Trinidad and Tobago. In January, the government presented a series of draft constitutional amendments to Parliament. The most important proposal was that the Prime Minister’s post should be abolished and that an Executive President should instead be installed as head of government. According to countryaah, the president had a largely ceremonial role as head of state. The Executive President would in future be appointed by Parliament and be entitled to appoint 17 members of government. Another proposed constitutional change was that the Privy Council in London should be replaced as the highest court of appeal with the Regional Caribbean Supreme Court (CCJ). It was expected to take at least two years before a vote on constitutional amendments would be held in Parliament. Before that, the proposals would be discussed among politicians and the general public. The same month elections were held for the autonomous island of Tobago’s parliament. Trinidad and Tobago’s National Government Party, the People’s National Movement (PNM), clearly won with eight out of twelve seats also in Tobago’s parliament. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for abbreviation TNT which stands for the nation of Trinidad and Tobago.
As a result of the international recession, Trinidad and Tobago’s economic growth stopped at a modest level. Above all, it was the country’s oil and gas sector, with associated industries, affected by the downturn.
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
At the 1990 census the population of the small Caribbean island state was 1,234,388 residents, about 180,000 more than ten years earlier and almost 300,000 more than in 1970. The average annual increase is around 1.5 % and is clearly lower than the natural balance due to the persistence of a non-negligible emigration.
The oil crisis of the seventies and eighties could not fail to have a heavily negative impact on a country whose economy has long been based in absolute prevalence (for 80-90%) on the extraction of hydrocarbons, on the industries connected with oil and on the export of crude oil and derivatives. The extraction of oil (the reserves of which, among other things, have fallen sharply) in 1992 was only 7,130,000 tons. On the other hand, natural gas is on the rise (7405 million m 3), which must now be considered the main resource of the state and which has led to a redistribution of production activities and the formation of a large industrial development area in Point Lisas, on the west coast of the island of Trinidad (Gulf of Paria), about 25 km south of Port of Spain. The difficulties of the oil economy have given rise to a sharp decrease in the gross domestic product (which has however recovered since the early 1990s), with a worsening of the foreign debt, a sharp increase in unemployment (up to over 20%), a general impoverishment of the country. Other economic activities, which were relied upon for a reconversion of the economy, fail, or succeed only to a limited extent, in making up for the losses in the oil sector. The old agriculture inherited from the colonial past has continued to decline (the main crop, that of cane, produced in 1994 a sugar production of just 1,280,000 q); rather, intensive food crops have assumed importance for internal needs, located in the immediate vicinity of the capital and other major centers. Tourism did not take off as hoped either (185,000 visitors in 1990).