Return to homeCIA Factbook: http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/td.html
Travel Docs: http://www.traveldocs.com/tt/index.htm This two island nation has a population of
which 98% live on Trinidad, 7 miles from the coast of Venezuela.
This was where Calypso music started in the 19th cent. and where the
steel drum was invented as a musical instrument in 1930s-'40s. This
nation is the world's second largest exporter of ammonia and will be
the third largest exporter of methanol by the end of 1995. The
capital is Port-of-Spain. Tobago is a 26-mile island with 46,000
residents off the coast of Venezuela.
(Hem., Dec. '95, p.29-30)(USA Today, 5/14/96, p.6D)
13000BC-4000BC Trinidad was once
part of the South American continent. The lowlands to the continent
flooded either after the melt of the last Ice Age or more recently
from erosion caused by the Orinoco River of Venezuela.
(SFEC, 2/16/96, p.T5)
1498 Jul 31, During his third
voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus arrived at an
island he named Trinidad because of its 3 hills.
1776 The world’s oldest
protected rain forest on Tobago was set aside in 1776.
(USA Today, 5/14/96, p.6D)
1797 Feb 21, Trinidad, West
Indies surrendered to the British.
1889 J.J. Thomas (1840-1889)
authored “Froudacity," an attack on the writings about the West
Indies of English historian J. Anthony Froude. The Trinidad-born,
self-educated black intellectual, wrote the work during a visit to
London where he died of TB.
1920 Jun 11, Hazel Scott,
singer, pianist (Hazel Scott), was born in Trinidad.
1925 Goat races began in Tobago
as a working-class alternative to horse racing. In 20011 the Buccoo
Goat Race Festival, scheduled for April 25-26, sought support on
1932 Aug 17, V.S, Naipaul
(b.1932), English novelist (Middle Passage), was born in Chaguana,
Trinidad. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001.
(SFC, 10/12/01, p.C1)(SC, 8/17/02)
1937 May 15, Trini Lopez,
singer, guitarist (If I Had a Hammer), was born in Trinidad.
1941 Mar 27, Britain leased
defense bases in Trinidad to the U.S. for a period of 99 years.
1941 Jun 29, Stokely Carmichael
(later Kwame Ture), African-American civil rights leader, was born
in Port-of-Spain and spent his first 11 years there.
(SFC, 11/16/98, p.A7)(HN, 6/29/98)
1944 Lord Kitchener composed
the 1st calypso played by a steel drum orchestra: "The Beat of the
(SFC, 2/12/00, p.A21)
1958 Jan 3, The British
created the West Indies Federation with Lord Hailes as governor
general. The federation lasted to 1962. It included Barbados,
Jamaica, Trinidad, Tobago and the Windward and Leeward Islands.
(HN, 1/3/99)(WUD, 1994, p.1623)
1960s The 1979 novel "The Dragon Cant' Dance" by
Earl Lovelace was set in this time at Calvary Hill in Port of Spain.
(SFEC, 3/21/99, BR p.9)
1962 May 31, The West Indies
Federation, made up of Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica, and
the Leeward and Windward Islands, broke up after 4 years following
Jamaica’s passage of a referendum to end the alliance.
(Econ, 6/2/12, p.47)
1962 Aug 31, The Caribbean
nation of Trinidad and Tobago became independent within the British
Commonwealth. Eric Williams, a Marxist historian, led the country to
(SFC, 7/1/97, p.A9)(AP, 8/31/97)(Econ, 8/26/06,
1973 Jul 4, The Treaty of
Chaguaramas was signed in Trinidad and established the Caribbean
Community CARICOM - Caribbean Community & Common Market.
1973 Carnival was delayed due
to an outbreak of polio.
(SFC, 2/12/00, p.A21)
1974 Garfield Blackman (d.2000
at 59), aka Lord Shorty and Ras Shorty I, composed his 1st soca song
“Endless Vibrations." He fused calypso and the up-tempo soca beat.
(SFC, 7/14/00, p.D6)
1976 Aug 1, Trinidad &
Tobago became a republic.
