Country Information Database


Trinidad and Tobago Country Information

Trinidad and Tobago
Flag of Trinidad and Tobago
Map of 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
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: 5,128 sq km
land: 5,128 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Delaware
Land boundaries:
0 km
362 km
Maritime claims:
measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the outer edge of the continental margin
tropical; rainy season (June to December)
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: 14.62%
permanent crops: 9.16%
other: 76.22% (2005)
Irrigated land:
40 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
3.8 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.31 cu km/yr (68%/26%/6%)
per capita: 237 cu m/yr (2000)
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, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
Pitch Lake, on Trinidad's southwestern coast, is the world's largest natural reservoir of asphalt
People Trinidad and Tobago
1,047,366 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 19% (male 102,352/female 96,487)
15-64 years: 71.8% (male 396,352/female 356,080)
65 years and over: 9.2% (male 42,998/female 53,097) (2008 est.)
Median age:
total: 32.3 years
male: 31.9 years
female: 32.8 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:
-0.891% (2008 est.)
Birth rate:
13.22 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:
10.93 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:
-11.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.11 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 1.07 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 23.59 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 25.34 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 21.76 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 67 years
male: 66.07 years
female: 67.98 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.73 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
3.2% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
29,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
1,900 (2003 est.)
noun: Trinidadian(s), Tobagonian(s)
adjective: Trinidadian, Tobagonian
Ethnic groups:
Indian (South Asian) 40%, African 37.5%, mixed 20.5%, other 1.2%, unspecified 0.8% (2000 census)
Roman Catholic 26%, Hindu 22.5%, Anglican 7.8%, Baptist 7.2%, Pentecostal 6.8%, Muslim 5.8%, Seventh Day Adventist 4%, other Christian 5.8%, other 10.8%, unspecified 1.4%, none 1.9% (2000 census)
English (official), Caribbean Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), French, Spanish, Chinese
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98.6%
male: 99.1%
female: 98% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2005)
Education expenditures:
4.2% of GDP (200)
Government Trinidad and Tobago
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
conventional short form: Trinidad and Tobago
Government type:
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)
Administrative divisions:
9 regional corporations, 2 city corporations, 3 borough corporations, 1 ward
regional corporations: Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo, Diego Martin, Mayaro/Rio Claro, Penal/Debe, Princes Town, Sangre Grande, San Juan/Laventille, Siparia, Tunapuna/Piarco
city corporations: Port-of-Spain, San Fernando
borough corporations: Arima, Chaguanas, Point Fortin
ward: Tobago
31 August 1962 (from UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 31 August (1962)
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
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President George Maxwell RICHARDS (since 17 March 2003)
head of government: Prime Minister Patrick MANNING (since 24 December 2001)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed from among the members of Parliament
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 11 February 2008 (next to be held by February 2013); the president usually appoints as prime minister the leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives
election results: George Maxwell RICHARDS reelected president; percent of electoral college vote - NA
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (31 seats; 16 members appointed by the ruling party, nine by the President, six 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 5 November 2007 (next to be held in 2012)
election results: House of Representatives - percent of vote - PNM 46%, UNC 29.7%; seats by party - PNM 26, UNC 15
note: Tobago has a unicameral House of Assembly with 12 members serving four-year terms; last election held in January 2005; seats by party - PNM 11, DAC 1
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court of Judicature (comprised of the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeals; the chief justice is appointed by the president after consultation with the prime minister and the leader of the opposition; other justices are appointed by the president on the advice of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission); High Court of Justice; Caribbean Court of Appeals member; Court of Appeals; the highest court of appeal is the Privy Council in London
Political parties and leaders:
Congress of the People [Winston DOOKERAN]; Democratic Action Congress or DAC [Hochoy CHARLES] (only active in Tobago); Democratic National Alliance or DNA [Gerald YETMING] (coalition of NAR, DDPT, MND); Movement for National Development or MND [Garvin NICHOLAS]; National Alliance for Reconstruction or NAR [Dr. Carson CHARLES]; People's National Movement or PNM [Patrick MANNING]; United National Congress or UNC [Basdeo PANDAY]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Jamaat-al Muslimeen [Yasin BAKR]
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Glenda MOREAN-PHILLIP
chancery: 1708 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 467-6490
FAX: [1] (202) 785-3130
consulate(s) general: Miami, New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Roy L. AUSTIN
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) 628-5462
Flag description:
red with a white-edged black diagonal band from the upper hoist side to the lower fly side
Economy Trinidad and Tobago
Economy - overview:
