Country Reports

Trinidad and Tobago Country Report

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Risk Level

Very High


Executive Summary

Prime Minister Keith Rowley's People’s National Movement (PNM) has been in power since the 2015 election, when it obtained a five-seat majority with 23 MPs in the 41-seat parliament. PNM also holds a one-seat majority in the Senate, the country’s upper house. The next general election is scheduled to take place between September and December 2020.IHS Markit forecasts a decline in economic growth worth 6.2% in 2020. Trinidad and Tobago’s economy is over reliant on the energy sector, making it vulnerable to the significant decline in global commodity prices caused by weaker demand from the spread of the COVID-19-virus pandemic. Because the energy sector accounts for about one-third of the government’s revenue, the decline in global commodity prices will lead to rising fiscal deficit levels. Even given expectations of weaker import demand, sharply lower export demand will lead to a significant deterioration in Trinidad and Tobago’s current-account balance.Tourism accounts for around 12% of GDP and 17% of employment in Trinidad and Tobago. This sector has been hit hard by the pandemic and despite the relaxation of almost all restrictions by 22 June, the borders remain closed. The effects of the pandemic on the economy, including severe restrictions to public spending, restructuring of public institutions, and business closures will add political and economic pressures on the government. The country will have to balance a significant loss of its revenue stream with being able to provide contingency funding to address the COVID-19 pandemic.Gang-related violence and crime due in part to drug trafficking increased during 2019, when there were 538 murders, the highest figure since 2008. Gang-related killings have decreased dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. Police commissioner Gary Griffiths has claimed that the decrease is due to the lack of state contracts during this period, which the gangs rely on for funding.
Last update: June 19, 2020

Operational Outlook

The operational environment is undermined by low-level corruption, a cumbersome state bureaucracy, high levels of crime, and the poor state of transport infrastructure. Trade unions will continue to exert strong influence on labour relations and industrial action is likely to remain common, with vulnerable sectors including education, oil, utilities, and telecoms. Protests and strikes risks are likely to rise once the ongoing COVID-19 crisis abates.

Last update: June 17, 2020



Terrorism risks will be elevated in Trinidad and Tobago in 2020. Islamist group Jamaat Al Muslimeen (JAM), which staged an attempted coup in 1990, no longer has the capacity or intent to perform large-scale attacks. However, as many as 400 Trinidad nationals are likely to have joined the Islamic State since 2013. There is a risk of nationals returning or of homegrown radicalisation following the territorial losses of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, elevating the likelihood of lone-actor attacks on tourist or civilian targets. The 2018 Anti-Terrorism Act faced peaceful opposition from within the country's Muslim community and main political opposition over concerns that it would promote police discrimination.

Last update: November 21, 2019


Gang-related violence due in part to drug trafficking has increased, although it rarely affects foreign travellers. Petty crime is prevalent, however tourists have occasionally been victims of more serious crimes including kidnapping, sexual assault and armed robbery. The country’s murder rate was approximately 36 per 100,000 in 2018, the highest rate in eight years. The US Department of Defense lists Trinidad and Tobago as high-threat for kidnappings, as incidents have steadily increased since 2015. There have been two reports of kidnappings of foreign nationals since 2017, including two female British nationals in March 2019, who were victims of sexual assault and robbery during the kidnapping.

Last update: November 21, 2019

War Risks

War risks will remain moderate in 2020. with no outstanding maritime border disputes with neighbours Venezuela and Barbados. There remains the potential for small-scale at-sea confrontations between fishing vessels suspecting of operating in non-territorial waters. However, the risk of incidents in the oil and gas sector has declined as the bilateral relationship has improved following several energy-sector agreements between Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago in recent years. The state's use of force is likely to remain limited to naval or military action against domestic criminal groups or international drug-smuggling operations.

Last update: November 21, 2019

Social Stability


There is a high risk of protests ahead of the September 2020 parliamentary elections. The implementation of austerity measures including public-sector job and fuel subsidy cuts, and tax rises on basic goods have increased the likelihood of large-scale disruptive protests over the next year involving roadblocks, burning tyres, and limited violence against security forces. Hostility towards the large number of Venezuelan immigrants entering the country in 2019 is also likely to spur violent confrontations between migrants and anti-migrant protesters.

Residents of garrison towns such as Laventille and Beetham Estate are likely to react to anti-crime operations by blocking the Beetham Highway.

Last update: November 21, 2019

Health Risk

Very high

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.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks


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.

Last update: April 5, 2019



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.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information


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.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +1 868
Police: 999
Ambulance: 990


Voltage: 115V ~ 60 Hz


Last update: April 5, 2019