1979 Jul 19, Two supertankers
collided off Tobago and spilled 260,000 tons of oil. It was the
worst oil spill to date with 88 million gallons spewed.
1981 Trinidad and Tobago opened
a stock exchange.
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R42)
1982 Earl Lovelace published
his novel "The Wine of Astonishment."
(SFEC, 3/21/99, BR p.9)
1989 Trinidad and Tobago
appealed for an Int’l. World Court to help it and other small
countries fight int’l. drug trafficking.
(SFEC, 12/1/96, p.A16)
1990 Jul 27, In Trinidad Yasin
Abu Bakr and 114 rebels set off a car bomb that gutted the police
station in front of Parliament. They then stormed into the
legislature, spraying bullets, and took the prime minister and his
Cabinet hostage in a rebellion that killed 24 people.
1990 Aug 1, In Trinidad, dozens
of Muslim militants surrendered and freed 42 hostages they had
seized six days earlier in a failed bid to overthrow the government.
Jamaat al Muslimeen, a Trinidadian radical Muslim group led by Yasin
Abu Bakr (formerly Lennox Phillip), launched the unsuccessful
rebellion that left 24 dead.
(AP, 8/1/00)(AP, 6/3/07)(Econ, 6/9/07, p.44)
1991 Feb 4, In Cumuto,
Trinidad, Indravani Pamela Ramjattan (28), a victim of repeated
beatings, was again beaten unconscious by her husband, Alexander
Jordan (47). A week later she got 2 men, one of them her lover, to
murder Jordan. Ramjattan was convicted of murder in a 1995 trial and
sentenced to death.
(SFC, 1/29/99, p.A14)
1993 The London-based Privy
Council ruled that executions cannot take place move than 5 years
after sentencing. For Trinidad and Tobago to overrule this required
a constitutional amendment, which in turn required a three-quarters
majority in parliament.
(Econ, 2/12/11, p.46)
1994 Dole Chadee, a drug lord,
set up the murder of a family of four over a drug dispute. Chadee
and 2 henchmen were executed in 1999.
(SFC, 6/5/99, p.A10)
1995-2001 Basdeo Panday served as the prime
minister of Trinidad & Tobago. In Sep, 2002, he was charged with
failing to include a London bank account in a statutory declaration
of his assets.
(Econ, 1/28/06, p.37)
1996 Apr 16, An American was
shot and killed in the Toco area of Port of Spain.
(SFC, 5/5/96, p.T-9)
1996 Jun, Ground breaking
ceremonies were held for a new LNG plant at Point Fortin. It was
owned by Amoco, British Gas, Cabot and the Trinidad government.
(WSJ, 3/13/00, p.A1)
1997 Apr 22, A 6.5 earthquake
hit Tobago. There were no reported injuries.
(SFC, 4/23/97, p.A4)
1997 Earl Lovelace won the
Commonwealth Writer's Prize for his novel "Salt."
(SFEC, 3/21/99, BR p.9)
1998 May 20, In Trinidad
Ishmael Sammy, a 22-year-old mechanic, was dragged out of his home
by masked men and shot. In 2010 the director of public prosecutions
said the state did not have the evidence to proceed with a murder
charge against Yasin Abu Bakr and Brent Miller, members of the
Jamaat al Muslimeen group, in the slaying of Sammy. Bakr, a former
police officer who converted to Islam in the 1970s, has been charged
with various crimes over the years but never convicted.
1998 May, Trinidad and Tobago
withdrew from the American Convention on Human Rights and planned
the execution of 5 prisoners in June.
(SFC, 6/19/98, p.B4)
1998 Jul 2, Barbados, Trinidad
and Tobago, Guyana and Jamaica reported plans to establish the
Caribbean Court of Justice in 1999 and planned to change their
constitutions to free themselves of the British Privy Council. The
effort was pushed to establish the death penalty.
(SFC, 7/4/98, p.A10)
1999 Apr 20, Lt. Col. Noel
Pelco was shot and killed outside the residence of Prime Minister
Basdeo Panday, the country’s 1st Hindu leader, in Port of Spain by
Lance Corporal Anthony Caesar, who then killed himself.
