Puerto Rico: The Truth Knowledge And The History Of The Nation And People

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Puerto Rico

Introduction Populated for centuries by aboriginal people, the island was claimed by the Spanish Crown in 1493 following COLUMBUS’ second voyage to the Americas. In 1898, after 400 years of colonial rule that saw the indigenous population nearly exterminated and African slave labor introduced, Puerto Rico was ceded to the US as a result of the Spanish-American War. Puerto Rican’s were granted US citizenship in 1917. Popularly-elected governors have served since 1948. In 1952, a constitution was enacted providing for internal self government. In plebiscites held in 1967, 1993, and 1998, voters chose not to alter the existing political status.
History Pre-Columbian era

The history of the archipelago of Puerto Rico (Spanish for “Rich Port”) before the arrival of Christopher Columbus is not well known. What is known today comes from archaeological findings and early Spanish accounts. The first comprehensive book on the history of Puerto Rico was written by Fray Iñigo Abbad y Lasierra in 1786, 293 years after the first Spaniards arrived on the island.

The first settlers were the Ortoiroid people, an Archaic Period culture of Amerindian hunters and fishermen. An archaeological dig in the island of Vieques in 1990 found the remains of what is believed to be an Arcaico (Archaic) man (named Puerto Ferro man) dated to around 2000 BC. Between AD 120 and 400, the Igneri, a tribe from the South American Orinoco region, arrived. Between the 4th and 10th centuries, the Arcaicos and Igneri co-existed (and perhaps clashed) on the island. Between the 7th and 11th centuries the Taíno culture developed on the island, and by approximately 1000 AD had become dominant. This lasted until Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492.

Spanish colony

When Christopher Columbus arrived in Puerto Rico during his second voyage on November 19, 1493, the island was inhabited by a group of Arawak Indians known as Taínos. They called the island “Borikén” or, in Spanish, “Borinquen”.[8] Columbus named the island San Juan Bautista, in honor of Saint John the Baptist. Later the island took the name of Puerto Rico while the capital was named San Juan. In 1508, Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León became the island’s first governor to take office.

The Spanish soon colonized the island. Taínos were forced into slavery and were decimated by the harsh conditions of work and by diseases brought by the Spaniards. In 1511, the Taínos revolted against the Spanish; cacique Urayoán, as planned by Agüeybaná II, ordered his warriors to drown the Spanish soldier Diego Salcedo to determine whether the Spaniards were immortal. After drowning Salcedo, they kept watch over his body for three days to confirm his death.[10] The revolt was easily crushed by Ponce de León and within a few decades much of the native population had been decimated by disease, violence, and a high occurrence of suicide. African slaves were introduced to replace the Taíno. Puerto Rico soon became an important stronghold and port for the Spanish Empire. Various forts and walls, such as La Fortaleza, El Castillo San Felipe del Morro and El Castillo de San Cristóbal, were built to protect the port of San Juan from European enemies. France, The Netherlands and England made several attempts to capture Puerto Rico but failed to wrest long-term occupancy. During the late 17th and early 18th centuries colonial emphasis was on the more prosperous mainland territories, leaving the island impoverished of settlers.

In 1809, in the midst of the Peninsular War, the Supreme Central Junta based in Cádiz recognized Puerto Rico as an overseas province of Spain with the right to send representatives to the recently convened Spanish parliament. The representative, Ramon Power y Giralt, died after serving a three-year term in the Cortes. These parliamentary and constitutional reforms, which were in force from 1810 to 1814 and again from 1820 to 1823, were reversed twice afterwards when the traditional monarchy was restored by Ferdinand VII. Nineteenth century reforms augmented the population and economy, and expanded the local character of the island. After the rapid gaining of independence by the South and Central American states in the first part of the century, Puerto Rico and Cuba became the only Spanish colonies found in the Americas.

Toward the end of the 19th century, poverty and political estrangement with Spain led to a small but significant uprising in 1868 known as “Grito de Lares”. It began in the rural town of Lares but was subdued when rebels moved to the neighboring town of San Sebastián. Leaders of this independence movement included Ramón Emeterio Betances, considered the “father” of the Puerto Rican independence movement, and other political figures such as Segundo Ruiz Belvis. In 1897, Luis Muñoz Rivera and others persuaded the liberal Spanish government to agree to Charters of Autonomy for Cuba and Puerto Rico. In 1898, Puerto Rico’s first, but short-lived, autonomous government was organized as an ‘overseas province’ of Spain. The charter maintained a governor appointed by Spain, which held the power to annul any legislative decision, and a partially elected parliamentary structure. In February, Governor-General Manuel Macías inaugurated the new government under the Autonomous Charter. General elections were held in March and the autonomous government began to function on July 17, 1898.

United States colony

On July 25, 1898, during the Spanish-American War, Puerto Rico was invaded by the United States with a landing at Guánica. As an outcome of the war, Spain ceded Puerto Rico, along with Cuba, the Philippines, and Guam to the U.S. under the Treaty of Paris.

The United States and Puerto Rico thus began a long-standing relationship. Puerto Rico began the 20th century under the military rule of the U.S. with officials, including the governor, appointed by the President of the United States. The Foraker Act of 1900 gave Puerto Rico a certain amount of popular government, including a popularly-elected House of Representatives. In 1917, the Jones-Shafroth Act granted Puerto Ricans U.S. citizenship and provided for a popularly-elected Senate to complete a bicameral Legislative Assembly. As a result of their new U.S. citizenship, many Puerto Ricans were drafted into World War I and all subsequent wars with U.S. participation.

Natural disasters, including a major earthquake, a tsunami and several hurricanes, and the Great Depression impoverished the island during the first few decades under American rule. Some political leaders, like Pedro Albizu Campos who led the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party, demanded change. On October 30, 1950, Albizu-Campos and other nationalists led a 3-day revolt (known as The Jayuya Uprising) against the United States in the town of Jayuya. The United States declared martial law and attacked Jayuya with infantry, artillery and bombers. On November 1, 1950, Puerto Rican nationalists Griselio Torresola and Oscar Collazo attempted to assassinate President Harry S Truman. Torresola was killed during the attack, but Collazo was captured. Collazo served 29 years in a federal prison, being released in 1979. Don Pedro Albizu Campos also served many years in a federal prison in Atlanta, Georgia, for seditious conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. government in Puerto Rico.

The internal governance changed during the latter years of the Roosevelt–Truman administrations, as a form of compromise led by Muñoz Marín and others. It culminated with the appointment by President Truman in 1946 of the first Puerto Rican-born governor, Jesus T. Piñero.

Commonwealth

In 1947, the U.S. granted Puerto Ricans the right to democratically elect their own governor. Luis Muñoz Marín was elected during the 1948 general elections, becoming the first popularly-elected governor of Puerto Rico. In 1950, the Truman Administration allowed for a democratic referendum in Puerto Rico to determine whether Puerto Ricans desired to draft their own local constitution.[16] A local constitution was approved by a Constitutional Convention on February 6, 1952, ratified by the U.S. Congress, approved by President Truman on July 3 of that year, and proclaimed by Gov. Muñoz Marín on July 25, 1952, the anniversary of the 1898 arrival of U.S. troops. Puerto Rico adopted the name of Estado Libre Asociado (literally translated as “Free Associated State”), officially translated into English as Commonwealth, for its body politic.

During the 1950s Puerto Rico experienced rapid industrialization, due in large part to Operación Manos a la Obra (“Operation Bootstrap”), an offshoot of FDR’s New Deal, which aimed to transform Puerto Rico’s economy from agriculture-based to manufacturing-based. Presently, Puerto Rico has become a major tourist destination and a leading pharmaceutical and manufacturing center.[citation needed] Yet it still struggles to define its political status. Three plebiscites have been held in recent decades to resolve the political status but no changes have been attained. Support for the pro-statehood party, Partido Nuevo Progresista (PNP) and the pro-commonwealth party, Partido Popular Democrático (PPD) remains about equal. The only registered pro-independence party, the Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño (PIP), usually receives 3-5% of the electoral votes.

On October 25, 2006, the State Department of Puerto Rico conferred Puerto Rican citizenship to Juan Mari Brás. The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican Secretary of Justice determined that Puerto Rican citizenship exists and was recognized in the Constitution of Puerto Rico. Since the summer of 2007, the Puerto Rico State Department has developed the protocol to grant Puerto Rican citizenship to Puerto Ricans.

Geography Puerto Rico has a republican form of government,[21] subject to U.S. jurisdiction and sovereignty.[2] Its current powers are all delegated by the United States Congress and lack full protection under the United States Constitution. Puerto Rico’s head of state is the President of the United States. The government of Puerto Rico, based on the formal republican system, is composed of three branches: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. The Executive branch is headed by the Governor, currently Mr. Anibal Acevedo Vila. The Legislative branch consists of a bicameral Legislative Assembly made up of a Senate upper chamber and a House of Representatives lower chamber. The Senate is headed by the President of the Senate, while the House of Representatives is headed by the Speaker of the House. The Judicial branch is headed by the Chief Justice of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court. The legal system is a mix of the civil law and the common law systems. The governor and legislators are elected by popular vote every four years. Members of the Judicial branch are appointed by the governor with the “advice and consent” of the Senate.

Puerto Rico has limited representation in the U.S. Congress in the form of a nonvoting delegate, formally called a Resident Commissioner (currently Luis Fortuño). The current Congress has returned the Commissioner’s power to vote in the Committee of the Whole, but not on matters where the vote would represent a decisive participation.[22] Puerto Rican elections are governed by the Federal Election Commission;[23][24] While residing in Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans cannot vote in U.S. presidential elections, but they can vote in primaries. Puerto Ricans who become residents of a U.S. state can vote in presidential elections.

