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World > North America > Trinidad and Tobago > Government and Political Conditions (Notes)

Trinidad and Tobago - Government and Political Conditions (Notes)


GOVERNMENT
Trinidad and Tobago is a unitary state, with a parliamentary democracy modeled after that of Great Britain. Although completely independent, Trinidad and Tobago acknowledged the British monarch as the figurehead chief of state from 1962 until 1976. In 1976 the country adopted a republican Constitution, replacing Queen Elizabeth with a president elected by Parliament. The general direction and control of the government rests with the cabinet, led by a prime minister and answerable to the bicameral Parliament.

The 36 members of the House of Representatives are elected to terms of at least 5 years. Elections may be called earlier by the president at the request of the prime minister or after a vote of no confidence in the House of Representatives. At the next general election, due to take place by the end of 2007, the number of seats contested in the House of Representatives will increase from 36 to 41. The Senate's 31 members are appointed by the president: sixteen on the advice of the prime minister, six on the advice of the leader of the opposition, and nine independents selected by the president from among outstanding members of the community. Elected councils administer the nine regional, two city, and three borough corporations on Trinidad. Since 1980 the Tobago House of Assembly has governed Tobago with limited responsibility for local matters.

The country's highest court is the Court of Appeal, whose chief justice is appointed by the president after consultation with the prime minister and leader of the opposition. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London decides final appeal on some matters. Member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) selected Trinidad as the headquarters site for the new Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which is intended eventually to replace the Privy Council for all CARICOM states. The CCJ heard its first case in August 2005. Despite having its seat in Port of Spain, the CCJ has not yet supplanted the Privy Council for Trinidad and Tobago due to a legislative dispute over constitutional reform.

Principal Government Officials
President--George Maxwell Richards
Prime Minister--Patrick Manning
Attorney General--John Jeremie
Chief Justice--Satnarine Sharma

Selected Short List of Key Ministers
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Arnold Piggott
Minister of Energy and Energy Industries and Public Administration--Lenny Saith
Minister of Finance--Patrick Manning
Minister of National Security--Martin Joseph
Minister of Tourism--Howard Chin Lee
Minister of Trade and Industry--Kenneth Valley
Ambassador to the U.S. and to the OAS--Marina Valere
Ambassador to the UN--Phillip Sealey The embassy of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is located at 1708 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036 (tel. 202-467-6490; fax. 202-785-3130).


Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions - Trinidad and Tobago Dollar Exchange Rates
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.



Facts at a Glance
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Climate
Current Time
Ranking Positions
Trinidad and Tobago Dollar Exchange Rates


Notes and Commentary
People
Economy
Government and Political Conditions
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.





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