Trinidad and Tobago: The Truth Knowledge And The History Of


(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA FACT BOOK)

 

Trinidad and Tobago

Introduction 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.
History Tobago’s cigar-like shape gave it its Spanish name (cabaco, tavaco, tobacco) and possibly its Amerindian names of Aloubaéra (black crotch) and Urupaina (big snail) (Boomert, 2000). Historian E.L. Joseph claimed that Trinidad’s Amerindian name was Iere derived from the Amerindian name for hummingbird ierèttê or yerettê. However, Boomert claims that Cairi or Caeri does not mean hummingbird and tukusi or tucuchi does. Others have reported that Kairi or Iere simply meant island.

Both Trinidad and Tobago were originally settled by Amerindians of South American origin. Trinidad was first settled by pre-agricultural Archaic people at least 7,000 years ago, making it the earliest-settled part of the Caribbean. Ceramic-using agriculturalists settled Trinidad around 250 BC and then moved further up the Lesser Antillean chain. At the time of European contact Trinidad was occupied by various Arawakan-speaking groups including the Nepoya and Suppoya, and Cariban-speaking groups such as the Yao, while Tobago was occupied by the Island Caribs and Galibi. The Amerindian name for Trinidad was Kairi or Iere which is usually translated as The Land of the Hummingbird, although others have reported that it simply meant island. Christopher Columbus encountered the island of Trinidad on July 31, 1498 and named it after the Holy Trinity. Columbus reported seeing Tobago, which he named Bella Forma, but did not land on the island. The name Tobago is probably derived from tobacco, although the English pronunciation is /təˈbeɪgoʊ/, rhyming with plumbago and sago.

Antonio de Sedeño first settled Trinidad in the 1530s as a means of controlling the Orinoco and subduing the Warao (Whitehead, 1997). Cacique Wannawanare (Guanaguanare) granted the St Joseph area to Domingo de Vera e Ibargüen in 1592 and then withdrew to another part of the island (Boomert, 2000). San José de Oruña (St Joseph) was established by Antonio de Berrío on this land. Walter Raleigh arrived in Trinidad on March 22 1595, casting anchor at Curiapan/Punta de Gallos and described the Pitch Lake (Piche or Tierra de Brea) and the Annaperima hill. This hill was known to the Warao as the home of the sea god Na’barima (Whitehead, 1997; 131). Raleigh soon attacked San José and captured and interrogated de Berrío obtaining much information from him and from the cacique Topiawari (Whitehead, 1997). In the 1700s, Trinidad belonged as an island province to the viceroyalty of New Spain along with modern Mexico and Central America (Besson, 2000). The Dutch and the Courlanders had established themselves in Tobago in the 16th and 17th centuries and produced tobacco and cotton. However Trinidad in this period was still mostly forest, populated by a few Spaniards with their handful of slaves and a few thousand Amerindians (Besson, 2000). Spanish colonisation in Trinidad remained tenuous. In 1762, after three hundred years of Spanish rule San José de Oruña and Puerto de España (Port of Spain) were hamlets rather than towns. Because Trinidad was considered underpopulated, Roume de St. Laurent, a Frenchman living in Grenada, was able to obtain a Cédula de Población from the Spanish King Charles III on the 4th November, 1783. This Cédula de Población was more generous than the first of 1776 and granted free lands to Roman Catholic foreign settlers and their slaves in Trinidad willing to swear allegiance to the Spanish king. The land grant was thirty two acres for each man, woman and child and half of that for each slave brought. As a result, Scots, Irish, German, Italian and English families arrived. The Protestants among them profited from Governor Don José Maria Chacon’s generous interpretation of the law. The French Revolution (1789) also had an impact on Trinidad’s culture since it resulted in the emigration of Martiniquan planters and their slaves to Trinidad who established an agriculture-based economy (sugar and cocoa) for the island

