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Trinidad and Tobago

World Factbook (1990) Trinidad and Tobago.jpg

See regional map III


Total area: 5,130 km²; land area: 5,130 km²

Comparative area: slightly smaller than Delaware

Land boundaries: none

Coastline: 362 km

Maritime claims:

Continental shelf: 200 meters or to depth of exploitation
Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Extended economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Disputes: maritime boundary with Venezuela in the Gulf of Paria

Climate: tropical; rainy season (June to December)

Terrain: mostly plains with some hills and low mountains

Natural resources: crude oil, natural gas, asphalt

Land use: 14% arable land; 17% permanent crops; 2% meadows and pastures; 44% forest and woodland; 23% other; includes 4% irrigated

Environment: outside usual path of hurricanes and other tropical storms

Note: located 11 km from Venezuela


Population: 1,344,639 (July 1990), growth rate 2.2% (1990)

Birth rate: 28 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 6 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 10 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 69 years male, 74 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 3.3 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Trinidadian(s), Tobagonian(s); adjective—Trinidadian, Tobagonian

Ethnic divisions: 43% black, 40% East Indian, 14% mixed, 1% white, 1% Chinese, 1% other

Religion: 36.2% Roman Catholic, 23.0% Hindu, 13.1% Protestant, 6.0% Muslim, 21.7% unknown

Language: English (official), Hindi, French, Spanish

Literacy: 98%

Labor force: 463,900; 18.1% construction and utilities; 14.8% manufacturing, mining, and quarrying; 10.9% agriculture; 56.2% other (1985 est.)

Organized labor: 22% of labor force (1988)


Long-form name: Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

Type: parliamentary democracy

Capital: Port-of-Spain

Administrative divisions: 8 counties, 3 municipalities*, and 1 ward**; Arima*, Caroni, Mayaro, Nariva, Port-of-Spain*, Saint Andrew, Saint David, Saint George, Saint Patrick, San Fernando*, Tobago**, Victoria

Independence: 31 August 1962 (from UK)

Constitution: 31 August 1976

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

National holiday: Independence Day, 31 August (1962)

Executive branch: president, prime minister, Cabinet

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of an upper house or Senate and a lower house or House of Representatives

Judicial branch: Court of Appeal, Supreme Court

Leaders: Chief of State—President Noor Mohammed HASSANALI (since 18 March 1987);

Head of Government—Prime Minister Arthur Napoleon Raymond ROBINSON (since 18 December 1986)

Political parties and leaders: National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR), A. N. R. Robinson; People's National Movement (PNM), Patrick Manning; United National Congress, Basdeo Panday; Movement for Social Transformation (MOTION), David Abdullah

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: House of Representatives—last held 15 December 1986 (next to be held by December 1991); results—NAR 66%, PNM 32%, others 2%; seats—(36 total) NAR 33, PNM 3

Communists: Communist Party of Trinidad and Tobago; Trinidad and Tobago Peace Council, James Millette

Other political pressure groups: National Joint Action Committee (NJAC), radical antigovernment black-identity organization; Trinidad and Tobago Peace Council, leftist organization affiliated with the World Peace Council; Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce; Trinidad and Tobago Labor Congress, moderate labor federation; Council of Progressive Trade Unions, radical labor federation

Member of: ACP, CARICOM, CCC, Commonwealth, FAO, G-77, GATT, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICO, IDA, IDB—Inter-American Development Bank, IFC, ILO, IMF, IMO, INTELSAT, INTERPOL, ISO, ITU, IWC—International Wheat Council, NAM, OAS, PAHO, SELA, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Angus Albert KHAN; Chancery at 1708 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20036; telephone (202) 467-6490; Trinidad and Tobago has a Consulate General in New York; US—Ambassador Charles A. GARGANO; Embassy at 15 Queen's Park West, Port-of-Spain (mailing address is P. O. Box 752, Port-of-Spain); telephone [809] 622-6372 or 6376, 6176

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


Overview: Trinidad and Tobago's petroleum-based economy has been in decline since 1982. During the first half of the 1980s, the petroleum sector accounted for nearly 80% of export earnings, 40% of government revenues, and almost 25% of GDP. In recent years, however, the economy has suffered because of the sharp fall in the price of oil. The government, in response to the revenue loss, pursued a series of austerity measures that pushed the unemployment rate to 22% in 1988. Agriculture employs only about 11% of the labor force and produces less than 3% of GDP. Since this sector is small, it has been unable to absorb the large numbers of the unemployed. The government currently seeks to diversify its export base.

GDP: $3.75 billion, per capita $3,070; real growth rate -2.0% (1988 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 15.0% (1989 est.)

Unemployment rate: 22% (1988)

Budget: revenues $1.4 billion; expenditures $2.1 billion, including capital expenditures of $430 million (1988 est.)

Exports: $1.4 billion (f.o.b., 1987); commodities—includes reexports—petroleum and petroleum products 70%, fertilizer, chemicals 15%, steel products, sugar, cocoa, coffee, citrus (1987); partners—US 61%, EC 15%, CARICOM 9%, Latin America 7%, Canada 3% (1986)

Imports: $1.2 billion (c.i.f., 1987); commodities—raw materials 41%, capital goods 30%, consumer goods 29% (1986); partners—US 42%, EC 21%, Japan 10%, Canada 6%, Latin America 6%, CARICOM 4% (1986)

External debt: $2.02 billion (December 1987)

Industrial production: growth rate 5.2%, excluding oil refining (1986)

Electricity: 1,176,000 kW capacity; 3,350 million kWh produced, 2,700 kWh per capita (1989)

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

Agriculture: accounts for about 3% of GDP and 4% of labor force; highly subsidized sector; major crops—cocoa and sugarcane; sugarcane acreage is being shifted into rice, citrus, coffee, vegetables; must import large share of food needs

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-85), $370 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $437 million

Currency: Trinidad and Tobago dollar (plural—dollars); 1 Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TT$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Trinidad and Tobago dollars (TT$) per US$1—4.2500 (January 1990), 4.2500 (1989), 3.8438 (1988), 3.6000 (1987), 3.6000 (1986), 2.4500 (1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: minimal agricultural system near San Fernando

Highways: 8,000 km total; 4,000 km paved, 1,000 km improved earth, 3,000 km unimproved earth

Pipelines: 1,032 km crude oil; 19 km refined products; 904 km natural gas

Ports: Port-of-Spain, Point Lisas, Pointe-a-Pierre

Civil air: 14 major transport aircraft

Airports: 6 total, 5 usable; 3 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 1 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 3 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: excellent international service via tropospheric scatter links to Barbados and Guyana; good local service; 109,000 telephones; stations—2 AM, 4 FM, 5 TV; 1 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT earth station

Defense Forces

Branches: Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force, Trinidad and Tobago Police Service

Military manpower: males 15-49, 343,292; 248,674 fit for military service

Defense expenditures: 1.6% of GDP, or $59 million (1989 est.)