Trinidad and Tobago [Country Flag of Trinidad and Tobago]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Trinidad and Tobago]

Trinidad and Tobago


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Location: Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela

Geographic coordinates: 11 00 N, 61 00 W

Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

total: 5,130 sq km
land: 5,130 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area—comparative: slightly smaller than Delaware

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 362 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the outer edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical; rainy season (June to December)

Terrain: mostly plains with some hills and low mountains

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: El Cerro del Aripo 940 m

Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, asphalt

Land use:
arable land: 15%
permanent crops: 9%
permanent pastures: 2%
forests and woodland: 46%
other: 28% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 220 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: outside usual path of hurricanes and other tropical storms

Environment—current issues: water pollution from agricultural chemicals, industrial wastes, and raw sewage; oil pollution of beaches; deforestation; soil erosion

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements


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Population: 1,116,595 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 28% (male 159,353; female 152,898)
15-64 years: 65% (male 375,889; female 347,115)
65 years and over: 7% (male 36,627; female 44,713) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: -1.27% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 14.89 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 8 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -19.55 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 18.84 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 70.51 years
male: 68.06 years
female: 73.03 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.09 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Trinidadian(s), Tobagonian(s)
adjective: Trinidadian, Tobagonian

Ethnic groups: black 40%, East Indian (a local term—primarily immigrants from northern India) 40.3%, mixed 14%, white 1%, Chinese 1%, other 3.7%

Religions: Roman Catholic 32.2%, Hindu 24.3%, Anglican 14.4%, other Protestant 14%, Muslim 6%, none or unknown 9.1%

Languages: English (official), Hindi, French, Spanish

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.9%
male: 98.8%
female: 97% (1995 est.)


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Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
conventional short form: Trinidad and Tobago

Data code: TD

Government type: parliamentary democracy

National capital: Port-of-Spain

Administrative divisions: 8 counties, 3 municipalities*, and 1 ward**; Arima*, Caroni, Mayaro, Nariva, Port-of-Spain*, Saint Andrew, Saint David, Saint George, Saint Patrick, San Fernando*, Tobago**, Victoria

Independence: 31 August 1962 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 31 August (1962)

Constitution: 1 August 1976

Legal system: based on English common law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Arthur Napoleon Raymond ROBINSON (since 19 March 1997)
head of government: Prime Minister Basdeo PANDAY (since 9 November 1995)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed from among the members of Parliament
elections: president elected by an electoral college that consists of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives for a five-year term; election last held NA February 1997 (next to be held NA 2002); prime minister appointed from among the members of Parliament; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives is usually appointed prime minister
election results: Arthur Napoleon Raymond ROBINSON elected president; percent of electoral college vote—69%

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of a Senate (31 seats; members appointed by the president for a maximum term of five years) and a House of Representatives (36 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: House of Representatives—last held 6 November 1995 (next to be held by December 2000)
election results: House of Representatives—percent of vote—PNM 52%, UNC 42.2%, NAR 5.2%; seats by party—PNM 15, UNC 19, NAR 1, independent 1; note—the UNC formed a coalition with the NAR
note: Tobago has a unicameral House of Assembly with 15 members serving four-year terms

Judicial branch: Court of Appeal, judges are appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister; Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister

Political parties and leaders: People's National Movement (PNM), Patrick MANNING; United National Congress (UNC), Basdeo PANDAY; National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR), Nizam MOHAMMED; Movement for Social Transformation (MOTION), David ABDULLAH; National Joint Action Committee (NJAC), Makandal DAAGA; National Development Party (NDP), Carson CHARLES; Movement for Unity and Progress (MUP), Hulsie BHAGGAN

International organization participation: ACP, C, Caricom, CCC, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-24, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, LAES, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNU, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador-designate Michael A. ARNEAUD
chancery: 1708 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 467-6490
FAX: [1] (202) 785-3130
consulate(s) general: Miami and New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Edward E. SHUMAKER, III
embassy: 15 Queen's Park West, Port-of-Spain
mailing address: P. O. Box 752, Port-of-Spain
telephone: [1] (809) 622-6372 through 6376, 6176
FAX: [1] (809) 628-5462

Flag description: red with a white-edged black diagonal band from the upper hoist side


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Economy—overview: Trinidad and Tobago has earned a reputation as an excellent investment site for international businesses. Successful economic reforms were implemented in 1995, and foreign investment and trade are flourishing. Unemployment - a main cause of the country's socio-economic problems—is high, but has decreased to its lowest point in five years. The country enjoys a healthy trade surplus, yet its heavy dependence on oil and petrochemical prices makes its trade balance vulnerable to sudden shifts. Tourism is a major foreign exchange earner, with 260,000 arrivals in 1995, 80% from Europe.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$13.2 billion (1996 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 3.1% (1996 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$10,400 (1996 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 2%
industry: 45%
services: 53% (1995 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 3.4% (1996)

Labor force:
total: 404,500
by occupation: construction and utilities 13%, manufacturing, mining, and quarrying 14%, agriculture 11%, services 62% (1993 est.)

Unemployment rate: 16.1% (December 1996)

revenues: $1.7 billion
expenditures: $1.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $243 million (1997 est.)

Industries: petroleum, chemicals, tourism, food processing, cement, beverage, cotton textiles

Industrial production growth rate: 7.5% (1995)

Electricity—capacity: 1.15 million kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 3.9 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 3,068 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: cocoa, sugarcane, rice, citrus, coffee, vegetables; poultry

total value: $2.5 billion (f.o.b., 1996)
commodities: petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, steel products, fertilizer, sugar, cocoa, coffee, citrus, flowers
partners: US 48%, Caricom countries 15%, Latin America 9%, EU 5% (1994)

total value: $2.1 billion (c.i.f., 1996)
commodities: machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods, food, live animals
partners: US 48%, Venezuela 10%, UK 8%, Germany, Canada (1995)

Debt—external: $1.9 billion (1996 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $10 million (1993)

Currency: 1 Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TT$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Trinidad and Tobago dollars (TT$) per US$1—6.2840 (January 1998), 6.2503 (1997), 6.0051 (1996), 5.9478 (1995), 5.9249 (1994), 5.3511 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year


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Telephones: 170,000 (1992 est.)

Telephone system: excellent international service; good local service
domestic: NA
international: satellite earth station—1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); tropospheric scatter to Barbados and Guyana

Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 4, shortwave 0
note: there were a total of 10 radio stations in 1995

Radios: 700,000 (1993 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 3 (1995 est.)

Televisions: 400,000 (1992 est.)


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note: minimal agricultural railroad system near San Fernando; railway service was discontinued in 1968

total: 8,320 km
paved: 4,252 km
unpaved: 4,068 km (1996 est.)

Pipelines: crude oil 1,032 km; petroleum products 19 km; natural gas 904 km

Ports and harbors: Pointe-a-Pierre, Point Fortin, Point Lisas, Port-of-Spain, Scarborough, Tembladora

Merchant marine:
total: 1 cargo ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,336 GRT/2,567 DWT (1997 est.)

Airports: 6 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 3
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (1997 est.)


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Military branches: Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force (includes Ground Forces, Coast Guard, and Air Wing), Trinidad and Tobago Police Service

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 313,018 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 223,511 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $83 million (1994)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: NA%

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: none

Illicit drugs: transshipment point for South American drugs destined for the US and Europe and producer of cannabis