The population of Puerto de España (Port of Spain) increased from under 3,000 to 10,422 in five years and the inhabitants in 1797 consisted of mixed-races, Spaniards, Africans, French republican soldiers, retired pirates and French nobility (Besson, 2000). The total population of Trinidad in 1797 was 17,718; 2,151 of which were “white”, 4,476 were “free blacks and people of colour”, 10,009 were slaves and 1,082 Amerindians. In 1797, General Sir Ralph Abercromby and his squadron sailed through the Bocas and anchored off the coast of Chaguaramas. The Spanish Governor Chacon decided to capitulate without fighting. Trinidad became a British crown colony, with a French-speaking population and Spanish laws (Besson, 2000). The conquest and formal ceding of Trinidad in 1802 led to an influx of settlers from England or the British colonies of the Eastern Caribbean. After the abolition of slavery and the collapse of the French planters’ cane economy, the ‘French Creole’ planters and the peasant population of mixed Spanish-Amerindians turned to cocoa cultivation. Although originally a sugar colony, cacao (cocoa) dominated the economy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. After the collapse of the cacao crop (due to disease and the Great Depression) petroleum increasingly came to dominate the economy. The Depression and the rise of the oil economy led to changes in the social structure. By the 1950s cocoa had become a staple in Trinidad’s export market and was responsible for a growing middle-class. Originally settled by Amerindians of South American origin at least 7,000 years ago, this varied history has left the country with a mixture of African, Indian, European, Middle Eastern and Chinese people. All these groups have left an imprint on the national culture, and there is an increasingly high percentage of mixed-race people. Trinidad and Tobago became an independent nation (from the United Kingdom) in 1962 and a republic in 1976.

Meanwhile, Tobago changed hands between British, French, Dutch and Courlanders from modern-day Latvia. Britain consolidated its hold on both islands during the Napoleonic Wars, and they were combined into the colony of Trinidad and Tobago in 1889. As a result of these colonial struggles, Amerindian, Spanish, French and English place names are all common in the country. African slaves and Chinese, Indian, and free African indentured labourers, as well as Portuguese from Madeira, arrived to supply labour in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Emigration from Barbados and the other Lesser Antilles, Venezuela, Syria, and Lebanon also impacted on the ethnic make-up of the country.

The presence of American military bases in Chaguaramas and Cumuto in Trinidad during World War II profoundly changed the character of society. In the post-war period, the wave of decolonisation that swept the British Empire led to the formation of the West Indies Federation in 1958 as a vehicle for independence. Chaguaramas was the proposed site for the federal capital. The Federation dissolved after the withdrawal of Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago elected for independence in 1962.

In 1976, the country severed its links with the British monarchy and became a republic within the Commonwealth, though it retained the British Privy Council as its final Court of Appeal.

Between the years 1972 and 1983, the Republic profited greatly from the rising price of oil, as the oil-rich country increased its living standards greatly.

In 1990, 114 members of the Jamaat al Muslimeen, led by Yasin Abu Bakr, formerly known as Lennox Phillip, stormed the Red House (the seat of Parliament), and Trinidad and Tobago Television, the only television station in the country at the time, and held the country’s government hostage for six days before surrendering.

Since 2003, the country has entered a second oil boom, a driving force which the government hopes to use to turn the country’s main export back to sugar and agriculture. Great concern was raised in August 2007 when it was predicted that this boom would last only until 2018.

Petroleum, petrochemicals and natural gas continue to be the backbone of the economy. Tourism is the mainstay of the economy of Tobago, and the island remains a favourite destination for many European tourists. Trinidad and Tobago is one of the most prosperous and stable democratic nations in the Caribbean.

Geography Location: Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela
Geographic coordinates: 11 00 N, 61 00 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 5,128 sq km
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)
Irrigated land: 40 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
Politics Trinidad and Tobago is a republic with a two-party system and a bicameral parliamentary system based on the Westminster System. The Head of State of Trinidad and Tobago is the President, currently George Richards. The Head of Government is the Prime Minister Patrick Manning. The President is elected by an Electoral College consisting of the full membership of both houses of Parliament. The Prime Minister is elected from the results of a general election which takes place every five years. The President is required to appoint the leader of the party who in his opinion has the most support of the members of the House of Representatives to this post; this has generally been the leader of the party which won the most seats in the previous election (except in the case of the 2001 General Elections). Tobago also has it’s own elections, separate from the general elections. In these elections, members are elected and serve in the Tobago House of Assembly.

