Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago 1976, as amended to 2014


Citizenship and Nationality

Any person who became a citizen by birth under section 9(1) or a citizen by descent under section 9(2) of the former Constitution, and who has not ceased to be a citizen under that Constitution, shall continue to be a citizen under this Constitution. (Sec. 15)

Citizenship and Nationality

Any person who became a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago by virtue of registration under the former Constitution or by virtue of an acquisition of citizenship under Part II of the Trinidad and Tobago Citizenship Act, and who has not ceased to be a citizen under any law in force in Trinidad and Tobago, shall continue to be a citizen under this Constitution. (Sec. 16)

Citizenship and Nationality

(1) Subject to subsection (2), every person born in Trinidad and Tobago after the commencement of this Constitution shall become a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago at the date of his birth.
(2) A person shall not become a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago by virtue of subsection (1), if at the time of his birth—
(a) neither of his parents is a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago and either of them possesses such immunity from suit and legal process as is accorded to an envoy of a foreign sovereign power accredited to Trinidad and Tobago; or
(b) either of his parents is an enemy alien and the birth occurred in a place then under occupation by the enemy.
(3) A person born outside Trinidad and Tobago after the commencement of this Constitution shall become a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago at the date of his birth if at that date either of his parents is, or was, but for his parent’s death, a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago otherwise than by descent, so however that, in the case of a person employed in service under the Government or under an authority of the Government that requires him to reside outside Trinidad and Tobago for the proper discharge of his functions, this subsection shall be read as if the words “otherwise than by descent” were deleted.
(4) Any person who became a citizen by birth under section 12(1) or a citizen by descent under section 12(2) of the former Constitution and who has not ceased to be a citizen under that Constitution, shall continue to be a citizen under this Constitution.
(5) A person born outside Trinidad and Tobago after the 30th August, 1962 whose mother was a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago otherwise than by descent at the date of his birth but who did not become a citizen at that date shall be deemed to have become a citizen at that date and shall continue to be a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago under this Constitution. (Sec. 17)

Citizenship and Nationality

Parliament may make provisions relating to citizenship including provision—
(a) for the acquisition of citizenship of Trinidad and Tobago by persons who are not or do not become citizens of Trinidad and Tobago by virtue of the provisions of this Chapter;
(b) for depriving of his citizenship of Trinidad and Tobago any citizen of Trinidad and Tobago but only on the acquisition of citizenship of some other country in the case of a citizen by birth or descent; or
(c) for the renunciation by any person of his citizenship of Trinidad and Tobago. (Sec. 20)

Jurisdiction and Access

An appeal to the Court of Appeal shall be as of right from decisions of the High Court in the following, among other cases, that is to say—
(a) any order or decision in any civil or criminal proceedings on questions as to the interpretation of this Constitution;
… (Sec. 108)

Jurisdiction and Access

(1) An appeal shall lie from decisions of the Court of Appeal to the Judicial Committee as of right in the following cases:

(c) final decisions in any civil, criminal or other proceedings which involve a question as to the interpretation of this Constitution;
… (Sec. 109)

Education

It is hereby recognised and declared that in Trinidad and Tobago there have existed and shall continue to exist, without discrimination by reason of race, origin, colour, religion or sex, the following fundamental human rights and freedoms, namely–

(f) the right of a parent or guardian to provide a school of his own choice for the education of his child or ward;
… (Sec. 4)

Employment Rights and Protection

Whereas the People of Trinidad and Tobago—

(b) respect the principles of social justice and therefore believe that the operation of the economic system should result in the material resources of the community being so distributed as to subserve the common good, that there should be adequate means of livelihood for all, that labour should not be exploited or forced by economic necessity to operate in inhumane conditions but that there should be opportunity for advancement on the basis of recognition of merit, ability and integrity;
… (Preamble)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

Whereas the People of Trinidad and Tobago-
(a) have affirmed that the Nation of Trinidad and Tobago is founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God, faith in fundamental human rights and freedoms, the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions, the dignity of the human person and the equal and inalienable rights with which all members of the human family are endowed by their Creator;
… (Preamble)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

It is hereby recognised and declared that in Trinidad and Tobago there have existed and shall continue to exist, without discrimination by reason of race, origin, colour, religion or sex, the following fundamental human rights and freedoms, namely–

(b) the right of the individual to equality before the law and the protection of the law;

(d) the right of the individual to equality of treatment from any public authority in the exercise of any functions;
… (Sec. 4)

Obligations of the State

Whereas the People of Trinidad and Tobago-
(a) have affirmed that the Nation of Trinidad and Tobago is founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God, faith in fundamental human rights and freedoms, the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions, the dignity of the human person and the equal and inalienable rights with which all members of the human family are endowed by their Creator;

(e) desire that their Constitution should enshrine the above-mentioned principles and beliefs and make provision for ensuring the protection in Trinidad and Tobago of fundamental human rights and freedoms.
… (Preamble)

Obligations of the State

It is hereby recognised and declared that in Trinidad and Tobago there have existed and shall continue to exist without discrimination by reason of race, origin, colour, religion or sex, the following fundamental human rights and freedoms, namely:—
(a) the right of the individual to life, liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law;
(b) the right of the individual to equality before the law and the protection of the law;
(c) the right of the individual to respect for his private and family life;
(d) the right of the individual to equality of treatment from any public authority in the exercise of any functions;
(e) the right to join political parties and to express political views;
(f) the right of a parent or guardian to provide a school of his own choice for the education of his child or ward;
(g) freedom of movement;
(h) freedom of conscience and religious belief and observance;
(i) freedom of thought and expression;
(j) freedom of association and assembly; and
(k) freedom of the press. (Sec. 4)

