Trinidad and Tobago

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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

Location

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

Geographic coordinates

11.00° N, 61.00° W

Area 174/257

total: 5,128 sq km

land: 5,128 sq km

water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Delaware

Land boundaries

0 km

Coastline

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

Climate

tropical; rainy season (June to December)

Terrain

mostly plains with some hills and low mountains

Elevation

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m

highest point: El Cerro del Aripo 940 m

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas, asphalt

Land use

agricultural land: 10.6%

arable land 4.9%; permanent crops 4.3%; permanent pasture 1.4%

forest: 44%

other: 45.4% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

36 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources

3.84 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 0.23 cu km/yr (67%/25%/8%)

per capita: 177.9 cu m/yr (2005)

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 and Society

Nationality

noun: Trinidadian(s), Tobagonian(s)

adjective: Trinidadian, Tobagonian

Ethnic groups

East Indian 35.4%, African 34.2%, mixed - other 15.3%, mixed African/East Indian 7.7%, other 1.3%, unspecified 6.2% (2011 est.)

Languages

English (official), Caribbean Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), French, Spanish, Chinese

Religions

Protestant 32.1% (Pentecostal/Evangelical/Full Gospel 12%, Baptist 6.9%, Anglican 5.7%, Seventh-Day Adventist 4.1%, Presbyterian/Congretational 2.5, other Protestant .9), Roman Catholic 21.6%, Hindu 18.2%, Muslim 5%, Jehovah's Witness 1.5%, other 8.4%, none 2.2%, unspecified 11.1% (2011 est.)

Population 160/238

1,222,363 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 19.41% (male 120,876/female 116,336)

15-24 years: 12.59% (male 79,949/female 73,888)

25-54 years: 46.59% (male 295,970/female 273,481)

55-64 years: 11.59% (male 70,466/female 71,196)

65 years and over: 9.83% (male 52,199/female 68,002) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 43.2%

youth dependency ratio: 29.8%

elderly dependency ratio: 13.5%

potential support ratio: 7.4% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 35 years

male: 34.5 years

female: 35.5 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 208/233

-0.13% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 148/224

13.46 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 75/225

8.56 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 199/222

-6.25 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 8.4% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: -1.2% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

PORT-OF-SPAIN (capital) 34,000 (2014)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.08 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.08 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female

total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 112/184

63 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 72/224

total: 23.9 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 25.11 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 22.66 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 138/224

total population: 72.59 years

male: 69.69 years

female: 75.56 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 171/224

1.71 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

42.5% (2006)

Health expenditures 131/191

5.5% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

1.18 physicians/1,000 population (2007)

Hospital bed density

2.7 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Drinking water source

improved:

urban: 95.1% of population

rural: 95.1% of population

total: 95.1% of population

unimproved:

urban: 4.9% of population

rural: 4.9% of population

total: 4.9% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 91.5% of population

rural: 91.5% of population

total: 91.5% of population

unimproved:

urban: 8.5% of population

rural: 8.5% of population

total: 8.5% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

1.65% (2013 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

14,000 (2013 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

700 (2013 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 31/191

32.3% (2014)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 98/134

total: 9.2%

male: 7.7%

female: 11.4% (2013 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

conventional short form: Trinidad and Tobago

Government type

parliamentary democracy

Capital

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 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

Independence

31 August 1962 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 31 August (1962)

Constitution

previous 1962; latest 1976; amended many times, last in 2007 (2015)

Legal system

English common law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent: yes

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 8 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Anthony CARMONA (since 18 March 2013)

head of government: Prime Minister Keith ROWLEY (since 9 September 2015)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed from among members of Parliament

elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by an electoral college of selected Senate and House of Representatives members for a 5-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 the leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives as prime minister

election results: Anthony CARMONA (independent) elected president; electoral college vote - 100%

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (31 seats; 16 members appointed by the ruling party, 9 by the president, and 6 by the opposition party; members serve 5-year terms;) and the House of Representatives (41 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)

note: Tobago has a unicameral House of Assembly (16 seats; 12 assemblymen directly elected by simple majority vote and 4 appointed councillors - 3 on the advice of the chief secretary and 1 on the advice of the minority leader; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: House of Representatives - last held on 7 September 2015 (next to be held in 2020)

election results: House of Representatives - percent of vote - NA; seats by party - PNM 23, UNC 18

Judicial branch

highest resident 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

Political parties and leaders

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]

Political pressure groups and leaders

Jamaat-al Muslimeen [Yasin ABU BAKR]

International organization participation

ACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CDB, CELAC, EITI (compliant country), FAO, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club (associate), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Flag description

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

National symbol(s)

scarlet ibis (bird of Trinidad), cocrico (bird of Tobago), Chaconia flower; national colors: red, white, black

National anthem

name: "Forged From the Love of Liberty"

lyrics/music: Patrick Stanislaus CASTAGNE

note: adopted 1962; song originally created to serve as an anthem for the West Indies Federation; adopted by Trinidad and Tobago following the Federation's dissolution in 1962

Economy

Economy - overview

Trinidad and Tobago attracts considerable foreign direct investment, particularly in energy, and has one of the highest per capita incomes in Latin America and the Caribbean. Trinidad and Tobago is the leading Caribbean producer of oil and gas, and its economy is heavily dependent upon these resources. 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.