The Parliament consists of two chambers, the Senate (31 seats) and the House of Representatives (41 seats). The members of the Senate are appointed by the president. Sixteen Government Senators are appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister, six Opposition Senators are appointed on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition and nine Independent Senators are appointed by the President to represent other sectors of civil society. The 41 members of the House of Representatives are elected by the people for a maximum term of five years in a “first past the post” system.

Since December 24, 2001, the governing party has been the People’s National Movement led by Patrick Manning; the Opposition party is the United National Congress led by Basdeo Panday. Another recent party is the Congress of the People, or COP, led by Winston Dookeran . Support for these parties appears to fall along ethnic lines with the PNM consistently obtaining a majority Afro-Trinbagonian vote, and the UNC gaining a majority of Indo-Trinbagonian support. COP gained 23% of the vote but failed to win a single seat. At present the PNM holds 26 seats in the House of Representatives and the UNC Alliance (UNC-A) holds 15 seats, following elections held on the 5th November 2007.

Voter turnout in General Elections averages between 60-70%.

There are 14 Municipal Corporations,(2 Cities, 3 Boroughs and 9 Regions) which have a limited level of autonomy. The various councils are made up of a mixture of elected and appointed members. Elections are due to be held every 3 years, but have not beem held since 2002, 2 extensions having been sought by the government. Local Government elections are next due in July 2009.

Trinidad and Tobago is a leading member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), of which only the Caribbean Single Market (CSM) is in force. It is also the seat of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which was inaugurated on 16 April 2005. The CCJ is intended to replace the British Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as the final Appellate Court for the member states of the CARICOM. Since its inauguration, only two states, Barbados and Guyana, have acceded to the appellate jurisdiction of the CCJ. The CCJ also serves has an original jurisdiction in the interpretation of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, to which all members of CARICOM have acceded. However, to date, only one matter has been filed under the original jurisdiction.

On 11 April 2006, the 5-Member UNCLOS Annex VII Arbitral Tribunal, presided over by H.E. Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, rendered after two years of international judicial proceedings, the landmark Barbados/Trinidad and Tobago Award, which resolved the maritime boundary delimitation (in the East, Central and West sectors) to satisfaction of both Parties and committed Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago to resolve their fisheries dispute by means of concluding a new Fisheries Agreement.

People Population: 1,231,323 (July 2008 est.)
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.)
Median age: total: 32.3 years
male: 31.9 years
female: 32.8 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: -0.11% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 14.34 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 7.99 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -7.44 migrant(s)/1,000 population (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.)
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.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 70.68 years
male: 67.78 years
female: 73.66 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.72 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 3.2% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 29,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: 1,900 (2003 est.)
Nationality: noun: Trinidadian(s), Tobagonian(s)
adjective: Trinidadian, Tobagonian
Ethnic groups: Indian (South Asian) 40%, African 37.5%, mixed 20.5%, other 1.2%, unspecified 0.8% (2000 census)
Religions: 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)
Languages: English (official), Caribbean Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), French, Spanish, Chinese
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98.6%
male: 99.1%
female: 98% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2005)
Education expenditures: 4.2% of GDP (200)
People – note: in 2007, the government of Trinidad and Tobago estimated the population to be 1.3 million
Government 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 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
Independence: 31 August 1962 (from UK)
National holiday: Independence Day, 31 August (1962)
Constitution: 1 August 1976
Legal system: based on English common law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ 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 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
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
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 [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]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Jamaat-al Muslimeen [Yasin BAKR]
International organization participation: ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-24, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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
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
Flag description: red with a white-edged black diagonal band from the upper hoist side to the lower fly side
Culture It is also the birthplace of calypso music and the steelpan, which is widely claimed to be the only acoustic musical instrument invented during the 20th century. The diverse cultural and religious background allows for many festivities and ceremonies throughout the year. Other indigenous art forms include soca (a derivate of calypso), Parang (Venezuelan-influenced Christmas music), Chutney, Rapso music, which was made famous by Cheryl Byron and Pichakaree (musical forms which blend the music of the Caribbean and India) and the famous Limbo dance.

