Trinidad and Tobago

Also known as: Land of the Humming Bird
Motto:
Together we Aspire, Together we Achieve
Location:
Southernmost islands of the Lesser Antilles. Separated from Venezuela by the 11 km (7 miles) strait of the Gulf of Paria.  Trinidad, the larger of the two islands, is 30km (19 miles) from Tobago.
History:
Both islands were settled by Amerindians. Trinidad became a Spanish outpost from the late 16th century. French and British settlers; African slaves, indentured labourers came during the 18th century. The two islands became one state in 1888 and gained independence in 1962. In 1976 the twin-island State became a Republic within the Commonwealth with the President as Head of State.
 
Executive power lies with the Prime Minister and the Cabinet.  The Legislature consists of an elected House of Representatives and an appointed Senate.
 
Tobago has a separate House of Assembly which is responsible for some of the island's domestic affairs.
 
Elections:
Last elections 2010.  Next elections due 2015
Ruling Party:
United National Congress
Major Political Parties:
United National Congress (UNC), People's National Movement (PNM), National Alliance for Reconsutruction (NAR)
Head of State:
H.E. George Maxwell Richards, TC, CMT, PhDPresident
Head of Government:


Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar
Prime Minister


Date of Birth:
22 April 1952

Marital Status: Married

Education:
1974:  B.A. (Hons.) - Norwood Technical College, England and later UWI, Jamaica
1976:  Diploma in Education
1985:  Bachelor of Laws (LLB Hons) & Legal Education Certification (LEC), Hugh Wooding Law School,
          Trinidad and Tobago
2010:  Pursuing Executive MBA, University of the West Indies

Professional/Political Career:
 ...           Social Worker, Church of England Children's Society, London
 ...           Lecturer, Department of Language and Linguistics, UWI
1995:       Sworn in as Attorney General
1995:       Deputy Leader, United National Congress (UNC)
1996-99:   Minister of Legal Affairs
2000:       Re-Elected Deputy Leader UNC
2000:       Acted as Prime Minister
1999-2001: Minister of Education
2001-2002: Re-elected Deputy Leader UNC
2010:       Leader of the Opposition
2010:       Elected Prime Minister
 

Economic Summary:
The petroleum sector is by far the most important sector with petrochemicals and  natural gas enjoying prime economic focus. 
 
This shift in emphasis away from crude oil production was to cash in on the abundant natural gas supplies which are used as a feedstock in the domestic production of methanol and ammonia for export. Trinidad and Tobago is one of the world's largest producers of both commodities.  In 1999 a huge Atlantic Liquefied Natural Gas project came on stream, catering for export production of the gas as a fuel.
 
The energy sector has been boosting some sub-sectors, namely distribution, transportation and construction, earning a total share of over one-third of GDP.
 
Local manufacture (excluding oil refining and petrochemical industries) continues to grow.  The agriculture sector also contributes to an overall sound economy.
 
Tourism is an important growth sector.  A good blend of cultural diversity and special interest areas are among the features supporting this sector.  The famous annual carnival and the jazz festival, which is held in Tobago, offers much potential for boosting this sector.
 
Airports:
Piarco International (Trinidad)
Crown Point International (T0bago)
 
Status:
Independence - 31 August 1962
Republic - 1 August 1976
 
Capital:
Port-of-Spain
Area:
5,128 km2 (1,980 miles2)
Population:
1,290,646 (2004)
Currency:  Trinidad and Tobago Dollar
GDP: EC$33,103.6 million (2004)
GDP Per Capita
EC$25,649 (2004)
Total Exports:
EC$17,943.0 million (2004)
Total Imports:
EC$1.3,437.6 (million (2004)
Intra-Regional Exports:
EC$2,355.6 million (2004)
Intra-Regional Imports: EC$247.3 million (2004)
 
Business Hours:
Commercial:  8:00-16:30hrs Monday to Friday
Government:   8:00-12:00 hrs, 13:00-16:30 hrs Monday to Friday
 
National Holidays:
New Year's Day (01 January);  Good Friday; Easter Monday; Id-Ul-Fitr (as decreed); Spiritual Shouter Baptist Liberation Day (March 30); Corpus Christi; Indian Arrival Day (May 30); Labour Day (June 19); Emancipation Day (August 01);Independence Day (August 31); Republic Day (24 September); Diwali (as decreed); Christmas Day (25 December); Boxing Day (26 December)
 
Carnival Monday and Tuesday are not Public Holidays.  Holidays that fall on a Sunday are observed on the Monday following immediately.  When two holidays fall on the same date the following day is given as a public holiday.
 
Date of CARICOM Membership:
1 August  1973
National Anthem:
Forged from the love of liberty.
In the fires of Hope and Prayer,
With boundless faith in our Destiny,
We solemnly declare,
Side by side we stand,
Islands of the blue Caribbean Sea,
This our Native Land,
We pledge our lives to Thee,
Here every creed and race find an equal place,
And may God bless our Nation,
And may God bless our Nation.
 
(Words and Music by Patrick S. Castagne)
 
Highest National Award:
Trinity Cross
Favourite Dish:
Callaloo; Pelau; Roti and Curry
Government website: http://www.gov.tt

National Flag
   

[May 2010)]
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