As Puerto Rico is not an independent country, it hosts no embassies. It is host, however, to consulates from 42 countries, mainly from the Americas and Europe. Most consulates are located in San Juan. The Holy See has designated the Papal Nuncio in the Dominican Republic as the ecclesiastical liaison to the Roman Catholic Church in Puerto Rico; the Papal Nuncio in Washington, D.C. serves as the Vatican State’s ambassador to the U.S. and the ecclesiastical liaison to the American Roman Catholic Church.

As an unincorporated territory of the United States, Puerto Rico does not have any first-order administrative divisions as defined by the U.S. government, but has 78 municipalities at the second level. Mona Island is not a municipality, but part of the municipality of Mayagüez.[25] Municipalities are subdivided into wards or barrios, and those into sectors. Each municipality has a mayor and a municipal legislature elected for a four year term. The municipality of San Juan (previously called “town”), was founded first, in 1521, San Germán in 1570, Coamo in 1579, Arecibo in 1614, Aguada in 1692 and Ponce in 1692. An increase of settlement saw the founding of 30 municipalities in the 18th century and 34 in the 19th. Six were founded in the 20th century; the last was Florida in 1971.

From 1952 to present, Puerto Rico has had 3 political parties which stand for three distinct future political scenarios. The Popular Democratic Party (PPD) seeks to maintain the island’s “association” status as a commonwealth, improved commonwealth and/or seek a true free sovereign-association status or Free Associated Republic, and has won a plurality vote in referendums on the island’s status held over six decades after the island was invaded by the U.S. The New Progressive Party (PNP) seeks statehood. The Puerto Rican Independence Party seek independence. In 2007, a fourth party, Puerto Ricans for Puerto Rico Party (PPR), was ratified. The PPR’s claims that it seeks to address the islands’ problems from a status-neutral platform. Non-registered parties include the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party, the Socialist Workers Movement, the Hostosian National Independence Movement, and others.

Politics Population: 3,958,128 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 20.5% (male 415,141/female 396,782)
15-64 years: 66% (male 1,254,416/female 1,358,229)
65 years and over: 13.5% (male 229,727/female 303,833) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 35.6 years
male: 33.8 years
female: 37.3 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.369% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 12.61 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 7.88 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -1.03 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 8.65 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 9.15 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 8.13 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 78.58 years
male: 74.64 years
female: 82.73 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.76 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 7,397 (1997)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Puerto Rican(s) (US citizens)
adjective: Puerto Rican
Ethnic groups: white (mostly Spanish origin) 80.5%, black 8%, Amerindian 0.4%, Asian 0.2%, mixed 4.2%, other 6.7% (2000 census)
Religions: Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant and other 15%
Languages: Spanish, English
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94.1%
male: 93.9%
female: 94.4% (2002 est.)
Education expenditures: NA
People Population: 3,958,128 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 20.5% (male 415,141/female 396,782)
15-64 years: 66% (male 1,254,416/female 1,358,229)
65 years and over: 13.5% (male 229,727/female 303,833) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 35.6 years
male: 33.8 years
female: 37.3 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.369% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 12.61 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 7.88 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -1.03 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 8.65 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 9.15 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 8.13 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 78.58 years
male: 74.64 years
female: 82.73 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.76 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 7,397 (1997)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Puerto Rican(s) (US citizens)
adjective: Puerto Rican
Ethnic groups: white (mostly Spanish origin) 80.5%, black 8%, Amerindian 0.4%, Asian 0.2%, mixed 4.2%, other 6.7% (2000 census)
Religions: Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant and other 15%
Languages: Spanish, English
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94.1%
male: 93.9%
female: 94.4% (2002 est.)
Education expenditures: NA

Saint Kitts and Nevis: The Truth Knowledge And The History Of This Island Nation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA FACT BOOK)

 

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Introduction First settled by the British in 1623, the islands became an associated state with full internal autonomy in 1967. The island of Anguilla rebelled and was allowed to secede in 1971. Saint Kitts and Nevis achieved independence in 1983. In 1998, a vote in Nevis on a referendum to separate from Saint Kitts fell short of the two-thirds majority needed. Nevis continues in its efforts to try and separate from Saint Kitts.
History The islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis are two of the Caribbean’s oldest colonised territories. Saint Kitts became the first British colony in the West Indies in 1624 and then became the first French colony in the Caribbean in 1625, when both nations decided to partition the island.

Five thousand years prior to European arrival, the island was settled by Indian peoples. The latest arrivals, the Kalinago peoples, arrived approximately 3 centuries before the Europeans. The Kalinago allowed the Europeans to colonize Saint Kitts, while earlier attempts to settle other islands were met with immediate destruction of the colonies by the Indians. The Kalinago were eventually wiped out in the great Kalinago Genocide of 1626.

The island of Nevis was colonized in 1628 by British settlers from Saint Kitts. From there, Saint Kitts became the premier base for British and French expansion, as the islands of Antigua, Montserrat, Anguilla and Tortola for the British, and Martinique, the Guadeloupe archipelago and St. Barths for the French were colonized from it.

Although small in size, and separated by only 2 miles (3 km) of water, the two islands were viewed and governed as different states until the late 19th century, when they were forcefully unified along with the island of Anguilla by the British. To this day relations are strained, with Nevis accusing Saint Kitts of neglecting its needs.

Saint Kitts and Nevis, along with Anguilla, became an associated state with full internal autonomy in 1967. Angullians rebelled, and their island was allowed to separate from the others in 1971. St. Kitts and Nevis achieved independence in 1983. It is the newest sovereign nation in the Americas. In August 1998, a vote in Nevis on a referendum to separate from St. Kitts fell short of the two-thirds majority needed. In late September 1998, Hurricane Georges caused approximately $445 million in damages and limited GDP growth for the year.

Alexander Hamilton, the first United States Secretary of the Treasury, was born in Nevis; he spent his childhood there and on St. Croix, then belonging to Denmark, and now one of the United States Virgin Islands.

Geography Location: Caribbean, islands in the Caribbean Sea, about one-third of the way from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and Tobago
Geographic coordinates: 17 20 N, 62 45 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 261 sq km (Saint Kitts 168 sq km; Nevis 93 sq km)
land: 261 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: 1.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 135 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate: tropical, tempered by constant sea breezes; little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season (May to November)
Terrain: volcanic with mountainous interiors
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Liamuiga 1,156 m
Natural resources: arable land
Land use: arable land: 19.44%
permanent crops: 2.78%
other: 77.78% (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Total renewable water resources: 0.02 cu km (2000)
Natural hazards: hurricanes (July to October)
Environment – current issues: NA
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: with coastlines in the shape of a baseball bat and ball, the two volcanic islands are separated by a 3-km-wide channel called The Narrows; on the southern tip of long, baseball bat-shaped Saint Kitts lies the Great Salt Pond; Nevis Peak sits in the center of its almost circular namesake island and its ball shape complements that of its sister island
Politics The country is an independent Commonwealth realm with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state, represented in St. Kitts and Nevis by a Governor-General, who acts on the advice of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. The prime minister is the leader of the majority party of the House, and the cabinet conducts affairs of state.

St. Kitts and Nevis has a unicameral legislature, known as the National Assembly. It is composed of fourteen members: eleven elected Representatives (three from the island of Nevis) and three Senators who are appointed by the Governor-General. Two of the senators are appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister, and one on the advice of the leader of the opposition. Unlike in other countries, senators do not constitute a separate Senate or upper house of parliament, but sit in the National Assembly, alongside representatives. All members serve five-year terms. The Prime Minister and the Cabinet are responsible to the Parliament.

Saint Kitts and Nevis is a full and participating member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

People Population: 39,817 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 26.7% (male 5,439/female 5,186)
15-64 years: 65.3% (male 13,018/female 12,968)
65 years and over: 8.1% (male 1,334/female 1,872) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 28.4 years
male: 27.7 years
female: 29.1 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.723% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 17.73 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 8.19 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -2.31 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 14.34 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 16.09 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.48 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 72.94 years
male: 70.08 years
female: 75.98 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.28 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS – deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Kittitian(s), Nevisian(s)
adjective: Kittitian, Nevisian
Ethnic groups: predominantly black; some British, Portuguese, and Lebanese
Religions: Anglican, other Protestant, Roman Catholic
Languages: English
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 97.8%
male: NA%
female: NA% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 13 years (2005)
Education expenditures: 9.3% of GDP (2005)

Saint Lucia: The Truth Knowledge And The History Of This Island Nation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA FACT BOOK)

 

Saint Lucia

Introduction The island, with its fine natural harbor at Castries, was contested between England and France throughout the 17th and early 18th centuries (changing possession 14 times); it was finally ceded to the UK in 1814. Even after the abolition of slavery on its plantations in 1834, Saint Lucia remained an agricultural island, dedicated to producing tropical commodity crops. Self-government was granted in 1967 and independence in 1979.
History Pre-European people

Saint Lucia’s first known inhabitants were Arawaks, believed to have come from northern South America around 200-400 CE. Numerous

France

sites on the island have produced specimens of the Arawaks’ well-developed pottery. There is evidence to suggest that these first inhabitors called the island Iouanalao, which meant ‘Land of the Iguanas’, due to the island’s high number of iguanas.