The artistic scene is vibrant. Trinidad and Tobago claims two Nobel Prize-winning authors, V.S. Naipaul and St Lucian-born Derek Walcott. Edmundo Ros, the ‘King of Latin American Music’, was born in Port of Spain. Mas’ designer Peter Minshall is renowned not only for his Carnival costumes, but also for his role in opening ceremonies of the Barcelona Olympics, the 1994 Football World Cup, the 1996 Summer Olympics and the 2002 Winter Olympics, for which he won an Emmy Award.

Economy 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.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $29.76 billion (2008 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $24.61 billion (2008 est.)
GDP – real growth rate: 5.8% (2008 est.)
GDP – per capita (PPP): $28,400 (2008 est.)
GDP – composition by sector: agriculture: 0.5%
industry: 62.2%
services: 37.3% (2008 est.)
Labor force: 625,000 (2008 est.)
Labor force – by occupation: agriculture 4%, manufacturing, mining, and quarrying 12.9%, construction and utilities 17.5%, services 65.6% (2006 est.)
Unemployment rate: 5.5% (2008 est.)
Population below poverty line: 17% (2007 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Investment (gross fixed): 17.1% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budget: revenues: $8.6 billion
expenditures: $6.677 billion (2008 est.)
Fiscal year: 1 October – 30 September
Public debt: 24.2% of GDP (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 12% (2008 est.)
Central bank discount rate: 10% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate: 11.75% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money: $2.646 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money: $5.707 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit: $3.721 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $15.61 billion (31 December 2007)
Agriculture – products: cocoa, rice, citrus, coffee, vegetables; poultry
Industries: petroleum, chemicals, tourism, food processing, cement, beverage, cotton textiles
Electricity – production: 7.704 billion kWh (2007)
Electricity – consumption: 7.083 billion kWh (2007)
Electricity – exports: 0 kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity – imports: 0 kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity – production by source: fossil fuel: 99.8%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0.2% (2001)
Oil – production: 163,300 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil – consumption: 28,730 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil – exports: 218,800 bbl/day (2005)
Oil – imports: 72,780 bbl/day (2005)
Oil – proved reserves: 728.3 million bbl (1 January 2008 est.)
Natural gas – production: 39 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – consumption: 20.8 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – exports: 18.1 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – imports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – proved reserves: 531.5 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)
Current account balance: $5.721 billion (2008 est.)
Exports: $16.73 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)
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
Exports – partners: US 57.5%, Jamaica 6.5%, Spain 3.9% (2007)
Imports: $10.26 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)
Imports – commodities: mineral fuels, lubricants, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods, food, live animals, grain
Imports – partners: US 28.2%, Brazil 11%, Venezuela 8.2%, Colombia 5.4%, Gabon 4.9%, China 4.2% (2007)
Economic aid – recipient: $200,000 (2007 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $8.765 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Debt – external: $3.4 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment – at home: $12.44 billion (2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment – abroad: $1.419 billion (2007)
Currency (code): Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TTD)
Currency code: TTD
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)
Communications Telephones – main lines in use: 323,800 (2007)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 1.008 million (2007)
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
Radio broadcast stations: AM 4, FM 18, shortwave 0 (2001)
Radios: 680,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 6 (2005)
Televisions: 425,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .tt
Internet hosts: 155,722 (2008)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 17 (2000)
Internet users: 430,800 (2007)
Transportation Airports: 6 (2007)
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)
Airports – with unpaved runways: total: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2007)
Pipelines: condensate 245 km; gas 1,320 km; oil 563 km (2007)
Roadways: total: 8,320 km
paved: 4,252 km
unpaved: 4,068 km (2000)
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)
Ports and terminals: Point Fortin, Point Lisas, Port-of-Spain
Military Military branches: Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force (TTDF): Trinidad and Tobago Regiment, Coast Guard, Air Guard (2008)
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.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 8,671
female: 8,153 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures: 0.3% of GDP (2006)
Transnational Issues 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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