(SFC, 4/20/99, p.A11)
1999 Apr, Trinidad made its 1st
(WSJ, 3/13/00, p.A1)
1999 Jun 4, Dole Chadee and 2
henchmen were hanged. Six more executions were schedule to follow
within days. These were the first execution in 5 years.
(SFC, 6/5/99, p.A10)
1999 Trinidad and Tobago
suffered 93 killings this year. 10 men were hanged in the country, 9
of them were members of the Dole Chadee drug mob.
(Econ, 2/12/11, p.46)
2000 Feb 11, Lord Kitchener
(born as Aldwyn Roberts), the "Grand Master" of Calypso singing,
died at age 77.
(SFC, 2/12/00, p.A21)
2000 Dec 11, Prime Minister
Basdeo Panday, head of the United National Congress, announced
victory for 19 parliamentary seats vs. 16 for the black-dominated
People’s National Movement.
(SFC, 12/12/00, p.B3)
2002 Jul 6, Trinidad and Tobago
announced plans to run an undersea natural gas pipeline throughout
the Caribbean, saying the project would open new markets in the
2002 Oct 7, Elections in
Trinidad and Tobago were won by Prime Minister Patrick Manning's
black-dominated party with 20 of the 36 parliamentary seats.
2002 Nov 20, In Port-of-Spain,
Trinidad, Phillip Seerattan (17) opened fire with a pistol at a
school for foreign students, wounding a security guard before being
shot to death by police.
2002 Dec 26, In Trinidad police
reported that 4 people were slain over the Christmas holidays,
bringing the number of killings to a record 164 this year.
2003 Feb 14, Trinidad and
Tobago legislators elected Maxwell Richards, a former university
dean who claims he is "not in anyone's back pocket" to be the new
2003 Nov 20, The London Privy
Council ruled that Trinidad's mandatory death penalty for murder
convictions was unconstitutional, forcing the country to begin
giving discretion to judges when handing out sentences.
2003 Trinidad closed its
state-owned sugar company.
(Econ, 9/24/05, p.45)
2004 May 24, It was reported
that Alcoa planned to build a $1 billion aluminum smelter on the
island of Trinidad and another in Iceland.
(WSJ, 5/24/04, p.A1)
2004 Sep 13, In Trinidad and
Tobago a pregnant woman was killed in Tobago when a tree fell on her
from Hurricane Ivan. Roofs blew off some 30 buildings, including
homes and schools.
2004 In Trinidad construction
began on a drilling platform being built for BP Trinidad and Tobago
LLC, the Trinidad branch of London-based BP Amoco PLC. It was
scheduled to be completed in March, 2005, and be fully operational
in January 2006.
2005 Feb 19, In Trinidad
security chiefs from 34 countries in the Americas outlined broad
strategies for fighting money laundering, passport fraud and drug
smuggling, warning that Islamic terrorists could exploit lawlessness
in the region to raise money and slip through borders.
2005 Apr 6, In Trinidad gunmen
snatched Balram Maharaj (62), a US citizen, from a bar and held him
for ransom. The body of the Vietnam War veteran were found in a
forest in January 2006. 7 men were convicted in a US trial in 2009.
2005 Apr 16, Caribbean leaders
in Trinidad inaugurated a court that will serve as the highest
judicial body for much of the region, a step toward shedding their
170-year-old dependence on Britain's Privy Council that many have
resented as a vestige of colonialism.
(AP, 4/16/05)(Econ, 4/16/05, p.34)
2005 May 31, Trinidad police
arrested Basdeo Panday, former prime minister (1995-2001) and
opposition leader, and 3 others on corruption charges connected to
an airport construction contract.
2005 Jun 22, An explosion
blasted through an oil tanker moored for repairs off Trinidad's west
coast, killing two people and leaving two missing.
2005 Jul 1, On the island of
Tobago Kitty Nichole Pepe (14) of Keene, N.Y., was stabbed to death
in the village of Charlottville. On July 4 police arrested a
22-year-old man in connection with her death. Pepe was the 5th
homicide victim on the island of 55,000 people this year. In April,
2011, Sean Antoine (28) was convicted of manslaughter. In May he was
sentenced to 19 years at hard labor.