Caribs gradually replaced Arawaks during the period from 800 to 1000 CE They called the island Hiwanarau, and later Hewanorra, which is now the name used for the Hewanorra International Airport in Vieux Fort. The Caribs had a complex society, with hereditary kings and shamans. Their war canoes could hold more than 100 men and were fast enough to catch a sailing ship. They were later feared by the Europeans because of stories of violence and cannibalism, but much of this was probably exaggeration on the part of the Europeans. The Caribs were usually generous until attacked or deceived (which are situations common to much of European colonial history).

Today called St. Lucia, much of the island’s population are unaware of the valued contribution to what we today call ‘freedom’. They Europeans called these freedon fighters the Brigands, who were of African and sometimes mixed African-Arawak heritage. Many Brigands still occupy the forests and surrounding areas where they still challenge injustice against them and their indigenous counterparts.

European invasion

Europeans first landed on the island in either 1492 or 1502 during Spain’s early exploration of the Caribbean. The Dutch, English, and French all tried to establish trading outposts on St. Lucia in the 17th century but faced opposition from Caribs whose land they were occupying.

17th century

Although the French pirate Francois le Clerc (also known as Jamb de Bois, due to his wooden leg) frequented Saint Lucia in the 1550s, it was not until years later, around 1600, that the first European camp was started by the Dutch, at what is now Vieux Fort. In 1605, an English vessel called the Olive Branch was blown off-course on its way to Guyana, and the 67 colonists started a settlement on Saint Lucia but after five weeks only 19 of them remained due to disease and conflict with the Caribs, so they fled the island.

The French officially claimed the island in 1635 but it was the English that started the next European settlement in 1639, which was wiped out by the Caribs. It was not until 1651 that the French came, this time from Martinique, commanded by De Rousselan, who held the island until his death in 1654.

In 1664, Thomas Warner (son of the governor of St Kitts) claimed Saint Lucia for England. He brought 1,000 men there to defend it from the French, but after two years there were only 89 left, mostly due to disease. For years after this, the island was official traded back and forth between the English and the French in various treaties, as a bargaining chip in negotiations.

18th century

The English, with their headquarters in Barbados, and the French, centered on Martinique, found St. Lucia attractive after the sugar industry developed in 1765. Colonists who came over were mostly indentured white servants serving a small percentage of wealthy merchants or nobles. Conflict with the Caribs increased as more and more land was taken.

Near the end of the century, the French Revolution occurred, and a revolutionary tribunal was sent to Saint Lucia, headed by captain La Crosse. Bringing the ideas of the revolution to Saint Lucia, he set up a guillotine that was used to execute Royalists. In 1794, the French governor of the island declared that all slaves were free, but only a short time later the British invaded again in response to the concerns of the wealthy plantation owners, and restored slavery after years of fighting. Castries was burned in 1796 as part of that battle between the British and the slaves and French republicans.

19th century

Britain eventually triumphed, with France permanently ceding Saint Lucia in 1814. The British abolished the African slave trade in 1807, three years after former slaves in Haiti had gained their independence as the first black republic in the Caribbean, but it was not until 1834 that slavery was actually abolished on Saint Lucia. Even after slavery was officially abolished, all former slaves had to serve a four-year “apprenticeship” which forced them to work for free for their former slavemasters for at least three-quarters of the work week, with final freedom in 1838.

Also in 1838, Saint Lucia was incorporated into the British Windward Islands administration, headquartered in Barbados. This lasted until 1885, when the capital was moved to Grenada.

20th century to present day

Increasing self-government has marked St. Lucia’s 20th century history. A 1924 constitution gave the island its first form of representative government, with a minority of elected members in the previously all-nominated legislative council. Universal adult suffrage was introduced in 1951, and elected members became a majority of the council. Ministerial government was introduced in 1956, and in 1958 St. Lucia joined the short-lived West Indies Federation, a semi-autonomous dependency of the United Kingdom. When the federation collapsed in 1962, following Jamaica’s withdrawal, a smaller federation was briefly attempted. After the second failure, the United Kingdom and the six windward and leeward islands–Grenada, St. Vincent, Dominica, Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis and Anguilla, and St. Lucia–developed a novel form of cooperation called associated statehood.

As an associated state of the United Kingdom from 1967 to 1979, St. Lucia had full responsibility for internal self-government but left its external affairs and defense responsibilities to the United Kingdom. This interim arrangement ended on February 22, 1979, when St. Lucia achieved full independence. St. Lucia continues to recognize Queen Elizabeth II as titular head of state and is an active member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The island continues to cooperate with its neighbors through the Caribbean community and common market (CARICOM), the East Caribbean Common Market (ECCM), and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

Geography Location: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago
Geographic coordinates: 13 53 N, 60 58 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 616 sq km
land: 606 sq km
water: 10 sq km
Area – comparative: 3.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 158 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate: tropical, moderated by northeast trade winds; dry season January to April, rainy season May to August
Terrain: volcanic and mountainous with some broad, fertile valleys
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Gimie 950 m
Natural resources: forests, sandy beaches, minerals (pumice), mineral springs, geothermal potential
Land use: arable land: 6.45%
permanent crops: 22.58%
other: 70.97% (2005)
Irrigated land: 30 sq km (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 0.01
per capita: 81 cu m/yr (1997)
Natural hazards: hurricanes and volcanic activity
Environment – current issues: deforestation; soil erosion, particularly in the northern region
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: the twin Pitons (Gros Piton and Petit Piton), striking cone-shaped peaks south of Soufriere, are one of the scenic natural highlights of the Caribbean
Foreign relations Saint Lucia has no extant international disputes aside from tension resulting from the island’s status as a transit point for South American drugs destined for the United States and Europe.

Historically, the major thrust of foreign affairs for St. Lucia has been economic development. The government is seeking balanced international relations with emphasis on mutual economic cooperation and trade and investment. It seeks to conduct its foreign policy chiefly through its membership in the OECS. St. Lucia participated in the 1983 Grenada mission, sending members of its Special Services Unit into active duty. St. Lucia is a member of the Commonwealth, the Organization of American States, and the United Nations. It seeks pragmatic solutions to major international issues and maintains friendly relations with the major powers active in the Caribbean, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and France. St. Lucia has been active in eastern Caribbean regional affairs through the OECS and CARICOM.

As a member of CARICOM, St. Lucia strongly backed efforts by the United States to implement UN Security Council Resolution 940, designed to restore democracy to Haiti. The country agreed to contribute personnel to the multinational force, which restored the democratically elected government of Haiti in October 1994.

St. Lucia participated, along with 14 other Caribbean nations, in a summit with US President Bill Clinton in Bridgetown, Barbados, in May 1997. The summit, which was the first-ever meeting in the region between the U.S. and Caribbean heads of government, strengthened the basis for regional cooperation on justice and counternarcotics, finance and development, and trade issues.

St. Lucia had official diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan) for about 13 years, but switched recognition to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1997. On 25 April 2007, the Premier of the Republic of China (Taiwan) Su Tseng-chang, announced that St. Lucia and Taiwan would resume formal diplomatic relations.[1] On May 1, 2007, St. Lucia regained diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan).[2] Within a few days, the People’s Republic of China suspended diplomatic relations.

People Population: 159,585 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 25.2% (male 20,614/female 19,559)
15-64 years: 65.8% (male 50,897/female 54,140)
65 years and over: 9% (male 6,481/female 7,894) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 29.2 years
male: 28.2 years
female: 30.2 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.436% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 15.4 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 6.71 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -4.33 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 13.8 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 12.75 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 14.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 76.25 years
male: 73.59 years
female: 79.05 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.86 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS – deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Saint Lucian(s)
adjective: Saint Lucian
Ethnic groups: black 82.5%, mixed 11.9%, East Indian 2.4%, other or unspecified 3.1% (2001 census)
Religions: Roman Catholic 67.5%, Seventh Day Adventist 8.5%, Pentecostal 5.7%, Rastafarian 2.1%, Anglican 2%, Evangelical 2%, other Christian 5.1%, other 1.1%, unspecified 1.5%, none 4.5% (2001 census)
Languages: English (official), French patois
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 90.1%
male: 89.5%
female: 90.6% (2001 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 14 years
male: 13 years
female: 14 years (2006)
Education expenditures: 6.6% of GDP (2006

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: The Truth Knowledge And The History Of

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA FACT BOOK)

 

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Introduction Resistance by native Caribs prevented colonization on St. Vincent until 1719. Disputed between France and the United Kingdom for most of the 18th century, the island was ceded to the latter in 1783. Between 1960 and 1962, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was a separate administrative unit of the Federation of the West Indies. Autonomy was granted in 1969 and independence in 1979.
History Carib Indians aggressively prevented European settlement on St. Vincent until the 18th century. Enslaved Africans – whether shipwrecked or escaped from Barbados, St. Lucia and Grenada and seeking refuge in mainland St. Vincent, or Hairouna as it was originally named by the Caribs – intermarried with the Caribs and became known as Garifuna or Black Caribs. Beginning in 1719, French settlers cultivated coffee, tobacco, indigo, cotton, and sugar on plantations worked by enslaved Africans. In 1763, St. Vincent was ceded to Britain. Restored to French rule in 1779, St. Vincent was regained by the British under the Treaty of Paris (1783) in which Great Britain officially recognized the end of the American Revolution. Ancillary treaties were also signed with France and Spain, known as the Treaties of Versailles of 1783, part of which put St. Vincent back under British control. Conflict between the British and the Black Caribs, led by defiant Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer, continued until 1796, when General Sir Ralph Abercromby crushed a revolt fomented by the French radical Victor Hugues. More than 5,000 Black Caribs were eventually deported to Roatán, an island off the coast of Honduras.