Growth has been fueled by investments in liquefied natural gas, petrochemicals, and steel with additional upstream and downstream investment planned. Oil production has declined over the last decade as the country focused the majority of its efforts on natural gas. Economic growth between 2000 and 2007 averaged slightly over 8% per year, significantly above the regional average of about 3.7% for that same period; however, GDP slowed down since then and contracted during 2009-12 due to depressed natural gas prices and changing markets. The current administration has been working to arrest this decline by opening bid rounds and providing fiscal incentives for investments in on-shore and deep water acreage to boost oil reserves and production. The government keeps a close watch on the changing global gas markets and has shown flexibility in diversifying natural gas export destinations. The economy benefits from a growing trade surplus with the US. The US is Trinidad and Tobago's leading trade partner.

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 has targeted for increased investment and projected growth include tourism, agriculture, information and communications technology, and shipping.

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.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 111/230

$44.32 billion (2015 est.)

$43.88 billion (2014 est.)

$43.53 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$27.67 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 175/225

1% (2015 est.)

0.8% (2014 est.)

1.7% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 55/230

$32,800 (2015 est.)

$32,500 (2014 est.)

$32,200 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 104/179

17.1% of GDP (2015 est.)

18.5% of GDP (2014 est.)

20.9% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 40.1%

government consumption: 12.3%

investment in fixed capital: 8.5%

investment in inventories: 0.5%

exports of goods and services: 66.8%

imports of goods and services: -28.2%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 0.5%

industry: 14.6%

services: 84.9% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

cocoa, rice, citrus, coffee; sugar; vegetables; poultry

Industries

petroleum and petroleum products, liquefied natural gas (LNG), methanol, ammonia, urea, steel products, beverages, food processing, cement, cotton textiles

Industrial production growth rate 147/202

1% (2015 est.)

Labor force 155/233

626,400 (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 3.8%

manufacturing, mining, and quarrying: 12.8%

construction and utilities: 20.4%

services: 62.9% (2007 est.)

Unemployment rate 31/207

3.5% (2015 est.)

3.3% (2014 est.)

Population below poverty line

17% (2007 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Budget

revenues: $8.802 billion

expenditures: $9.849 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 81/219

31.8% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 143/220

-3.8% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 106/176

42.1% of GDP (2015 est.)

39.5% of GDP (2014 est.)

Fiscal year

1 October - 30 September

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 194/226

7.5% (2015 est.)

5.7% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 90/156

4.25% (31 December 2010)

7.25% (31 December 2009)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 109/184

8% (31 December 2015 est.)

7.8% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 88/192

$7.422 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$6.907 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 92/193

$17.98 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$16.92 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 105/191

$9.06 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$8.431 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares 68/121

$15.17 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

$14.73 billion (31 December 2011)

$12.16 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Current account balance 46/197

$196 million (2015 est.)

$1.637 billion (2014 est.)

Exports 94/224

$8.713 billion (2015 est.)

$11.73 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

petroleum and petroleum products, liquefied natural gas, methanol, ammonia, urea, steel products, beverages, cereal and cereal products, sugar, cocoa, coffee, citrus fruit, vegetables, flowers

Exports - partners

US 29.1%, Argentina 9.3%, Brazil 6.6%, Chile 5.9%, Peru 4.5% (2014)

Imports 108/223

$7.62 billion (2015 est.)

$8.904 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

mineral fuels, lubricants, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods, food, chemicals, live animals

Imports - partners

US 34.6%, Brazil 7.7%, Gabon 6.2%, China 6.1%, Russia 5%, Canada 4.1% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 73/170

$11.69 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$11.98 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 131/206

$4.879 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$4.676 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 44/120

$102 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

$12.44 billion (2007)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 72/105

$3.829 billion (2007)

Exchange rates

Trinidad and Tobago dollars (TTD) per US dollar -

6.38 (2015 est.)

6.4 (2014 est.)

6.4 (2013 est.)

6.39 (2012 est.)

6.41 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 100/220

8.604 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 95/219

8.365 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 201/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 206/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 104/214

2.104 million kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 40/214

99.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 186/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 205/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 114/212

0.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 48/214

81,260 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 51/214

30,800 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 54/214

59,180 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 44/215

728.3 million bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 71/214

109,000 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 106/212

42,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 44/214

111,000 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 140/213

8,823 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 20/216

42.8 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 37/215

20.2 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 14/215

19.8 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 138/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 36/212

371.2 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 58/212

51.27 million Mt (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 116/219

total subscriptions: 290,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 24 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 152/217

total: 2 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 162 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

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)

Broadcast media

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)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 2, FM 28, shortwave 0 (2008)

Television broadcast stations

6 (2005)

Internet country code

.tt

Internet hosts 69/232

241,690 (2012)

Internet users 126/217

total: 779,900

percent of population: 63.7% (2014 est.)

Transportation

Airports 187/236

4 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 2

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 2

914 to 1,523 m: 1

under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Pipelines

condensate 257 km; condensate/gas 11 km; gas 1,567 km; oil 587 km (2013)

Roadways 140/223

total: 8,320 km

paved: 4,252 km

unpaved: 4,068 km (2001)

Merchant marine 131/156

total: 4

by type: passenger 1, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 1

registered in other countries: 2 (unknown 2) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Point Fortin, Point Lisas, Port of Spain, Scarborough

oil terminals: Galeota Point terminal

LNG terminal(s) (export): Port Fortin

Military and Security

Military branches

Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force (TTDF): Trinidad and Tobago Army, Coast Guard, Air Guard, Defense Force Reserves (2010)

Military service age and obligation

18-25 years of age for voluntary military service (16 years of age with parental consent); no conscription; Trinidad and Tobago citizenship and completion of secondary school required (2012)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

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

Illicit drugs

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