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. Recent growth has been fueled by investments in liquefied natural gas (LNG), petrochemicals, and steel. Additional petrochemical, aluminum, and plastics projects are in various stages of planning. 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 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. The country is also a regional financial center, and tourism is a growing sector, although it is not proportionately as important as in many other Caribbean islands. The economy benefits from a growing trade surplus. Economic growth reached 12.6% in 2006 and 5.5% in 2007 as prices for oil, petrochemicals, and LNG remained high, and as foreign direct investment continued to grow to support expanded capacity in the energy sector.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$26.79 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$20.7 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
5.5% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$25,400 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 0.6%
industry: 62%
services: 37.5% (2007 est.)
Labor force:
622,000 (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 4%, manufacturing, mining, and quarrying 12.9%, construction and utilities 17.5%, services 65.6% (2006 est.)
Unemployment rate:
4.5% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line:
17% (2007 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
7.9% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
16.7% of GDP (2007 est.)
revenues: $6.332 billion
expenditures: $5.969 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt:
27.9% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products:
cocoa, rice, citrus, coffee, vegetables; poultry
petroleum, chemicals, tourism, food processing, cement, beverage, cotton textiles
Industrial production growth rate:
6.5% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production:
7.704 billion kWh (2007)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 99.8%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0.2% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
7.083 billion kWh (2007)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2005)
Oil - production:
120,300 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - consumption:
24,770 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - exports:
202,100 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports:
91,780 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves:
605.8 million bbl (1 January 2007 est.)
Natural gas - production:
39.92 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
37.29 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
21.03 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
702.8 billion cu m (1 January 2007 est.)
Current account balance:
$5.378 billion (2007 est.)
$13.39 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities:
petroleum and petroleum products, liquefied natural gas (LNG), methanol, ammonia, urea, steel products, beverages, cereal and cereal products, sugar, cocoa, coffee, citrus fruit, vegetables, flowers
Exports - partners:
US 58.7%, Jamaica 6%, Spain 4% (2007)
$7.67 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities:
mineral fuels, lubricants, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods, food, live animals, grain
Imports - partners:
US 27.9%, Brazil 12.3%, Venezuela 8.1%, Gabon 4.9%, Colombia 4.8%, China 4.1% (2007)
Economic aid - recipient:
$200,000 (2007 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$6.745 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external:
$2.869 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$12.44 billion (2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$1.419 billion (2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$15.57 billion (2006)
Currency (code):
Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TTD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Trinidad and Tobago dollars per US dollar - 6.3275 (2007), 6.3107 (2006), 6.2842 (2005), 6.299 (2004), 6.2951 (2003)
Fiscal year:
1 October - 30 September
Communications Trinidad and Tobago
Telephones - main lines in use:
323,800 (2007)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
1.008 million (2007)
Telephone system:
general assessment: excellent international service; good local service
domestic: mobile-cellular teledensity exceeds 150 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
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 4, FM 18, shortwave 0 (2001)
680,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
6 (2005)
425,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
24,681 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
17 (2000)
Internet users:
430,800 (2007)
Transportation Trinidad and Tobago
6 (2007)
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 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2007)
condensate 245 km; gas 1,320 km; oil 563 km (2007)
total: 8,320 km
paved: 4,252 km
unpaved: 4,068 km (2000)
Merchant marine:
total: 9 ships (1000 GRT or over) 27,599 GRT/10,738 DWT
by type: passenger 2, passenger/cargo 5, petroleum tanker 2
foreign-owned: 1 (US 1)
registered in other countries: 2 (Bahamas 1, unknown 1) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Point Fortin, Point Lisas, Port-of-Spain
Military Trinidad and Tobago
Military branches:
Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force (TTDF): Trinidad and Tobago Regiment, Coast Guard, Air Guard (2008)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service (16 years of age with parental consent); no conscription (2008)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 301,561
females age 16-49: 264,225 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 215,310
females age 16-49: 180,526 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 8,671
female: 8,153 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures:
0.3% of GDP (2006)
Transnational Issues Trinidad and Tobago
Disputes - international:
in April 2006, the Permanent Court of Arbitration issued a decision that delimited a maritime boundary with Trinidad and Tobago and compelled Barbados to enter a fishing agreement that limited Barbadian fishermen's 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 UNCLOS 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
Illicit drugs:
transshipment point for South American drugs destined for the US and Europe; producer of cannabis

This page was last updated on 2 October, 2008 Access Time: Wed, 06 Dec 2023 23:45:43 +0000