Slavery was abolished in 1834. After the apprenticeship period, which ended prematurely in 1838, labour shortages on the plantations resulted in the immigration of indentured servants. The Portuguese came from Madeira starting in the 1840s and shiploads of East Indian labourers arrived between 1861-1880. Conditions remained harsh for both former slaves and immigrant agricultural workers, as depressed world sugar prices kept the economy stagnant until the turn of the century.

From 1763 until independence, St. Vincent passed through various stages of colonial status under the British. A representative assembly was authorized in 1776, Crown Colony government installed in 1877, a legislative council created in 1925, and universal adult suffrage granted in 1951.

During this period, the British made several unsuccessful attempts to affiliate St. Vincent with other Windward Islands in order to govern the region through a unified administration. The colonies themselves, desirous of freedom from British rule, made a notable attempt at unification called West Indies Federation, which collapsed in 1962. St. Vincent was granted associate statehood status on October 27th, 1969, giving it complete control over its internal affairs. Following a referendum in 1979, under Milton Cato St. Vincent and the Grenadines became the last of the Windward Islands to gain independence on the 10th anniversary of its associate statehood status, October 27th, 1979.

Natural disasters have featured in the country’s history. In 1902, La Soufrière volcano erupted, killing 2,000 people. Much farmland was damaged, and the economy deteriorated. In April 1979, La Soufrière erupted again. Although no one was killed, thousands had to be evacuated, and there was extensive agricultural damage. In 1980 and 1987, hurricanes compromised banana and coconut plantations; 1998 and 1999 also saw very active hurricane seasons, with Hurricane Lenny in 1999 causing extensive damage to the west coast of the island.

Geography Location: Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago
Geographic coordinates: 13 15 N, 61 12 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 389 sq km (Saint Vincent 344 sq km)
land: 389 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: twice the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 84 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season (May to November)
Terrain: volcanic, mountainous
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: La Soufriere 1,234 m
Natural resources: hydropower, cropland
Land use: arable land: 17.95%
permanent crops: 17.95%
other: 64.1% (2005)
Irrigated land: 10 sq km (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 0.01
per capita: 83 cu m/yr (1995)
Natural hazards: hurricanes; Soufriere volcano on the island of Saint Vincent is a constant threat
Environment – current issues: pollution of coastal waters and shorelines from discharges by pleasure yachts and other effluents; in some areas, pollution is severe enough to make swimming prohibitive
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: the administration of the islands of the Grenadines group is divided between Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is comprised of 32 islands and cays
Politics St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a parliamentary democracy within the Commonwealth of Nations. Queen Elizabeth II is head of state and is represented on the island by a governor general, the Honourable Sir Fedrick Ballantyne, a

OECSn office with mostly ceremonial functions. Control of the government rests with the prime minister and the cabinet. There is a parliamentary opposition made of the largest minority stakeholder in general elections, headed by the leader of the opposition. The current Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is the Honourable Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, affectionately called “Comrade.”

The country has no formal armed forces, though Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force includes a Special Service Unit.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are a full & participating member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

People Population: 118,432 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 25.1% (male 15,161/female 14,600)
15-64 years: 68.4% (male 41,855/female 39,105)
65 years and over: 6.5% (male 3,402/female 4,309) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 28 years
male: 27.8 years
female: 28.1 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.231% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 15.82 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 5.96 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -7.56 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 13.62 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 14.83 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.36 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 74.34 years
male: 72.42 years
female: 76.31 years (2008 est.)

Should North And South America Copy EU Border Policies?

Should N. & S. America Copy EU Border Policies?

 

If you are from the Americas, simply meaning North of South America there is a good chance that you are aware of the border issues between the U.S. and Mexico. If you are aware of the U.S. President, Donald Trump then you are probably aware of his feelings about wanting a very high border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. It is my personal belief that there are good things and bad things about open, and about closed Borders between Nations. This should be obvious from the simple fact that there are good and bad people in every Nation, Religion and Ethnicity. I wish that I had the answers for everything concerning this issue, but I simply don’t. My goal with this article, just like almost all of the articles that I write, is to get the kind folks who read my articles to think deeper about the issues.

 

First I guess we would need to consider what we think about the EU example if we are going to possibly consider doing the same here in the Americas. Chancellor Merkel of Germany has been a huge driving force concerning open Borders though out all of Europe. The stats have shown that for many years the overall population of Western Europe has been declining. This would mean that, for example, you live in Germany and your economy is doing great, wages are up because companies are having to compete for quality workers, even untrained laborers. When the concept of Open Borders began in the Halls in Brussels it was pre-Arab Spring and pre-Syria melt down. The original idea would have made it much easier for a citizen of Spain or Italy to move to France if France’s job market and quality of life were better than the jobs and quality of life in Spain. This concept of Open Borders was not counting on their being several million refugees flooding into Europe because of turmoil outside of Europe’s Borders. With the large influx of Arab and Persian refugees flooding into Europe things like jobs, housing and the cost of food has become a big problem not only for the original residents but also for those migrating in. Even if there were no elevation in crime, petty or violent, you still have the makings for conflict.

 

Lets look at the ‘why’s’ for these migration issues for a moment please. Somethings come down to ‘animal’ instincts. Some may not like that statement but if you will think about it for a moment most of you will understand what I mean by that. For thousands of years, millions of years, animals have migrated with the seasons, with the food supplies, this is true of birds, big lizards and humans. Sometimes all of these creatures have migrated because of violence in their traditional homeland. With humans this usually means enslavement, death, or escape. For a moment lets look at the reality of Islamic Refugees flooding Europe. First we need to look at the why’s, why are these people risking their lives to migrate from Northern Africa and the Middle-East to Europe? Here are a few issues I would like you to think about for a moment. First lets start with unstable governments, horrible or no economies, not enough food, clean water or shelter and their biggest issue is violence/wars. My question to you is, under these realities wouldn’t you try to move, to get yourself and your family out of these conditions? Even under brutal Dictators these people mostly stayed in their home countries, in their own lands. You may well wonder why people would stay living under someone like al-Assad of Syria and I believe that the answer was simple, he made sure there was an efficient economy, he made sure that the lights were on and that there was food to eat and the trash got picked up off of the streets. Are there some very evil people like Jihadist mixing in with the masses? Of course there are and yes it is difficult to screen them out, but does Europe, does Christianity, throw out the starving, hungry and cold because of the one or two percent?

 

Now, lets talk about North and South American Countries for a moment please. When I Googled for the information I came up with a total of 55 ‘American’ Nations between the North, South, Caribbean and Central America. The Census from 2015 says that within these 55 Nations there are approximately 994 Million people living in these countries. China on the other hand has one Billion Three Hundred and Eighty Million residents, India has One Billion Three Hundred and Twenty Five Million people. The largest physical Nation on Earth is Russia and they have One Hundred and Forty-Five Million People. The U.S. it is said has Three Hundred and Twenty-Three Million residents.

 

To me it seems that President Trump only has a problem with our Southern Border with Mexico, not the much larger Border we share with Canada. I have never once heard him talk about building even a little short wall to divide our two Nations, have you? Do you ever consider if part of the issue here is skin color, or the reality that almost all of the people at our Southern Border are poor? Truth is that there are some violent gang members like members of the MS-13 folks mingled in with the families who are starving and have nothing who are only hoping for a safe place to live and to raise their children. Throughout the years I have spoken with quite a few people who were here working in the U.S. who were here illegally concerning the why question, why are they here instead of their homeland. The answers were always economic. I know that I never came across a person who told me that fear of gangs was a reason though I know that this is an issue for many and that many are too afraid to talk about that. All of the folks who would talk to me about why they are here instead of their homeland told me that they would much rather be home but that there are no jobs at home. These people were here working so that they could send money home to their families so that their families could survive. If here in the States, if there were no jobs, no money for food or housing but we found out that there were jobs in Mexico or Brazil, would you stay here and let your family starve to death? Some will say that they would wait here until they could get in legally and that sounds like a great idea, reality though is, how long, how many years can you and your family go without food or any housing while you wait on a list?

 

Since Mr. Trump has become President he has canceled several trade agreements with our allies and friendly Nation as well as putting higher tariffs on some of their imported products. One of the agreements that Mr. Trump hates is called ‘NAFTA’ this stands for the North American Free Trade Agreement. Free non-tariff trade between all Countries in North and South America was the goal of President Bill Clinton when he was President back in the 1990’s. Should all Nations open their Borders like Chancellor Merkel envisioned for the EU? Maybe we should build Mr. Trumps Wall (with him paying for it being the Mexican Government sure isn’t going too) and shoot anyone who tries to come into our Country any way other that through a designated doorway. Maybe instead of having an allowed immigration total of 50,000 people total each year maybe we should revise this number to about 350,000 with 250,000 of that total reserved for our ‘Sister’ Nations. These are just ideas, concepts of thought, what are your ideas? I know that I don’t have all the answers to this issue but it is an important issue that isn’t ever going to totally go away until there is a true workable solution. Personally I believe that the solution is going to have to be attacked with a multinational approach. Until every government quits selling out to the huge multi-national companies and creates quality employment and living standards for their own people these human waves of disparate people will only continue, and they will only grow in numbers. Friends, what other choice do these people really have?

