court to the Caribbean Court of Justice, with final appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the president after consultation with the prime minister and the parliamentary leader of the opposition; other judges appointed by the Judicial Legal Services Commission, headed by the chief justice and 5 members with judicial experience; all judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement normally at age 65
    subordinate courts: Courts of Summary Criminal Jurisdiction; Petty Civil Courts; Family Court
    Congress of the People or COP [Prakash RAMADHAR]
    Democratic Action Congress or DAC [Hochoy CHARLES] (only active in Tobago)
    Democratic National Alliance or DNA [Charles CARSON] (coalition of NAR, DDPT, MND)
    Movement for National Development or MND [Garvin NICHOLAS]
    National Alliance for Reconstruction or NAR [Lennox SANKERSINGH]
    People's National Movement or PNM [Keith ROWLEY]
    Tobago Organization of the People or TOP [Ashworth JACK]
    United National Congress or UNC [Kamla PERSAD-BISSESSAR]
    Jamaat-al Muslimeen [Yasin ABU BAKR]
    chief of mission: Ambassador Neil PARSAN
    chancery: 1708 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
    telephone: [1] (202) 467-6490
    FAX: [1] (202) 785-3130
    consulate(s) general: Miami, New York
    chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Thomas SMITHAM
    embassy: 15 Queen's Park West, Port of Spain
    mailing address: P. O. Box 752, Port of Spain
    telephone: [1] (868) 622-6371 through 6376
    FAX: [1] (868) 822-5905
    red with a white-edged black diagonal band from the upper hoist side to the lower fly side; the colors represent the elements of earth, water, and fire; black stands for the wealth of the land and the dedication of the people; white symbolizes the sea surrounding the islands, the purity of the country's aspirations, and equality; red symbolizes the warmth and energy of the sun, the vitality of the land, and the courage and friendliness of its people
    scarlet ibis (bird of Trinidad); cocrico (bird of Tobago)
    name: "Forged From the Love of Liberty"

    lyrics/music: Patrick Stanislaus CASTAGNE
    note: adopted 1962; the song was originally created to serve as an anthem for the West Indies Federation; it was adopted by Trinidad and Tobago following the Federation's dissolution in 1962

Economy ::Trinidad and Tobago

    Trinidad and Tobago has earned a reputation as an excellent investment site for international businesses and has one of the highest growth rates and per capita incomes in Latin America. Economic growth between 2000 and 2007 averaged slightly over 8%, significantly above the regional average of about 3.7% for that same period; however, GDP has slowed down since then and contracted during 2009-2011 due to depressed natural gas prices and changing markets. Growth had been fueled by investments in liquefied natural gas, petrochemicals, and steel with additional upstream and downstream investment planned. Trinidad and Tobago is the leading Caribbean producer of oil and gas, and its economy is heavily dependent upon these resources but it also supplies manufactured goods, notably food products and beverages, as well as cement to the Caribbean region. Oil and gas account for about 40% of GDP and 80% of exports, but only 5% of employment. Oil production has declined over the last decade as the country focused the majority of its efforts on natural gas. However, declining reserves, lack of government investment in the sector, and the changing global gas market raises concern for the long-term growth of the country's energy sector. Although Trinidad and Tobago enjoys cheap electricity from natural gas, the renewable energy sector has recently garnered increased interest. The country is also a regional financial center with a well-regulated and stable financial system. Other sectors the Government of Trinidad and Tobago targeted for increased investment and projected growth include tourism, agriculture, information and communications technology, and shipping. The economy benefits from a growing trade surplus with the US. The US is Trinidad and Tobago's leading trade partner. The previous MANNING administration benefited from fiscal surpluses fueled by the dynamic export sector; however, declines in oil and gas prices have reduced government revenues, challenging the current government's commitment to maintaining high levels of public investment. Crime and bureaucratic hurdles continue to be the biggest deterrents for attracting more foreign direct investment and business.
    $27.14 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 115
    $27.03 billion (2011 est.)
    $27.74 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $25.28 billion (2012 est.)
    0.4% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 172
    -2.6% (2011 est.)
    0.2% (2010 est.)
    $20,400 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    $20,400 (2011 est.)
    $21,100 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    24.8% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 45
    24.7% of GDP (2011 est.)
    36.6% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 58.1%
    government consumption: 17.1%
    investment in fixed capital: 15.6%
    investment in inventories: -25%
    exports of goods and services: 96.6%
    imports of goods and services: -62.4%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 0.3%
    industry: 57.8%
    services: 41.9% (2012 est.)
    cocoa, rice, citrus, coffee, vegetables; poultry; sugar
    petroleum and petroleum products, liquefied natural gas (LNG), methanol, ammonia, urea, steel products, beverages, food processing, cement, cotton textiles
    -0.5% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 140
    615,800 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 156
    agriculture: 3.8%
    manufacturing, mining, and quarrying: 12.8%
    construction and utilities: 20.4%
    services: 62.9% (2007 est.)
    5.6% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 54
    5.5% (2011 est.)
    17% (2007 est.)
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    revenues: $7.654 billion
    expenditures: $7.933 billion (2012 est.)
    30.3% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 90
    -1.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 63
    40.3% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 86
    41.5% of GDP (2011 est.)
    1 October - 30 September
    9.2% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 191
    5.1% (2011 est.)
    4.25% (31 December 2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 36
    7.25% (31 December 2009 est.)
    7.8% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 117
    7.97% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $6.222 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 89
    $5.594 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $17.28 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 90
    $15.46 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $6.059 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    $5.731 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $14.73 billion (31 December 2011)
    country comparison to the world: 69
    $12.16 billion (31 December 2010)
    $11.15 billion (31 December 2009)
    $2.677 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 36
    $2.26 billion (2011 est.)
    $13.61 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 82
    $14.86 billion (2011 est.)
    petroleum and petroleum products, liquefied natural gas, methanol, ammonia, urea, steel products, beverages, cereal and cereal products, sugar, cocoa, coffee, citrus fruit, vegetables, flowers
    US 40.3%, Argentina 6.9%, Chile 6.8%, Jamaica 4.9%, Spain 4.3% (2012)
    $8.317 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 104
    $9.992 billion (2011 est.)
    mineral fuels, lubricants, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods, food, chemicals, live animals
    US 30.8%, Colombia 13.9%, Brazil 7.6%, Gabon 5%, Canada 4.1% (2012)
    $9.897 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 75
    $10.5 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $4.557 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 123
    $4.84 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $102 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 40
    $12.44 billion (2007)
    $3.829 billion (2007)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    Trinidad and Tobago dollars (TTD) per US dollar -
    6.391 (2012 est.)
    6.4094 (2011 est.)
    6.3755 (2010 est.)
    6.3099 (2009)
    6.2896 (2008)

Energy ::Trinidad and Tobago

Communications ::Trinidad and Tobago

    292,000 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 117
    1.825 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 143
    general assessment: excellent international service; good local service
    domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity roughly 170 telephones per 100 persons
    international: country code - 1-868; submarine cable systems provide connectivity to US and parts of the Caribbean and South America; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); tropospheric scatter to Barbados and Guyana (2011)
    5 TV networks, one of which is state-owned, broadcast on multiple stations; multiple cable TV subscription service providers; multiple radio networks, one state-owned, broadcast over about 35 stations (2007)
    241,690 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 69
    593,000 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 115

Transportation ::Trinidad and Tobago

Military ::Trinidad and Tobago

Transnational Issues ::Trinidad and Tobago

    Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago abide by the April 2006 Permanent Court of Arbitration decision delimiting a maritime boundary and limiting catches of flying fish in Trinidad and Tobago's exclusive economic zone; in 2005, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago agreed to compulsory international arbitration under United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea challenging whether the northern limit of Trinidad and Tobago's and Venezuela's maritime boundary extends into Barbadian waters; Guyana has also expressed its intention to include itself in the arbitration as the Trinidad and Tobago-Venezuela maritime boundary may extend into its waters as well
    current situation: Trinidad and Tobago is a destination and transit country for adults and children subjected to sex trafficking and adults subjected to forced labor; local victims have been trafficked to the US and the UK for sexual exploitation, while women and girls from South America and the Dominican Republic have been subjected to sex trafficking in Trinidad and Tobago's brothels and clubs; some economic migrants from the Caribbean region and Asia have had their passports held and experienced forced labor conditions; children are vulnerable to forced labor, including scavenging trash; the country is a potential transit point for human trafficking to Caribbean and South American destinations
    tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Trinidad and Tobago does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; in 2013, the government proclaimed its anti-trafficking law and established a counter-trafficking unit, but authorities did not use the law to its full effect; despite victim protections in the new law, the government has failed to properly screen and protect hundreds of potential trafficking victims; the reported complicity of public officials in trafficking offenses is also an obstacle (2013)
    transshipment point for South American drugs destined for the US and Europe; producer of cannabis