(AP, 7/3/05)(AP, 7/5/05)(AP, 5/16/11)
2005 Jul 11, In Trinidad a bomb
exploded in a trash bin in downtown Port-of-Spain on Monday,
injuring 14 people.
2005 Sep 7, In Trinidad Jason
Raymond-Guillen, the 19-year-old son of a newspaper editor, was
seized outside his home by kidnappers who demanded a $2 million
2005 Nov 7, Police in Trinidad
arrested Yasin Abu Bakr (64), an Islamic leader formerly known as
Lennox Phillip. His group Jamaat al Mulsimeen group stormed
Parliament 15 years ago and took the prime minister and his Cabinet
(AP, 11/11/05)(Econ, 11/19/05, p.42)
2005 Dec 17, In Trinidad Randy
Depoo, a former political officer at the US Embassy in Trinidad,
paid $1,000 for the release of his kidnapped son. The kidnappers
originally sought nearly $32,000 but released the youth within hours
of the abduction for the lower amount.
2005 Trinidad, with a
population of 1.3 million, counted 390 murders this year.
(Econ, 8/26/06, p.29)
2006 Apr, Basdeo Panday, former
Trinidad prime minister, was sentenced to 2 years in prison for
(Econ, 7/22/06, p.40)
2006 Jul 14, In Trinidad a
high-court judge convened a special hearing that stayed an
arrest order against Satnarine Sharma, the chief justice of
Trinidad, who was charged with attempting to pervert the course of
justice by helping former PM Basdeo Panday.
(Econ, 7/22/06, p.40)
2006 Nov 8, In Barbados the new
Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice, in its first death
penalty ruling, dismissed an appeal by the Barbados government that
sought to restore execution orders for two convicted murderers.
2007 Jun 2, Four Muslim men
were arrested and in connection to a plan to set off explosives in a
jet fuel line that feeds John F. Kennedy International Airport and
runs through residential neighborhoods. Two men allegedly involved
in a plot to attack New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport
were in custody in Trinidad and Tobago and the police commissioner
said authorities were scouring the Caribbean country for a third
suspect still at large. In 2011 Kareem Ibrahim (65) of Trinidad was
found guilty of convincing plotters to seek aid from Iran.
(AP, 6/2/07)(AP, 6/3/07)(AP, 6/2/08)(SFC,
2007 Jun 5, Abdel Nur, a
Guyanese national and the fourth suspect in an alleged plot to
attack New York's John F. Kennedy Airport, surrendered in Trinidad.
2007 Aug 7, A judge in Trinidad
ordered three men extradited to the US to face charges in an alleged
plot to attack New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, and
a confidential US document said they planned to seek help from Iran.
2008 Mar 26, Trinidad’s RBTT,
the largest regionally owned bank, agreed to accept a takeover by
the Royal Bank of Canada.
(Econ, 3/29/08, p.50)
2008 Oct 9, In Tobago Anna
Sundsval (62) and Oke Olsoon (73) of Sweden were slashed to death at
their home in the Bon Accord area. A suspect was arrested the next
2009 Feb 5, Jennifer Figge (56)
arrived in Trinidad, exhilarated and exhausted as she touched land
this week for the first time in almost a month, becoming the first
woman on record to allegedly swim across the Atlantic Ocean. Figge
actually swam only a fraction of the 2,100-mile journey. The rest of
the time, she rested on her crew's westward-sailing catamaran.
(AP, 2/8/09)(AP, 2/10/09)
2009 Apr 18, The 34-nation
weekend Summit of the Americas opened in Trinidad. Cuba, as the
region's only non-democracy, was not invited. Pres. Obama signaled
he was ready to accept Cuban President Raul Castro's proposal of
talks on issues once off-limits for Havana, including the scores of
political prisoners held by the communist government.