 

 

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

Turks and Caicos Islands: The Truth Knowledge And History Of

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA FACT BOOK)

 

Turks and Caicos Islands

Introduction The islands were part of the UK’s Jamaican colony until 1962, when they assumed the status of a separate crown colony upon Jamaica’s independence. The governor of The Bahamas oversaw affairs from 1965 to 1973. With Bahamian independence, the islands received a separate governor in 1973. Although independence was agreed upon for 1982, the policy was reversed and the islands remain a British overseas territory.
History Early inhabitants of the islands were Amerindians, including the Arawak people, who were, over the centuries, gradually replaced by the Caribs. The first documented European to sight the islands was Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León, who did so in 1512. During the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, the islands passed from Spanish, to French, to British control, but none of the three powers ever established any settlements.

For several decades around the turn of the 18th century they became popular pirate hideouts. Bermudian salt collectors settled the Turk Islands around 1680. In 1765–1783 they were under French occupation. After the American Revolution (1775–1783) many loyalists fled to Caribbean colonies, including (in 1783) the first settlers on the Caicos Islands; cotton became an important crop briefly. In 1799, both the Turks and the Caicos island groups were annexed by Britain as part of the Bahamas.

In 1841 the Trouvadore, a Spanish ship engaged in the slave trade, wrecked off the coast of East Caicos, one of the larger Caicos Islands. One hundred and ninety-two captive African Blacks survived the sinking and made it to shore where, under British rule, the slave trade was illegal. These survivors were apprenticed to trades for one year then settled mostly on Grand Turk Island. An 1878 letter documents the “Trouvadore Africans” and their descendants as constituting an essential part of the “labouring population” on the islands. In 2004 marine archaeologists rediscovered a wreck, called the “Black Rock Ship,” that subsequent research has suggested may be that of the Trouvadore. This suggestion was further supported when a marine archaeology expedition funded by NOAA in November of 2008 confirmed that the wreck comprises artifacts whose time of manufacture and style support the association of this wreck with that of the Trouvadore. The wreckage has, however, not been identified with absolute certainty.

In 1848 the Turks and Caicos were declared a separate colony under a council president. The last incumbent was maintained in 1873 when the islands were made part of Jamaica colony; in 1894 the chief colonial official was restyled commissioner. In 1917, Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden suggested that the Turks and Caicos join Canada, but this suggestion was shot down by British prime minister David Lloyd George. The islands remained a dependency of Jamaica until 1959.

On 4 July 1959, the islands were again a separate colony, the last commissioner being restyled administrator, but the governor of Jamaica remained the governor of the islands. Until 31 May 1962, they were one of the constitutive parts of the Federation of the West Indies.

When Jamaica was granted independence from Britain in August 1962, the Turks and Caicos Islands became a crown colony. From 1965, the governor of the Bahamas was also governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands and oversaw affairs for the islands. When the Bahamas gained independence in 1973, the Turks and Caicos received their own governor (the last administrator was restyled). In 1974, Canadian New Democratic Party MP Max Saltsman tried to use his Private Member’s Bill to create legislation to annex the islands to Canada, but it didn’t pass in the Canadian House of Commons.

The islands have had their own government headed by a chief minister since August 1976. In 1979, independence was agreed upon in principle for 1982, but a change in government caused a policy reversal, and they instead approached the Canadian government to discuss a possible union, but at the time the Canadian Government was embroiled in a debate over free trade with the U.S., and little attention was paid to the suggestion. The islands’ political troubles in recent years have resulted in a rewritten constitution promulgated in 2006.

Geography Location: Caribbean, two island groups in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of The Bahamas, north of Haiti
Geographic coordinates: 21 45 N, 71 35 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 430 sq km
land: 430 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 389 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; marine; moderated by trade winds; sunny and relatively dry
Terrain: low, flat limestone; extensive marshes and mangrove swamps
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Blue Hills 49 m
Natural resources: spiny lobster, conch
Land use: arable land: 2.33%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 97.67% (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Natural hazards: frequent hurricanes
Environment – current issues: limited natural fresh water resources, private cisterns collect rainwater
Geography – note: about 40 islands (eight inhabited)
Politics The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Overseas Territory, an autonomous part of the United Kingdom. The United Nations Committee on Decolonisation includes the territory on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. The islands adopted a constitution on 30 August 1976, which is Constitution Day, the national holiday. The constitution was suspended in 1986, but restored and revised 5 March 1988. A new constitution came into force on 9 August 2006. The territory’s legal system is based on English common law, with a small number of laws adopted from Jamaica and the Bahamas. Suffrage is universal for those over 18 years of age. English is the official language. Grand Turk is the administrative and political capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands and Cockburn Town has been the seat of government since 1766.

As a British territory, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom is the sovereign, represented by a governor. The head of government is the premier. The cabinet consists of three ex officio members and five appointed by the governor from among the members of the House of Assembly. The monarch is hereditary, the governor is appointed by the monarch, and the premier appointed by the governor.

The unicameral House of Assembly consists of 21 seats, of which 15 are popularly elected; members serve four-year terms. Elections in the Turks and Caicos Islands were held on 24 April 2003 and again on 9 February 2007. The Progressive National Party, led by Michael Misick holds thirteen seats, and the People’s Democratic Movement, led by Floyd Seymour, holds two seats.

The judicial branch of government is headed by a Supreme Court and appeals are heard by the court of appeals and final appeals by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was Gordon Ward. The islands also have a Court of Appeal with a President and at least two Justices of Appeal.

The Turks and Caicos Islands participate in the Caribbean Development Bank, is an associate in CARICOM, and maintains an Interpol sub-bureau. Defence is the responsibility of the United Kingdom. In December 2004, the islands sought to become a new associate member to the Association of Caribbean States article.

In 2008, after members of the British parliament conducting a routine review the administration received several reports of high level official corruption in the Turks and Caicos, Governor Richard Tauwhare announced the appointment of a Commission of Enquiry into corruption. The same year, Premier Michael Misick himself became the focus of a criminal investigation after a woman identified by news outlets as an American citizen residing in Puerto Rico accused him of sexually assaulting her although he strongly denies the charge.

People Population: 22,352 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 30.7% (male 3,497/female 3,374)
15-64 years: 65.2% (male 7,640/female 6,929)
65 years and over: 4.1% (male 435/female 477) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 27.8 years
male: 28.5 years
female: 27 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.644% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 21.12 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 4.16 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: 9.48 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.91 male(s)/female
total population: 1.07 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 14.35 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 16.56 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.04 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 75.19 years
male: 72.91 years
female: 77.59 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.98 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS – deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: none
adjective: none
Ethnic groups: black 90%, mixed, European, or North American 10%
Religions: Baptist 40%, Anglican 18%, Methodist 16%, Church of God 12%, other 14% (1990)
Languages: English (official)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 98%
male: 99%
female: 98% (1970 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 12 years (2005)
Education expenditures: NA
People – note: destination and transit point for illegal Haitian immigrants bound for the Turks and Caicos Islands, The Bahamas, and the US
Government Country name: conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Turks and Caicos Islands
abbreviation: TCI
Dependency status: overseas territory of the UK
Government type: NA
Capital: name: Grand Turk (Cockburn Town)
geographic coordinates: 21 28 N, 71 08 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins first Sunday in April; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions: none (overseas territory of the UK)
Independence: none (overseas territory of the UK)
National holiday: Constitution Day, 30 August (1976)
Constitution: Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution Order 2006 (effective 9 August 2006)
Legal system: based on laws of England and Wales, with a few adopted from Jamaica and The Bahamas
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor Gordon WETHERELL (since 5 August 2008)
head of government: Premier Michael Eugene MISICK (chief minister since 15 August 2003, sworn in as premier on 9 August 2006); note – the office of premier was created in the 2006 constitution
cabinet: Cabinet consists of the governor, the premier, six ministers appointed by the governor from among the members of the House of Assembly, and the attorney general
elections: the monarch is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party is appointed premier by the governor
Legislative branch: unicameral House of Assembly (21 seats of which 15 are popularly elected; members serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 9 February 2007 (next to be held in 2011)
election results: percent of vote by party – PNP 60%, PDM 40%; seats by party – PNP 13, PDM 2
Judicial branch: Supreme Court; Court of Appeal
Political parties and leaders: People’s Democratic Movement or PDM [Floyd SEYMOUR]; Progressive National Party or PNP [Michael Eugene MISICK]
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
International organization participation: Caricom (associate), CDB, Interpol (subbureau), UPU
Diplomatic representation in the US: none (overseas territory of the UK)
Diplomatic representation from the US: none (overseas territory of the UK)
Flag description: blue, with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the colonial shield centered on the outer half of the flag; the shield is yellow and contains a conch shell, lobster, and cactus
Culture The Turks and Caicos Islands are most well known for ripsaw music. The islands are known for their annual Music and Cultural Festival showcasing many local talents and other dynamic performances by many music celebrities from around the Caribbean and United States.

Wenika Ewing was the islands’ representative to the Miss Universe contest in 2005.

