Trinidad and Tobago/Government

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Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
conventional short form: Trinidad and Tobago

Data code: TD

Government type: parliamentary democracy

Capital: Port-of-Spain

Administrative divisions: 8 counties, 3 municipalities*, and 1 ward**; Arima*, Caroni, Mayaro, Nariva, Port-of-Spain*, Saint Andrew, Saint David, Saint George, Saint Patrick, San Fernando*, Tobago**, Victoria

Independence: 31 August 1962 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 31 August (1962)

Constitution: 1 August 1976

Legal system: based on English common law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Arthur Napoleon Raymond ROBINSON (since 19 March 1997)
head of government: Prime Minister Basdeo PANDAY (since 9 November 1995)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed from among the members of Parliament
elections: president elected by an electoral college, which consists of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives, for a five-year term; election last held NA November 1995 (next to be held by November 2000); prime minister appointed from among the members of Parliament; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives is usually appointed prime minister
election results: Arthur Napoleon Raymond ROBINSON elected president; percent of electoral college vote - 69%

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (31 seats; members appointed by the president for a maximum term of five years) and the House of Representatives (36 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: House of Representatives - last held 6 November 1995 (next to be held by December 2000)
election results: House of Representatives - percent of vote - PNM 52%, UNC 42.2%, NAR 5.2%; seats by party - PNM 15, UNC 19, NAR 1, independent 1; note - the UNC formed a coalition with the NAR
note: Tobago has a unicameral House of Assembly, with 15 members serving four-year terms

Judicial branch: Supreme Court comprised of the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeals, judges are appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister

Political parties and leaders: Movement for Social Transformation or MOTION [David ABDULLAH]; Movement for Unity and Progress or MUP [Hulsie BHAGGAN]; National Alliance for Reconstruction or NAR [leader NA]; National Development Party or NDP [Carson CHARLES]; National Joint Action Committee or NJAC [Makandal DAAGA]; People's National Movement or PNM [Patrick MANNING]; United National Congress or UNC [Basdeo PANDAY]

Political pressure groups and leaders: Jamaat Al Musilmeen [Abu BAKR]

International organization participation: ACP, C, Caricom, CCC, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-24, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, LAES, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNU, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Michael A. ARNEAUD
chancery: 1708 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 467-6490
FAX: [1] (202) 785-3130
consulate(s) general: Miami and New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Edward E. SHUMAKER, III
embassy: 15 Queen's Park West, Port-of-Spain
mailing address: P. O. Box 752, Port-of-Spain
telephone: [1] (809) 622-6372 through 6376, 6176
FAX: [1] (809) 628-5462

Flag description: red with a white-edged black diagonal band from the upper hoist side