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The Government in Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago has a government of parliamentary democracy patterned after that of the United Kingdom. The government functions through its three branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial.

The Executive Branch has the President as Chief of State, the Prime Minister as Head of Government, and the Cabinet which is composed of the heads of various Ministries. The President is elected for a five-year term by an electoral college composed of the Bicameral Parliament. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President, but like the Cabinet is answerable to the House of Representatives. The general control and direction of government rests with the Cabinet led by the Prime Minister.

The Legislative Branch consists of the Bicameral Parliament of the 31-member Senate appointed by the President, and the House of Representatives whose 41 members are elected every five years. The appointment of the senators is upon the advice of the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition while the remaining independent senators are chosen by the President from among the outstanding members of the community. Comprising the Cabinet are heads of 24 ministries, including the Office of the Attorney-General.

The Judicial Branch is run by the Court of Appeals as the highest court of the islands, and the Supreme Court. The Court of Appeals is headed by a Chief Justice appointed by the President upon consultation with the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition. Final decision on an appeal is decided by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.

The local government is handled by nine Regional Corporations and the five municipalities of Arima, Chaguanas, Port of Spain, Point Fortin, and San Fernando. The government of Tobago, which is about five hours away from Trinidad by sea transport, is taken care of by its 15-member House of Assembly in coordination with the Executive and Legislative Branches of government.


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