The island’s most popular sports are fishing, sailing, soccer and rugby is growing especially amongst the island’s ex-pat population

Economy Economy – overview: The Turks and Caicos economy is based on tourism, offshore financial services, and fishing. Most capital goods and food for domestic consumption are imported. The US is the leading source of tourists, accounting for more than three-quarters of the 175,000 visitors that arrived in 2004. Major sources of government revenue also include fees from offshore financial activities and customs receipts.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $216 million (2002 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $NA
GDP – real growth rate: 4.9% (2000 est.)
GDP – per capita (PPP): $11,500 (2002 est.)
GDP – composition by sector: agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Labor force: 4,848 (1990 est.)
Labor force – by occupation: note: about 33% in government and 20% in agriculture and fishing; significant numbers in tourism, financial, and other services
Unemployment rate: 10% (1997 est.)
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Budget: revenues: $47 million
expenditures: $33.6 million (1997-98 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4% (1995)
Agriculture – products: corn, beans, cassava (tapioca), citrus fruits; fish
Industries: tourism, offshore financial services
Electricity – production: 10 million kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity – consumption: 9.3 million kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity – exports: 0 kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity – imports: 0 kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity – production by source: fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Oil – production: 0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil – consumption: 80 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil – exports: 0 bbl/day (2005)
Oil – imports: 83.78 bbl/day (2005)
Oil – proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas – production: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – consumption: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – exports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – imports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Exports: $169.2 million (2000)
Exports – commodities: lobster, dried and fresh conch, conch shells
Imports: $175.6 million (2000)
Imports – commodities: food and beverages, tobacco, clothing, manufactures, construction materials
Economic aid – recipient: $4.1 million (1997)
Debt – external: $NA
Currency (code): US dollar (USD)
Currency code: USD
Exchange rates: the US dollar is used
Communications Telephones – main lines in use: 5,700 (2002)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 1,700 (1999)
Telephone system: general assessment: fully digital system with international direct dialing
domestic: full range of services available; GSM wireless service available
international: country code – 1-649; the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) fiber optic telecommunications submarine cable provides connectivity to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and the US; satellite earth station – 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 7, shortwave 0 (2003)
Radios: 8,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 0 (broadcasts received from The Bahamas; 2 cable television networks) (2003)
Televisions: NA
Internet country code: .tc
Internet hosts: 2,352 (2008)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 14 (2000)
Internet users: NA
Transportation Airports: 8 (2007)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 6
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2007)
Airports – with unpaved runways: total: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2007)
Roadways: total: 121 km
paved: 24 km
unpaved: 97 km (2003)
Merchant marine: registered in other countries: 1 (Panama 1) (2008)
Ports and terminals: Grand Turk, Providenciales
Military Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 222
female: 214 (2008 est.)
Military – note: defense is the responsibility of the UK
Transnational Issues Disputes – international: have received Haitians fleeing economic and civil disorder
Illicit drugs: transshipment point for South American narcotics destined for the US and Europe

Are Trinidad & Tobago ‘Vindicating’ The Men Who Murder Women?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

 

On December 17, 2017, news broke in Trinidad and Tobago about the murder of Samantha Isaacs, who was shot dead by the father of her child. The perpetrator subsequently killed himself.

Gender-based violence has become an increasingly difficult issue for the Caribbean region to deal with, but Trinidad and Tobago in particular has been plagued with a significant number of femicides.

This most recent murder struck a chord with many female netizens, partly because — as was firmly established by the globally viral hashtag #metoo and the regionally recognised #lifeinleggings — women have a sense of being under constant threat, and partly because murders like Isaacs’ could have been prevented.

Kahriym Garcia, Isaacs’ former partner, had a history that should have been a red flag for the authorities — his grandmother had reportedly taken a restraining order out against him because he tried to kill her; on one occasion, he put a knife to Isaacs’ mother’s throat; and he would repeatedly threaten to kill Isaacs and her family. Isaacs attempted to take Garcia to court for child support and sought a restraining order against him, but the magistrate kept delaying the case.

The #lifeinleggings movement mourned Isaacs’ death on Twitter:

We mourn the loss of 27-year-old Samantha Isaacs.

Samantha was shot by her abusive ex-boyfriend in Trinidad & Tobago.

She leaves behind a 4-year-old son.

Our thoughts and condolences go out to her son and family. May justice prevail…   

In an editorial posted the day after Isaacs’ death, the Sunday Express wrote:

Every murder is gut-wrenching but there is something particularly awful about a victim being pursued to a preventable death despite seeking the protection of the police and the courts. […]

No one can plead innocent to the risks faced by women desperately trying to escape an abusive relationship. Yet, such cases continue to be treated with a certain casualness by institutions and by individuals for whom victim protection is never highest priority. […]

With close to 50 women already murdered this year, the issue of violence against women is no theoretical matter. […]

Counselling, policing, protection, detection—policies and programmes for all of these and more have been discussed ad nauseum. What remains to be done is implementation.

Activist Tillah Willah, who shared a link to a counselling service in her Facebook post, said:

For many of us this is another Sunday of re-living our own traumas at the hands of lovers, relatives, friends. For many of us this is another Sunday of opening old wounds, past hurts and wondering if we are next. People are sharing stories and crying out for help and most of us, especially those of us who do this work every day, cannot bear the burden of another story. What happens after the story of is shared and we are submitted to the anonymous violence of online shaming?
If it’s too much, please switch off. Disconnecting from this is an act of radical self care and survival. We are all angry and we are all terrified and we are all hurt. But we are still here. We owe it to those who are no longer with us to seek help and healing.

The “online shaming” she talks about refers to the curious phenomenon among some social media users — women included — of victim shaming and showing sympathy for the father, who Isaacs reportedly kept from seeing their child.

Comedian Simmy Behave, who experienced an abusive relationship herself, was having none of it. Creating a powerful hashtag, #nomoresilence, she began to curate women’s stories of domestic violence and explained why:

From my experience, that’s what it felt like. Silence. You lose your voice in an abusive relationship. You feel like you can’t say anything or you have to choose your words more carefully.

So you stop speaking up. You hide from friends and family or you get isolated from them.

Sometimes you will make all the steps needed to get out and you will be successful but there are some who don’t make it out of physically abusive relationships alive.

It’s not about choosing your partner carefully. [The country’s prime minister recently faced a backlash for suggesting women needed to be more vigilant.]

Calling Trinidad and Tobago “a ‘licks-based’ society” (“licks” is a local term for “beatings” and corporal punishment is all too common as a means of “disciplining” children), she also encouraged men to share their perspectives under the above hashtag.

Netizens immediately answered the call, many anonymously for fear of being harmed. The comedian posted scores of harrowing accounts on her Facebook page that included tales of a skewed sense of ownership, a dangerous dependency syndromebeatings during pregnancy, and sexual assault, some of which occurred when the women were minors.

Some women were desperate to be free of their abusers in the new year, while others wanted to help them. One survivor lamented the state of the court system in the country, and others admitted they no longer went anywhere alone. One woman remained in the abusive marriage for decades, and heartbreakingly, a child of abuse spoke of how she repeated the same patterns in her own life.

The hashtag has raised questions that many social media users have been asking for some time, about hyper-masculinity and the way boys are socialised, about resulting male aggression, and about women’s inability to leave abusive relationships, no doubt tied to the failure of state systems and institutions to protect them.

Criminologist Renee Cummings has been consistently sharing advice and resources on this and other violence-related topics via her Facebook page. In February 2017, she noted:

There seems to be a growing misconception that interpersonal violence, intimate partner violence or domestic violence that ends in homicide (man murders woman) is a crime of passion. It is not. If anything IPV and DV are more akin to acts of terrorism than crimes of passion. An intimate partner/ex-intimate partner leaves where ever he is or lives and comes down to a victim’s job with a knife hidden, calls her on the job and asks her to come outside to talk, and then slashes her throat when she turns around to walk off is not a crime of passion; seems a lot of thought went into that? No passion there!

Cummings also made the point that “stalking is a serious crime, everywhere in the world but T&T!” and took aim at “the lackluster response of law enforcement and the criminal justice system”.

Most netizens agree that while gender-based violence may be a complex issue, immediate solutions include enforcing the law and doing more to protect victims. At present, the inverse seems to be happening, prompting activist Brendon O’Brien to sum up the situation on Instagram in a poem he wrote in honour of Samantha Isaacs:

Instagram post by Brendon J. O’Brien on the murder of Samantha Isaacs.

Victims of domestic and gender-based violence in Trinidad and Tobago can contact the following organisations for advice and support:

  • Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-SAVE
  • Families in Action: 628-2333
  • Organisation for Abused and Battered Individuals: 798-6185
  • Rape Crisis Society of Trinidad and Tobago: 622.7273
  • The Shelter: 628-0861
  • Trinidad and Tobago Coalition Against Domestic Violence (under the umbrella of United Way): 625-8286
  • Victim and Witness Support Unit (Head Office): 628-4277, Extension 8

Apple’s cash mountain, how it avoids tax, and the Irish link

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE IRISH TIMES)

(OPED: PEOPLE LIKE APPLE’S TIM COOK WHO GO BEFORE CONGRESS AND LIE HIS -SS OFF SHOULD BE ARRESTED AT ONCE AND HELD WITHOUT BAIL. IF THE AVERAGE PERSON DID THESE SAME CRIMES THEY WOULD BE THROWN UNDER THE JAIL. IN MY OPINION, IT SHINES A LIGHT ON THE REAL WORLD OF POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS, IF YOU ARE A BIG MONEY GIVER TO THE POLITICIANS (BUYING THEM), YOU ARE ALLOWED TO BREAK THE LAWS AND STEAL BILLIONS THROUGH TAX FRAUD.) (TRS)

Apple’s cash mountain, how it avoids tax and the Irish link

Paradise Papers: Elite tax advisers help Apple and others skirt effects of ‘double Irish’ crackdown

Play Video

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), use the example of a fictional fast-food chain, Snax Haven, in explaining how offshore tax avoidance systems work. Video: ICIJ

It was May 2013, and Apple Inc’s chief executive, Tim Cook, was angry. He sat before the United States Senate’s permanent subcommittee on investigations, which had completed an inquiry into how Apple avoided tens of billions of dollars in taxes by shifting profits into Irish subsidiaries that the subcommittee’s chairman called “ghost companies”.

