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  Trinidad and Tobago   
  Introduction Back To Top

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 Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.31 cu km/yr (68%/26%/6%)
per capita: 237 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
3.8 cu km (2000)

Land boundaries:
0 km

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

tropical; rainy season (June to December)

Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean

Geographic coordinates:
11 00 N, 61 00 W

Natural resources:
petroleum, natural gas, asphalt

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

mostly plains with some hills and low mountains

Geography - note:
Pitch Lake, on Trinidad's southwestern coast, is the world's largest natural reservoir of asphalt

total: 5,128 sq km
land: 5,128 sq km
water: 0 sq km

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

362 km

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Delaware

Irrigated land:
40 sq km (2003)

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

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

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

Land use:
arable land: 14.62%
permanent crops: 9.16%
other: 76.22% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
1.72 children born/woman (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.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
3.2% (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
29,000 (2003 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 70.68 years
male: 67.78 years
female: 73.66 years (2008 est.)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98.6%
male: 99.1%
female: 98% (2003 est.)

Net migration rate:
-7.44 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
Indian (South Asian) 40%, African 37.5%, mixed 20.5%, other 1.2%, unspecified 0.8% (2000 census)

People - note:
in 2007, the government of Trinidad and Tobago estimated the population to be 1.3 million

Median age:
total: 32.3 years
male: 31.9 years
female: 32.8 years (2008 est.)

1,231,323 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
4.2% of GDP (200)

Population growth rate:
-0.11% (2008 est.)

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

Death rate:
7.99 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 31.06 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 32.25 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 29.83 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
1,900 (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2005)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 19.8% (male 124,480/female 118,725)
15-64 years: 72.6% (male 458,338/female 435,829)
65 years and over: 7.6% (male 40,250/female 53,701) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
14.34 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

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)

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

  Government Back To Top

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) 822-5905

National holiday:
Independence Day, 31 August (1962)

18 years of age; universal

Government type:
parliamentary democracy

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Jamaat-al Muslimeen [Yasin BAKR]

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

International organization participation:

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

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

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

31 August 1962 (from UK)

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

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]

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)

1 August 1976

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

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

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

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
US 57.5%, Jamaica 6.5%, Spain 3.9% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
7.083 billion kWh (2007)

Central bank discount rate:
10% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
$5.721 billion (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$3.4 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
5.5% (2008 est.)

Oil - exports:
218,800 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$28,400 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
17.1% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$3.721 billion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$29.76 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$24.61 billion (2008 est.)

Exchange rates:
Trinidad and Tobago dollars (TTD) per US dollar - 6.3228 (2008 est.), 6.3275 (2007), 6.3107 (2006), 6.2842 (2005), 6.299 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
5.8% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$2.646 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
625,000 (2008 est.)

Imports - partners:
US 28.2%, Brazil 11%, Venezuela 8.2%, Colombia 5.4%, Gabon 4.9%, China 4.2% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
12% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 0.5%
industry: 62.2%
services: 37.3% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
72,780 bbl/day (2005)

$16.73 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
20.8 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TTD)

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. Economic growth for the past seven years has averaged slightly over 8%, significantly above the regional average of about 3.7% for that same period; however, it has slowed down this year to about 5% and is expected to slow further with the global downturn. 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. The MANNING administration has benefited from fiscal surpluses fueled by the dynamic export sector; however, declines in oil and gas prices have reduced government revenues which will challenge his government's commitment to maintaining high levels of public investment.

Natural gas - exports:
18.1 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
mineral fuels, lubricants, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods, food, live animals, grain

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

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
17% (2007 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
11.75% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$5.707 billion (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
7.704 billion kWh (2007)

$10.26 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
728.3 million bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 4%, manufacturing, mining, and quarrying 12.9%, construction and utilities 17.5%, services 65.6% (2006 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
531.5 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$8.765 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
28,730 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$1.419 billion (2007)

Public debt:
24.2% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$12.44 billion (2007)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$15.61 billion (31 December 2007)

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

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

Economic aid - recipient:
$200,000 (2007 est.)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 99.8%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0.2% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
39 billion cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $8.6 billion
expenditures: $6.677 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
1 October - 30 September

Oil - production:
163,300 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
430,800 (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
323,800 (2007)

425,000 (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 4, FM 18, shortwave 0 (2001)

680,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
1.008 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
6 (2005)

Telephone system:
general assessment: excellent international service; good local service
domestic: mobile-cellular teledensity exceeds 125 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

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
17 (2000)

Internet hosts:
155,722 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

condensate 245 km; gas 1,320 km; oil 563 km (2007)

Ports and terminals:
Point Fortin, Point Lisas, Port-of-Spain

Merchant marine:
total: 9
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)

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)

total: 8,320 km
paved: 4,252 km
unpaved: 4,068 km (2000)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2007)

6 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

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.)

Military branches:
Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force (TTDF): Trinidad and Tobago Regiment, Coast Guard, Air Guard (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 8,671
female: 8,153 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
0.3% of GDP (2006)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

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

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