Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Trinidad and Tobago

Key facts:

POPULATION (2020 estimate): 1,401,687
AREA (UN 2006): 5,130 sq km
CAPITAL: Port of Spain
CURRENCY: Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TTD)
HEAD OF STATE: President Paula-Mae Weekes
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT: Prime Minister Keith Rowley
FORM OF GOVERNMENT: parliamentary republic
PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM: bicameral
STATE STRUCTURE: unitary
LANGUAGES: English (official)
NATIONAL ELECTIONS: last: 2020, turnout: 58.0%; next: 2025
WOMEN IN PARLIAMENT (2020): 28.6% (representatives) 29.0% (senators)
LOCAL ELECTIONS:
Trinidad municipal corporations: last: 2019, turnout: 34.5%; next: 2022
Tobago House of Assembly: last: 2017, turnout: 49.7%; next: 2021
WOMEN COUNCILLORS (2016): 30.4%
LOCAL GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURE as a percentage of total government expenditure 2017/18: 6.6%

Summary

Trinidad and Tobago is a unitary republic with two levels of government: national and local. There is no specific constitutional provision for local government; however, the Tobago House of Assembly is enshrined within the constitution. The Municipal Corporations Act 1990 and the Tobago House of Assembly Act 1996 comprise the principal legislation governing local government. The Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government oversees local authorities on Trinidad whilst the Tobago House of Assembly reports directly to the Office of the Prime Minister. The structure of local government comprises a single authority in Tobago and 14 municipal corporations in Trinidad, comprising two city corporations, three borough corporations and nine regional corporations. Following the 2016 election, 30.4% of councillors and 32.0% of mayors/chairpersons were women. In the 2015/16 financial year, local government expenditure was 7.0% of total government expenditure. All cities and boroughs will regain revenue-raising power when the repeal of the current legislation is finalised. National government makes significant contributions, especially to the Tobago authority. However, the Tobago House of Assembly governance structure is devolved in its functions except in the case of national security, revenue generation and international affairs. The local authorities have devolved responsibility for a wide range of functions from policing to primary health and education.

CLGF activities in Trinidad and Tobago

CLGF will continue to work with the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government, the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Local Government Authorities (TTALGA), and other local partners as it takes forward the EC funded project “Strengthening local government’s role as a partner in development” focused on strengthening the role of local government and other local and national actors in localising and implementing the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

CLGF's project office, responsible for coordinating its work in the Caribbean is located in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

CLGF members in Trinidad and Tobago

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Board Members

Board Members

Mayor Darrell Bradley; Mayor Scean Barnswell; Cllr Michael Thompson

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