TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
CAPITAL : Port-of-Spain
FLAG : On a red field, a black diagonal stripe with a narrow white border on either side extends from top left to bottom right.
ANTHEM : Begins, "Forged from the love of liberty, in the fires of hope and prayer."
MONETARY UNIT : The Trinidad and Tobago dollar ( TT $) is a paper currency of 100 cents. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents, and 1 dollar, and notes of 1, 5, 10, 20, and 100 dollars. TT $1 = US $0.1634 ( US $1 = TT $6.12; in April 2003).
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is official, but some imperial weights and measures are still used.
HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; Emancipation Day, 1st Monday in August; Independence Day, 31 August; Republic Day, 24 September; Christmas, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December. Movable holidays include Carnival, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Whitmonday, Corpus Christi, 'Id al-Fitr, and Dewali.
TIME : 8 AM = noon GMT.
English is the official language; an English patois, characterized by numerous foreign words and the special pronunciations of the islands, is understood everywhere. Here and there, a French patois and Spanish are used. In rural village areas, notably in the southern part of Trinidad, East Indians, especially of the older generation, use Hindi and, less frequently, Urdu, Tamil, and Telegu.
Elected county councils with certain executive powers govern the eight counties of Trinidad. The three major cities, Port-of-Spain, San Fernando, and Arima, each have a mayor and a city council. In 1980, Tobago was granted its own House of Assembly, which sits for four years and consists of 12 elected members and three members chosen by the majority party. In January 1987, Tobago gained full internal self-government.
Trinidad and Tobago became a UN member on 18 September 1962, and it belongs to ACP, C, Caricom, CCC, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-24, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, LAES, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, and WTrO.
Approximately 50.5%, or 259,000 hectares (640,000 acres), of the land was forested in 2000. Roughly four-fifths of the forestland is government owned or administered; however, much of the state forestland is in hill areas, inaccessible for exploitation. Several dozen small sawmills are in operation. Roundwood production in 2000 was about 117,000 cu m (4.1 million cu ft), 32% used for fuel.
Insurance firms include branches of UK and US companies and a few local companies. Their operations are highly competitive. A government-owned reinsurance company has been in operation since 1979. The Colonial Life Insurance Co. is the largest life insurance company in Trinidad. The National Insurance Board of Trinidad, which operates like Social Security, was established in 1972 by the government.
Trinidad and Tobago has no territories or colonies.
Bereton, Bridget. A History of Modern Trinidad. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann Educational Books, 1981.
Health in the Americas, 2002 edition. Washington, D.C.: Pan American Health Organization, Pan American Sanitary Bureau, Regional Office of the World Health Organization, 2002.
Hintzen, Percy C. The Costs of Regime Survival: Racial Mobilization, Elite Domination, and Control of the State in Guyana and Trinidad. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
John, A. Meredith. The Plantation Slaves of Trinidad, 1783–1816: A Mathematical and Demographic Enquiry. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988.
Magid, Alvin. Urban Nationalism: A Study of Political Development in Trinidad. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1988.
Oxaal, Iva. Black Intellectuals and the Dilemmas of Race and Class in Trinidad. Cambridge, Mass.: Schenkman, 1982.
Reddock, Rhoda. Women, Labour and Politics in Trinidad and Tobago: A History . London: Zed Books, 1994.
Singh, Chaitram. Multinationals, the State, and the Management of Economic Nationalism: The Case of Trinidad. New York: Praeger, 1989.
Stuempfle, Stephen. The Steelband Movement: The Forging of a National Art in Trinidad and Tobago . Philadelphia, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995.
Winer, Lise. Trinidad and Tobago . Philadelphia, Pa.: J. Benjamins, 1993.
Yelvington, Kevin A. (ed.). Trinidad Ethnicity. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1993.