Geographic and Governmental Profile of Trinidad and Tobago

Background
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.
Location
Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela
Geographic coordinates
11 00 N, 61 00 W
Continent / Subcontinent
Central America and the Caribbean
Area
total:
5,128 sq km
rank:
174
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 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)
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Irrigated land
70 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
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)
Constitution
1 August 1976
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
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
President George Maxwell RICHARDS (since 17 March 2003)
head of government:
Prime Minister Kamla PERSAD-BISSESSAR (since 26 May 2010)
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, 9 by the President, 6 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 24 May 2010 (next to be held in 2015)
election results:
House of Representatives - percent of vote - NA; seats by party - UNC 21, PNM 12, COP 6, TOP 2
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); the highest court of appeal is the Privy Council in London; member of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)
Political parties and leaders
Congress of the People or COP [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]; 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, FAO, G-24, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Paris Club (associate), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Neil PARSAN
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 Beatrice W. WELTERS
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) 822-5905
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)
National anthem
name:
"Forged From the Love of Liberty"
lyrics/music:
Patrick Stanislaus CASTAGNE
adopted 1962; the song was originally created to serve as an anthem for the West Indies Federation; it was adopted by Trinidad and Tobago following the Federation's dissolution in 1962
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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