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In 1889, English colonists brought Trinidad and Tobago together into an administrative unit. The country then gained its independence in 1962. Until 1976, the Queen of England was the official head of state, since then it has been a republic with a president.

The head of state of Trinidad and Tobago is the president who is elected by the parliament. The Parliament consists of two chambers, the Senate (31 seats) and the House of Representatives (36 seats). The members of the Senate are appointed by the President, the members of the House of Representatives are chosen by the people, through elections held every five years.

The Prime Minister, who heads the House of Representatives, is appointed by the President; normally the leader of the largest party is elected.

The current governing party (2010) is the United National Congress, while the opposition is the People's National Movement.

The ruling party is part of a five-party coalition called the People's Partnership. In January 2011, the mysterious disappearance and return of a piano caused a political riot in the Caribbean state of Trinidad and Tobago. It was an expensive Bösendorfer piano that former Prime Minister Patrick Manning had allegedly stolen, but which reappeared a day later. For the current political situation, see the history section.


Trinidad and Tobago derive most of their income from the export of oil. The islands are the largest exporters of oil in the Caribbean. In addition, the extraction of natural gas fills the state coffers. Oil and gas account for about 40% of GDP and 80% of exports, but only 5% of employment. Economic growth is -2.6% (2017). GDP per capita is $31,300 (2017).

The islands also have a steel and petrochemical industry, with two refineries. Finally, other important sources of money are the growing tourism industry and the export of rum.

Trinidad and Tobago have earned a reputation as an extremely good investment climate for international companies. The economy benefits from low inflation and a trade surplus. Crime and bureaucratic obstacles remain the biggest deterrents to attracting more foreign direct investment and business.

The total value of exports is $9.9 billion (2017). Oil and gas are the main export products, in addition, steel products are exported. The main expert partners are the United States and Argentina. The total value of imports amounts to $6.1 billion (2017). Imports include machinery, transport equipment, mineral fuels and foodstuffs.


Elmar Landeninformatie


CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated May 2024
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