“We pay all the taxes we owe, every single dollar,” Cook declared. “We do not depend on tax gimmicks . . . We do not stash money on some Caribbean island.”

Tim Cook looks on as the new iPhone X goes on sale at an Apple Store on November 3rd, 2017 in Palo Alto, California. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty
Tim Cook looks on as the new iPhone X goes on sale at an Apple Store on November 3rd, 2017 in Palo Alto, California. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty

Five months later Ireland bowed to international pressure and announced a crackdown on Irish firms, like Apple’s subsidiaries, that claimed that almost all of their income was not subject to taxes in Ireland or anywhere else in the world.

Now leaked documents shine a light on how the iPhone maker responded to this move. Despite its CEO’s public rejection of island havens, that’s where Apple turned as it began shopping for a new tax refuge.

Apple’s advisers at one of the world’s top law firms, the US-headquartered Baker McKenzie, canvassed one of the leading players in the offshore world, a firm of lawyers called Appleby, which specialized in setting up and administering tax-haven companies.

A questionnaire that Baker McKenzie emailed in March 2014 set out 14 questions for Appleby’s offices in the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey.

One asked that the offices “Confirm that an Irish company can conduct management activities . . . without being subject to taxation in your jurisdiction.”

Apple also asked for assurances that the local political climate would remain friendly: “Are there any developments suggesting that the law may change in an unfavorable way in the foreseeable future?”

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, speaks about the iPhone X during a launch event in Cupertino, California on September 12th, 2017. Photograph: Stephen Lam/Reuters.
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, speaks about the iPhone X during a launch event in Cupertino, California on September 12th, 2017. Photograph: Stephen Lam/Reuters.

In the end Apple settled on Jersey, the tiny island in the English Channel that, like many Caribbean havens, charges no tax on corporate profits for most companies. Jersey was to play a significant role in Apple’s newly configured Irish tax structure set up in late 2014. Under this arrangement, the MacBook maker has continued to enjoy ultralow tax rates on most of its profits and now holds much of its non-US earnings in a $252 billion mountain of cash offshore. The Irish Government’s crackdown on shadow companies, meanwhile, has had little effect.

The inside story of Apple’s hunt for a new avoidance strategy is among the disclosures emerging from a leak of secret corporate records that reveals how the offshore tax game is played by Apple, Nike, Uber and other multinational corporations – and how top law firms help them exploit gaps between differing tax codes around the world.

The documents come from the internal files of the offshore law firm Appleby and the corporate services provider Estera, two businesses that operated together under the Appleby name until Estera became independent in 2016.

The files show how Appleby played a cameo role in creating many cross-border tax structures. The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung obtained the records and shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and its media partners, including The Irish Times, the New York Times, Australia’s ABC, the BBC in the United Kingdom, Le Monde in France and CBC in Canada.

These disclosures come as the White House and Congress consider cutting the US federal tax on corporate income, pushing its top rate of 35 percent down to 20 percent or lower. President Donald Trump has insisted that American firms are getting a bad deal from current tax rules.

The documents show that, in reality, many big US multinationals pay income taxes at very low rates, thanks in part to complex corporate structures they set up with the help of a global network of elite tax advisers.

In this regard, Apple has led the field. Despite almost all design and development of its products taking place in the US, the iPhone maker has for years been able to report that about two-thirds of its worldwide profits were made in other countries, where it has used loopholes to access ultralow foreign tax rates.

Now leaked documents help show how Apple quietly carried out a restructuring of its Irish companies at the end of 2014, allowing it to carry on paying taxes at low rates on the majority of global profits.

Multinationals that transfer intangible assets to tax havens and adopt other aggressive avoidance strategies are costing governments around the world as much as $240 billion a year in lost tax revenue, according to a conservative estimate in 2015 by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Corporate creativity

Documents reviewed by ICIJ and other media partners provide insight into how those strategies work. They show the creative methods that advisory firms devise in response to attempts by regulators to crack down on tax shelters.

“US multinational firms are the global grandmasters of tax-avoidance schemes that deplete not just US tax collection but the tax collection of most every large economy in the world,” said Edward Kleinbard, a former corporate lawyer who is now a professor of tax law at the University of Southern California.

The Trump administration and the United States Congress are considering whether to grant a one-time tax holiday that would allow big multinationals to bring home, at a sharply reduced tax rate, more than $2.6 trillion they have stowed in offshore subsidiaries.

Kleinbard said the prospect of a big corporate tax holiday “simply begs companies to ramp up their tax-avoidance strategy still further in anticipation of more holidays in years to come. And it removes pressure for genuine reform.”

An Apple spokesperson declined to answer a list of questions about the company’s offshore tax strategy, except to say it had informed US, Irish and European Commission regulators of its reorganization at the end of 2014. “The changes we made did not reduce our tax payments in any country,” the spokesman said.

He added: “At Apple, we follow the laws, and if the system changes we will comply. We strongly support efforts from the global community toward comprehensive international tax reform and a far simpler system, and we will continue to advocate for that.”

By quietly transferring trademarks, patent rights, and other intangible assets to offshore companies, many other global businesses have also been able to cut their tax bills dramatically.

The leaked papers show how the ownership of prized assets – including rights to Nike’s Swoosh trademark, Uber’s taxi-hailing app and medical patents covering such treatment options as Botox and breast implants – could all be traced to a five-story office block in Bermuda occupied by Appleby and Estera.

Ownership of Facebook’s user database for most countries outside the United States, as well as rights to use its platform technology – together worth billions of dollars – has been held through companies at a similarly unassuming address on Grand Cayman used by Appleby and Estera. And Apple’s money trail has been traced to a building used by Appleby and Estera in Jersey, 30km off the coast of northern France.

Addresses shared by the two offshore firms on tax-haven islands have played host to secretive shell companies buried deep within the corporate architecture of many of the largest multinationals. Despite moves by governments to phase out loopholes, tax shelters remain as popular as ever.

Governments around the world have challenged some of the tax structures maintained by Appleby and Estera clients – though not always successfully. Nike triumphed over the US Internal Revenue Service a year ago. A dispute between Facebook and US tax authorities continues to play out in court. Apple, meanwhile, is being pursued €13 billion in Irish back taxes after European regulators ruled that Ireland had granted illegal state aid by approving Apple’s tax structure.

The leaked documents help explain how three small jurisdictions – the Netherlands, Ireland, and Bermuda – have become go-to destinations for big corporations looking to avoid taxes on their overseas earnings. Among them, these three spots hold less than one-third of 1 per cent of the world’s population – but they accounted for 35 per cent of all profits that US multinationals reported earning overseas last year, according to analysis by Gabriel Zucman, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley.

Holy grail

Over three decades US multinationals have been growing bolder, shifting vast chunks of profits into tax havens. Concerns about their tactics were largely ignored until government finances around the world came under pressure in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Beginning in the autumn of 2012, the issue came to a head in a welter of government inquiries, tax-inspector raids, investigative reporting and promises of reform.

By the time the US Senate permanent subcommittee on investigations released 142 pages of documents and analysis for its public hearing on Apple’s tax avoidance in May 2013, the world was paying attention. The subcommittee found that Apple was attributing billions of dollars of profits each year to three Irish subsidiaries that declared “tax residency” nowhere in the world.

Under Irish law, most firms incorporated in Ireland are required to pay taxes locally on their profits. But if the directors are able to convince the Irish tax authorities that a company is “managed and controlled” abroad, it can often escape all, or almost all, Irish tax

For more than two decades the directors of Apple’s three Irish companies – including, for many years, Tim Cook – did just that. By running these Irish subsidiaries from group headquarters in California they avoided Irish tax residency.

At the same time, the directors knew that their Irish companies would not qualify for tax residency in the United States because American tax law worked differently. Under US rules a company has American tax residency only if it is incorporated there.

“Apple sought the holy grail of tax avoidance: offshore corporations that it argues are not, for tax purposes, resident anywhere in any nation,” Carl Levin, then a Democratic senator for Michigan, and chairman of the Senate subcommittee, said at the 2013 hearing.

Ireland’s minister for finance at the time, Michael Noonan, at first defended his country’s policies, saying, “I do not want to be the whipping boy for some misunderstanding in a hearing in the US Congress.” But by October 2013, in response to growing international pressure, he announced plans to require Irish companies to declare tax residency somewhere in the world.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan in the Dáil: “For existing companies, there will be provision for a transition period until the end of 2020”
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan in the Dáil: “For existing companies, there will be provision for a transition period until the end of 2020”

At that time Apple had accumulated $111 billion in cash almost entirely held by its Irish shadow companies, beyond the reach of US tax authorities. Each year the pile grew higher and higher as billions of dollars in profits poured into these low-tax subsidiaries.

Company officials wanted to keep it that way.

So Apple sought alternatives to replace the tax-shelter arrangements that Ireland would soon shut down. At the same time, however, the iPhone maker wanted its interest in the offshore world kept quiet.

As Cameron Adderley, global head of Appleby’s corporate division explained in an email to other senior partners: “For those of you who are not aware Apple [officials] are extremely sensitive concerning publicity . . . They also expect the work that is being done for them only to be discussed amongst personnel who need to know.”

