Timeline Trinidad & Tobago

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  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.
    (AP, 7/31/98)(http://www1.minn.net/~keithp/v3.htm)

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.
    (HN, 2/21/98)

1838        A migration from India began as recruiters based in Calcutta began trawling impoverished villages for workers willing to sign up for at least five years of labor on plantations growing sugar and other crops in Trinidad, British Guiana, Suriname and elsewhere. The traffic was shut down on March 12, 1917, after more than half a million people had come to the Caribbean.
    (Econ, 3/11/17, p.34)

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.
    (www.wwnorton.com/nael/victorian/topic_4/thomas.htm)(WSJ, 10/4/05, p.D8)

1920        Jun 11, Hazel Scott, singer, pianist (Hazel Scott), was born in Trinidad.
    (SC, 6/11/02)

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 Facebook.
    (AP, 4/16/11)

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.
    (MC, 5/15/02)

1941        Mar 27, Britain leased defense bases in Trinidad to the U.S. for a period of 99 years.
    (HN, 3/27/98)

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 Steelband."
    (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 independence.
    (SFC, 7/1/97, p.A9)(AP, 8/31/97)(Econ, 8/26/06, p.29)

1973        Jul 4, The Treaty of Chaguaramas was signed in Trinidad and established the Caribbean Community CARICOM - Caribbean Community & Common Market.
    (www.axses.com/encyc/caricom/nt/faqs.cfm)

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.
    (http://library2.nalis.gov.tt/Default.aspx?PageContentMode=1&tabid=79)

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.
    (WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R49)(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oil_spills)

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.
    (AP, 10/21/10)

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.
    (www.ttgapers.com/News/2010/9/30/abu-bakr-arrested-for-murder-again/)(AP, 10/21/10)

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 LNG shipment.
    (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 region.
    (AP, 7/6/02)

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.
    (AP, 10/8/02)

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.
    (AP, 11/21/02)

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.
    (AP, 12/26/02)

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 president.
    (AP, 2/14/03)

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.
    (AP, 11/21/03)

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.
    (AP, 9/14/04)

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.
    (AP, 10/18/04)

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.
    (AP, 2/19/05)

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.
    (http://washingtondc.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/pressrel09/wfo041509.htm)(AP, 3/23/11)

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.
    (AP, 5/31/05)

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.
    (AP, 6/23/05)

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.
    (AP, 7/11/05)

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 ransom.
    (AP, 9/9/05)

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 hostage.
    (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.
    (AP, 12/24/05)

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 corruption.
    (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.
    (AP, 11/8/06)

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, 5/27/11, p.A6)

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.
    (AP, 6/5/07)

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.
    (AP, 8/7/07)

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 day.
    (AP, 10/11/08)

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.
    (AP, 4/18/09)

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.
    (AP, 4/19/09)

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 Port-of-Spain.
    (AP, 5/5/09)

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 Trinidad.
    (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8384930.stm)

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.
    (AP, 5/25/10)

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 also killed.
    (AP, 11/24/10)

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 the US.
    (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.
    (AP, 8/15/11)

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.
    (AP, 8/18/11)

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.
    (AP, 8/24/11)

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.
    (AP, 8/24/11)

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.
    (AP, 9/5/11)

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.
    (AP, 7/11/12)

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.
    (AP, 10/10/12)

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.
    (AP, 5/31/13)

2014        Nov 15, Trinidad struggled to emerge from widespread flooding as meteorologists warned of more rain that has already forced businesses and schools to close.
    (AP, 11/15/14)

2014        Nov 22, Tobago police reported an elderly German couple hacked to death on a beach near their vacation home.
    (AP, 11/23/14)

2015        Aug 13, In New York a jury acquitted Charles "Teddy" Pierre in the deaths of Clara Sconiers and Thomas Reed. The Trinidad-born man had served 13 years in prison for a 2002 double homicide. He still faced a possible deportation.
    (AP, 8/14/15)

2015        Sep 7, Trinidad and Tobago held elections amid complaints about corruption and violent crime.
    (SFC, 9/7/15, p.A2)

2017        Feb, Trinidadian state security officials launched intensive surveillance and monitoring of the country's homegrown Islamist movements. Security officials and terrorism experts believed that as many as 125 fighters and their relatives have traveled from Trinidad and Tobago to Turkey and on to IS-controlled areas over the last four years, making the country of 1.3 million people the largest per-capita source of IS recruits in the Western Hemisphere.
    (AP, 2/16/17)

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