Trinidad and Tobago Politics and Law

By | September 13, 2021


According to the constitution that came into force on August 1, 1976, Trinidad and Tobago is a parliamentary republic. The head of state is the president elected by an electoral college (representatives of both chambers of parliament) for a period of five years. The legislature rests with the bicameral parliament, consisting of the Senate (31 members appointed by the President) and the House of Representatives (41 members elected for 5 years by majority vote, including 2 from Tobago), while the executive is in the government under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister (appointed by the President). – Tobago has had full internal autonomy since 1987 and has its own regional parliament (16 members, 12 of whom are directly elected for 4 years).

National symbols

According to TRACKAAH, the flag of Trinidad and Tobago was first hoisted on Independence Day. The red cloth is diagonally divided by a black stripe trimmed with white from the upper corner to the lower corner at the flying end. The color symbolism is described in the constitution: The white stripes symbolize the sea between the islands; at the same time, white is a symbol of the equality of residents. Black stands for the dedication of the population and their strength in realizing common goals, red for courage and friendliness of the residents.

The coat of arms was awarded on August 9, 1963 by Queen Elizabeth II. In the shield, divided by a silver rafter, two hummingbirds fly in the upper black field (they represent the two islands), in the lower red field there are three caravels from the time of C. Columbus. On the shield is a golden spangenhelm with a silver-red helmet cover, on the helmet a ship’s steering wheel and a palm tree. A scarlet ibis serve as a shield holder on the right and a cocrico on the left (both only occur in Trinidad and Tobago). The sign and sign holder stand on a depiction of the islands, the bottom end is formed by a tape with the motto “Together we aspire, together we achieve” (together we strive, together we have success).

The national holiday on August 31st commemorates independence in 1962.

Country facts

  • Official name: The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
  • License plate: TT
  • ISO-3166: TT, TTO (780)
  • Internet
  • Currency: 1 Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TT $) = 100 cents
  • Area: 5 130 km²
  • Population (2018): 1.4 million
  • Capital: Port of Spain
  • Official language (s): English
  • Form of government: Parliamentary republic in the Commonwealth
  • Administrative division: 9 districts, 2 cities, 3 urban districts (boroughs) and Tobago
  • Head of State: President Paula-Mae Weekes
  • Prime Minister: Keith Rowley
  • Religion (s) (2011): Christians (32% Protestants, 22% Catholics), 18% Hindus; 5% Muslim, 21% other / not specified, 2% non-denominational
  • Time zone: Central European Time -5 hours
  • National holiday: August 31st

Location and infrastructure

  • Location (geographical): Caribbean
  • Location (coordinates): between 10 ° 02 ‘and 11 ° 20’ north latitude and 60 ° 32 ‘and 61 ° 56’ west longitude
  • Climate: Tropical and humid with dry season from January to May
  • Highest mountain: Cerro del Aripo (940 m)
  • Road network: 4,252 km (paved), 4,068 km (unpaved)


  • Annual population growth (2020): -0.3%
  • Birth rate (2020): 11.4 per 1,000 residents.
  • Death rate (2020): 9.1 per 1,000 residents.
  • Average age (2020): 37.8 years
  • Average life expectancy (2020): 73.9 years (men 70.9; women 76.9)
  • Age structure (2020): 19.0% younger than 15 years, 12.1% older than 65 years
  • Literacy rate (15 year olds and older) (2015): 99%
  • Mobile phone contracts (pre-paid and post-paid) (2017): 148 per 100 residents
  • Internet users (2017): 77 per 100 residents


  • GDP per capita (2018): US $ 16,223
  • Total GDP (2018): US $ 22 billion
  • GNI per capita (2018): US $ 15,950
  • Education expenditure (2003): 3.1% of GDP
  • Military expenditure (2019): 0.7% of GDP
  • Unemployment rate (15 years and older) (2017): 4.8%


The most influential parties are the People’s National Movement (PNM, founded in 1956; strong base in the black population) and the United National Congress (UNC, emerged in 1989 from the United Labor Front [ULF]; mainly represents the Indian population).


The total strength of the volunteer army is about 4,000 men. The army troops (3,000 soldiers), which comprise four infantry battalions and one supply battalion, are equipped exclusively with light weapons. The 1,000-strong Navy (“Coast Guard”) has 25 patrol and coast guard boats. In 2005 the Air Wing of the Navy (around 50 people) became the Trinidad and Tobago Air Guard and others. with five transport planes.


Trinidad is divided into 9 districts, 2 cities (Port of Spain and San Fernando) and 3 boroughs; Tobago is divided into 7 districts (parishes).


The case law follows the English model. The court structure is three-tiered (Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, Magistrate Courts). An ombudsman is responsible for complaints from citizens. – In 2005, the Royal Privy Council in London was replaced by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), based in Port of Spain, as the highest court of appeal. The Tribunal is based in Trinidad and also serves as the tribunal for the affairs of the Caribbean community.


Freedom of the press is guaranteed, but the state tries again and again to expand its influence on the media. Daily newspapers are “Daily Express” (founded 1967, including “Sunday Express”), “Trinidad and Tobago Guardian” (founded 1917) and “Trinidad and Tobago Newsday” (founded 1993). There are also a number of weekly newspapers, among others. “Tobago News” and “Catholic News”. The state-owned Caribbean New Media Group (CNMG) operates three radio stations and one television station (“C TV”). The Trinidad Broadcasting Company owns four radio stations. Commercial television stations are “CCN TV6” and “CNC3”. There are also some local, specialty and cable channels.

Trinidad and Tobago Politics