For Appleby, Adderley explained, this was “a tremendous opportunity for us to shine on a global basis with Baker McKenzie”.

Baker McKenzie’s role in setting up offshore structures for multinationals, and then defending them when challenged by tax regulators, is legendary. The law firm has also been involved in lobbying against proposals to crack down on tax avoidance by technology giants. It has 5,000 attorneys in 77 offices around the world. Former partners include Christine Lagarde, the former French finance minister and now managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

Behind closed doors, Apple decided that two of its Irish companies should, with the help of Appleby, claim tax residency in Jersey, one of the largest island shelters with strong links to the UK banking system, where Apple’s Irish subsidiaries already held accounts. Jersey is a crown dependency of the United Kingdom, but it makes its own laws, sets its own tax rates and is not subject to most European Union legislation, making it a popular tax haven.

Double Irish

As Apple’s plans to use an offshore tax haven progressed another potential problem emerged. In mid-2014, again under pressure from other governments, Ireland had begun exploring a ban on the tax shelter known as the double Irish, an avoidance strategy used by scores of companies, including Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, other tech companies and drugmakers such as Abbott Laboratories.

The double Irish allows companies to collect profits through one Irish unit that actually employs people in Ireland and is tax resident there, then route those profits to a second Irish subsidiary that claims tax residency in a low-tax island such as Bermuda, Grand Cayman or the Isle of Man.

A crackdown on such arrangements could have interfered with Apple’s plans in Jersey before they had got off the ground. Although it was aimed at double-Irish structures the potential rule change would ban all Irish companies from claiming tax residency in a tax haven.

Although the iPhone maker was not in a position to protest loudly, others spoke up. California-based Terilea Wielenga, who was the international president of the Tax Executives Institute, wrote to Noonan in July 2014, warning that moves that would effectively ban double-Irish structures “may not be prudent”. And if Irish ministers did press ahead, she added, they would be well advised to incorporate “a substantial transition period”.

What her letter did not tell, but leaked Appleby papers now show, was that Wielenga was quietly orchestrating a long-standing double-Irish structure at Allergan, the maker of Botox, where at the time she worked as head of tax. For more than a decade the structure has shifted profits away from Ireland, where Allergan has a Botox factory, to Bermuda.

The ICIJ attempted to contact Wielenga but did not receive a response. Allergan did not answer specific questions about its tax affairs but said: “Allergan abides by all applicable tax laws and accounting rules and pays all taxes owed in all jurisdictions where it does business.”

The lobbying seemed to work.

Ireland included a generous grandfathering clause for Allergan and other multinationals using Irish tax structures. “For existing companies, there will be provision for a transition period until the end of 2020,” Noonan declared on October 14th, 2014.

More precisely, the fine print of policy documents revealed, the grandfathering provisions would apply not just to companies in existence when the finance minister spoke but also any new ones created up until the end of 2014.

That gave Apple just enough time. By the start of 2015, it had restructured its affairs in Ireland, including securing tax residency in Jersey for Apple Sales International and Apple Operations International, two of the three Irish shadow companies highlighted in the US Senate investigation a year earlier.

For the previous five years, Apple Sales International had been Apple’s biggest profit generator, churning out more than $120 billion, or close to 60 percent of Apple’s worldwide earnings.

Meanwhile, much of that profit was transferred as dividends to Apple Operations International, described by Cook as “a company set up to provide an efficient way to manage Apple’s cash”.

Before their move to Jersey, these two subsidiaries had played a leading role in helping Apple accumulate and hold $137 billion in cash – most of which came from non-US profits barely taxed by any government in the world.

The latest figures indicate that since Apple’s reorganization of its Irish companies this sum has increased 84 percent, although Apple won’t confirm which of its foreign subsidiaries own this cash.

This pile of money has inadvertently made Apple one of the biggest investment funds in the world, and its offshore cash reserves have been put to work in a portfolio that includes corporate bonds, government debt, and mortgage-backed securities.

Under the wire

Apple was not the only multinational that moved quickly to grab a final chance before 2015 dawned.

“At the end of 2014 a window of opportunity closes,” advisers from the big US law firm DLA Piper explained to CitiXsys, a retail software supplier based in New York. DLA Piper set out a frenetic schedule of incorporations and intellectual-property transfers to be rushed through before the new year to set up a double Irish.

As DLA Piper explained, this arrangement “must be managed and controlled in [a] 0% or low tax jurisdiction, such as the Isle of Man, where the bulk of profits are recognized”. That way the entire structure “produces a very low effective tax rate, approximately 5% to 7%”.

ICIJ contacted CitiXsys and other multinationals featured in this story. CitiXsys did not respond, and Uber declined to comment. Nike, Facebook, and Allergan declined to answer questions but provided general statements saying they fully complied with tax regulations in countries where they operate.

DLA Piper declined to comment, and Baker McKenzie said it does not discuss client matters. Appleby declined to answer questions but said on its website: “We are an offshore law firm who advises clients on legitimate and lawful ways to conduct their business.” Estera, the corporate-services company that split away from Appleby at the beginning of 2016 and continues to administer many offshore companies on behalf of clients, declined to comment.

Finding home

While CitiXsys’s rapidly assembled structure mirrored the structures embraced by Facebook, Google and others using the double Irish, Apple’s reorganized Irish companies appear to function very differently.

The iPhone maker has declined to answer ICIJ’s questions about its new setup, but it appears to give a key role to another of Apple’s Irish subsidiaries, a company called Apple Operations Europe.

Together with Apple Operations International and Apple Sales International, the company made up the three Irish firms criticised by US senators in 2013 for being “ghost companies”, tax resident nowhere in the world.

By 2015 tighter Irish laws had caused all three to find a new tax home. But while the other two Irish companies took up residence in Jersey, Apple Operations Europe became tax resident in Ireland, the country of its incorporation.

A clue to why a multinational might want a subsidiary that was liable for taxes in Ireland can be found, once again, in Michael Noonan’s budget announcement in 2014.

While media headlines focused on his decision to crack down on double-Irish arrangements, less attention was paid to measures not mentioned in his budget speech but contained in accompanying policy documents. In particular, the paperwork revealed plans to expand an already generous tax regime for companies that bring the intangible property into Ireland.

The incentive, known as a capital allowance, offered Irish companies big tax deductions over many years if they spent money buying expensive intangible property.

Importantly for multinationals, however, it was also available to an Irish company that bought the intangible property from another company within the same group.

The arrangement was especially attractive to those multinationals that were in a position to sell their intangible property into Ireland from a subsidiary in a tax haven, where the gain from the sale would go untaxed.

In effect, even though the internal sale would cost the multinational nothing, such a move could nevertheless unlock huge tax breaks in Ireland.

Leprechaun economics

Even before Noonan sweetened the terms of this capital allowance tax break, some experts suggested it could be used to achieve tax rates as low as 2.5 percent.

Apple declined to answer questions about whether it has taken advantage of this tax break by selling rights to use its intangible property from Apple Sales International in Jersey to Apple Operations Europe in Ireland.

It’s clear, though, that a large amount of intangible property landed abruptly in Ireland around the period when Apple reorganized its three Irish subsidiaries. In fact, the country’s gross domestic product for 2015 leaped by an incredible 26 per cent, boosted by close to $270 billion of intangible assets suddenly appearing in Ireland’s national accounts at the start of the year – more than the entire value of residential property in Ireland.

The Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman called the development “Leprechaun economics”.

The ICIJ showed the findings from its investigation to J Richard Harvey, a Villanova University law professor, and Stephen Shay, senior lecturer at Harvard Law School. In 2013 both of them gave detailed testimony on Apple’s previous Irish structure to the US Senate committee’s investigation. They both told the ICIJ it appeared likely the iPhone maker had transferred intangible assets to Ireland.

“While it is not 100 percent clear how Apple has restructured its Irish operations, one strong possibility is that they have transferred more than $200 billion of valuable intangible assets . . . to an Irish resident company, for example, Apple Operations Europe,” Harvey said.

An Apple staff member counts a customer’s money as they pay for a new iPhone X at an Apple shop during its launch in Moscow, Russia, on November 3rd, 2017. Photograph: Sergei Ilnitsky.
An Apple staff member counts a customer’s money as they pay for a new iPhone X at an Apple shop during its launch in Moscow, Russia, on November 3rd, 2017. Photograph: Sergei Ilnitsky.

Shay added: “By using Irish intangible property tax reliefs, Apple likely will pay little or no additional Irish tax for years to come on income at Apple Operations Europe.

The Department of Finance in Dublin told the ICIJ: “The Irish regime for capital allowances . . . is broadly similar to regimes available in other countries and does not confer any additional benefits to multinationals.”

However, in October 2017, Ireland reversed the sweetened terms Noonan had added to the tax break three years earlier.

Apple said that following its reorganization it pays more Irish tax than before. “The changes we made did not reduce our tax payments in any country,” Apple said in a statement. “In fact, our payments to Ireland increased significantly and over three years [2014, 2015 and 2016] we’ve paid $1.5 billion in tax there – 7% of all corporate income taxes paid in that country.”

But the iPhone maker still won’t say how much profit it makes through its Irish companies – making it impossible to gauge whether $1.5 billion is a lot of tax to pay in three years or not.

Reuven Avi-Yonah, director of the international tax program at the University of Michigan Law School, said Apple was “determined not to be hurt” when it had to abandon its previous Irish structure. “This is how it usually works: You close one tax shelter, and something else opens up,” he said. “It just goes on endlessly.”

Jesse Drucker, a reporter with the New York Times, contributed to this story