2009 Apr 19, In Trinidad a
Western Hemisphere summit wrapped up with President Barack Obama
hopeful he'd boosted the image of the US among its friends in the
region and perhaps even made some new ones. Caribbean leaders asked
the US to expand a $1.4 billion program to help Mexico and Central
America fight drug trafficking and organized crime to include aid
for their island nations. The final declaration of the Summit of
Americas, which Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and his leftist bloc
refused to sign, turned out to have just one signatory. It was PM
Patrick Manning, host of the 34-nation summit.
2009 May 2, In Trinidad 4
police officers allegedly hijacked a smuggling boat from Venezuela
and stole 1,000 endangered birds and monkeys along with 400 pounds
of wild animal meat. Investigators acting on a tip found birds and
monkeys in people's homes, in pet shops and even along roads in
2009 Nov 27, The 53 members of
the Commonwealth gathered in Trinidad for a summit.
(Econ, 11/28/09, p.67)
2009 Nov 29, Rwanda was
admitted to the Commonwealth as its 54th member during a summit in
2010 May 24, In Trinidad and
Tobago attorney Kamla Persad-Bissessar (59) was elected as the first
female prime minister. Preliminary elections results indicated that
Persad-Bissessar and her five-party People's Partnership coalition
won 29 of 41 seats in parliament.
2010 Nov 23, In Trinidad Sgt.
Simeon Roderique (38), a US Army soldier vacationing on the
Caribbean island, was killed when gunmen rammed his car from behind
in a rough slum and then opened fire. He was shot shortly after
dropping a woman off at her home in Laventille, a gang-plagued
community just east of Trinidad's capital. The woman's brother was
2010 Trinidad and Tobago
suffered 472 killings this year, close to 5% of all deaths. The
murder rate was 36 per 100,000 people, seven times higher than in
(Econ, 2/12/11, p.46)(Econ, 8/27/11, p.32)
2011 Jun 20, Jack Warner, FIFA
official from Trinidad and Tobago, resigned from the organization
ending all investigations into his conduct. The governing body of
world soccer suspended Warner a month ago for a scandal where
$40,000 was allegedly given to his colleagues running soccer games
in Caribbean nations.
(SSFC, 6/26/11, p.A4)
2011 Aug 15, A Trinidad police
union called for a day of "rest and reflection" as a way to protest
the government's offer of a 5 percent pay raise. The union says that
isn't enough. Some 25% of the Caribbean country's police officers
joined in the one-day strike.
2011 Aug 17, Doctors in
Trinidad said PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar is among the nearly 1,700
people who have been diagnosed with hemorrhagic dengue, a
mosquito-born virus. He was expected to recover.
2011 Aug 21, Trinidad President
George Maxwell Richards issued the state of emergency decree
following a spike in violent crime that saw 11 murders in 48 hours.
Dusk to dawn curfews were imposed.
2011 Aug 24, Trinidad police
said more than 140 people have been arrested on the Caribbean island
during a crackdown on gangs amid a state of emergency declared by
the national government.
2011 Sep 4, Authorities in
Trinidad and Tobago extended a state of emergency by three months,
citing continued security concerns since the measure was first
imposed last month to dismantle gangs and decrease crime.
2012 Jul 10, A Trinidad and
Tobago conservation group called for a prompt investigation into how
government work crews crushed leatherback turtle eggs and hatchlings
on a remote beach that experts say is the globe's densest nesting
site for the endangered marine species. Thousands of leatherback
eggs were crushed by heavy machinery over the weekend as workers
redirected a shifting river that was eroding the nesting sites and
threatening a hotel.
2012 Oct 9, In Trinidad former
world soccer vice president Jack Warner said he wants to stop the
release of crime reports and statistics in his capacity as the
national security minister, saying that publicizing such information
encourages people to commit more crime. The next day Acting Police
Commissioner Stephen Williams said he had not received any orders
from Warner and will continue to respond to requests for crime
information from the media and the public.
2013 May 31, China’s President
Xi arrived for a state visit to the twin-island nation of Trinidad
and Tobago, a leading supplier of natural gas. Xi planned to seek to
deepen trade and investment in energy when he meets with Trinidadian
PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar.