Trinidad and Tobago Country Report
Prime Minister Keith Rowley’s People’s National Movement (PNM) secured a five-seat majority in the September 2015 election and is likely to remain in power until elections in 2020. The government is pro-business and unlikely to expropriate firms. Strike action is likely to affect the public, construction, and energy sectors. Murder rates have risen as a result of gang violence and drug and weapons trafficking, mostly from neighbouring Venezuela. Foreign visitors face the highest risk of robbery during the Carnival period, typically in February or March. Radical Muslim groups in the country have not indicated the intention or capability to perform large-scale attacks.
The operational environment is adequate by regional standards but cumbersome state bureaucracy, high levels of crime, and the poor state of transport infrastructure continue to undermine the operating environment. Corruption at all levels of government and the civil service is a consideration for businesses operating in Trinidad and Tobago, although their effects on the energy sector are more limited. Job cuts and wage reductions have increased the risk of industrial action, particularly in the hydrocarbon sector as prompted by lower oil prices, although this is mitigated by consultations between government, businesses, and labour unions, reducing the risk of large-scale disruptive strikes.
Terrorism risks are elevated in Trinidad and Tobago. Islamist group Jamaat Al Muslimeen (JAM), which staged an attempted coup in 1990, no longer has the capacity or intent of performing large-scale attacks. However, there is a rising number of Trinidadian nationals reportedly joining jihadist groups abroad. As many as 400 Trinidadians are likely to have joined the Islamic State, and there is concern from local security officials that, upon their return, they could contribute to the radicalisation of local Muslim groups and perpetrate lone wolf attacks on soft civilian targets. The 2018 Anti-Terror Bill has faced opposition from within the country's Muslim community and in government.
War risks in Trinidad and Tobago are low for the next year. Maritime border disputes with Venezuela and Barbados were officially resolved in 1990 and 2006, respectively. Despite these agreements, there have been occasional flare-ups in Trinidad's relationship with Venezuela. In 2012, Venezuelan navy personnel boarded a Petrotrin oil rig that it suspected of operating in Trinidadian waters and in 2011 the Venezuelan navy fired on Trinidadian fishing boats suspected of fishing in Venezuelan waters. The risk of further incidents has declined as the bilateral relationship has improved, particularly since a number of energy-sector deals have been agreed over recent years.
Protests tend to be peaceful and limited to road blockades. However, the implementation of austerity measures including public-sector job cuts, fuel subsidy cuts, fragile relations between government and unions, and tax rises on basic goods increase the likelihood of large-scale disruptive protests over the next year involving roadblocks, burning tyres, and violence against security forces. Residents of garrison towns such as Laventille and Beetham Estate are likely to react to anti-crime operations by blocking the Beetham Highway, connecting Port-of-Spain with highways to the southern and eastern regions. Sectors vulnerable to disruption from industrial action are education, oil, maritime, and telecommunications.
Vaccines required to enter the country
Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travelers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease; it should be taken ten days in advance to be fully effective.
Vaccines recommended for all travelers
Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).
Vaccines recommended for most travelers
Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.
Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).
Vaccines recommended for some travelers
Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.
Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).
Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is generally recommended for travelers to densely forested regions.
Hurricane season lasts from June until the end of November. While Trinidad is usually spared from direct hits from hurricanes, it does not escape the heavy rains that accompany them. Therefore, floods and landslides may occur during these months. A rare tropical storm hit Trinidad and Tobago in mid-June 2017, causing moderate damage and lingering flooding, particularly in southern Trinidad.
Landslides and widespread flooding provoked by torrential rain in late November/early December 2016 destroyed roads and bridges in the north of Trinidad in what was called the worst natural disaster to hit the islands in the past half-century.
Trinidad and Tobago is located in an active seismic zone, situated along the same fault line as Haiti.
Roads throughout the islands are generally paved and highways are in good condition. However, many secondary roads are in poor state and some are narrow and winding, particularly in mountainous regions in the north of Trinidad, making for potentially hazardous conditions. Additionally, traffic accidents are common on the Port of Spain-San Fernando highway as well as on roads leading to Piarco International Airport.
Due to the high crime rates noted above, travelers are advised to drive with windows closed and doors locked.
Public modes of transportation available in the country include private taxis, route taxis (where multiple passengers are picked up along the same route), maxi-taxis (vans), and coach buses. It is advisable to only travel by private taxis; it is preferable to use taxis waiting in front of larger hotels instead of hailing them on the street. In all circumstances, be sure to negotiate the price with the driver before departing as taxis do not have meters. Furthermore, private taxis are unmarked but are identifiable by their license plate, which starts with the letter H; do not use unofficial taxis, whose plates will begin with the letter P.
Cars drive on the left-hand side of roads in this former British colony.
Gas stations are often closed at night.
Domestic air travel is safe.
Weather in Trinidad and Tobago is hot (30°C on average) and humid. The dry season lasts from January until May. During the rainy season (June to December), high temperatures coupled with high levels of humidity make for stifling conditions. The eastern and northern coasts receive more rain than the rest of the country. The island nation is generally spared from autumnal hurricanes.
|Country Code:||+1 868|
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