Obligations of the State

(1) Except as is otherwise expressly provided in this Chapter and in section 54, no law may abrogate, abridge or infringe or authorise the abrogation, abridgment or infringement of any of the rights and freedoms hereinbefore recognised and declared.
… (Sec. 5)

Judicial Protection

(1) For the removal of doubts it is hereby declared that if any person alleges that any of the provisions of this Chapter has been, is being, or is likely to be contravened in relation to him, then without prejudice to any other action with respect to the same matter which is lawfully available, that person may apply to the High Court for redress by way of originating motion.
(2) The High Court shall have original jurisdiction—
(a) to hear and determine any application made by any person in pursuance of subsection (1); and
(b) to determine any question arising in the case of any person which is referred to it in pursuance of subsection (4), and may, subject to subsection (3), make such orders, issue such writs and give such directions as it may consider appropriate for the purpose of enforcing, or securing the enforcement of, any of the provisions of this Chapter to the protection of which the person concerned is entitled.
(3) The State Liability and Proceedings Act shall have effect for the purpose of any proceedings under this section.
(4) Where in any proceedings in any Court other than the High Court or the Court of Appeal any question arises as to the contravention of any of the provisions of this Chapter the person presiding in that Court may, and shall if any party to the proceedings so requests, refer the question to the High Court unless in his opinion the raising of the question is merely frivolous or vexatious.
(5) Any person aggrieved by any determination of the High Court under this section may appeal therefrom to the Court of Appeal and shall be entitled as of right to a stay of execution of the order and may in the discretion of the Court be granted bail.
(6) Nothing in this section shall limit the power of Parliament to confer on the High Court or the Court of Appeal such powers as Parliament may think fit in relation to the exercise by the High Court or the Court of Appeal, as the case may be, of its jurisdiction in respect of the matters arising under this Chapter. (Sec. 14)

Judicial Protection

An appeal to the Court of Appeal shall be as of right from decisions of the High Court in the following, among other cases, that is to say—

(b) any order or decision given in exercise of the jurisdiction conferred on the High Court by section 14 (which relates to redress for contravention of the provisions for the protection of fundamental rights);
… (Sec. 108)

National Human Rights Bodies

(1) There shall be an Ombudsman for Trinidad and Tobago who shall be an officer of Parliament and who shall not hold any other office of emolument whether in the public service or otherwise nor engage in any occupation for reward other than the duties of his office.
… (Sec. 91)

National Human Rights Bodies

(1) Subject to this section and to sections 94 and 95, the principal function of the Ombudsman shall be to investigate any decision or recommendation made, including any advice given or recommendation made to a Minister, or any act done or omitted by any department of Government or any other authority to which this section applies, or by officers or members of such a department or authority, being action taken in exercise of the administrative functions of that department or authority.
(2) The Ombudsman may investigate any such matter in any of the following circumstances:
(a) where a complaint is duly made to the Ombudsman by any person alleging that the complainant has sustained an injustice as a result of a fault in administration;
(b) where a member of the House of Representatives requests the Ombudsman to investigate the matter on the ground that a person or body of persons specified in the request has or may have sustained such injustice;
(c) in any other circumstances in which the Ombudsman considers that he ought to investigate the matter on the ground that some person or body of persons has or may have sustained such injustice.
(3) The authorities other than departments of Government to which this section applies are—
(a) local authorities or other bodies established for purposes of the public service or of Local Government;
(b) authorities or bodies the majority of whose members are appointed by the President or by a Minister or whose revenues consist wholly or mainly of moneys provided out of public funds;
(c) any authority empowered to determine the person with whom any contract shall be entered into by or on behalf of Government;
(d) such other authorities as may be prescribed. (Sec. 93)

National Human Rights Bodies

(5) Notwithstanding subsection (4) the Ombudsman—

(b) is not in any case precluded from investigating any matter by reason only that it is open to the complainant to apply to the High Court for redress under section 14 (which relates to redress for contravention of the provisions for the protection of fundamental rights). (Sec. 94)

Limitations and/or Derogations

(1) Except as is otherwise expressly provided in this Chapter and in section 54, no law may abrogate, abridge or infringe or authorise the abrogation, abridgment or infringement of any of the rights and freedoms hereinbefore recognised and declared.
… (Sec. 5)

Limitations and/or Derogations

(1) Without prejudice to the power of Parliament to make provision in the premise, but subject to this section, where any period of public emergency exists, the President may, due regard being had to the circumstances of any situation likely to arise or exist during such period make regulations for the purpose of dealing with that situation and issue orders and instructions for the purpose of the exercise of any powers conferred on him or any other person by any Act referred to in subsection (3) or instrument made under this section or any such Act.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) regulations made under that subsection may, subject to section 11, make provision for the detention of persons.
(3) An Act that is passed during a period of public emergency and is expressly declared to have effect only during that period or any regulations made under subsection (1) shall have effect even though inconsistent with sections 4 and 5 except in so far as its provisions may be shown not to be reasonably justifiable for the purpose of dealing with the situation that exists during that period. (Sec. 7)

Limitations and/or Derogations

(1) An Act to which this section applies may expressly declare that it shall have effect even though inconsistent with sections 4 and 5 and if any such Act does so declare, it shall have effect accordingly unless the Act is shown not to be reasonably justifiable in a society that has a proper respect for the rights and freedoms of the individual.
(2) An Act to which this section applies is one the Bill for which has been passed by both Houses of Parliament and at the final vote thereon in each House has been supported by the votes of not less than three-fifths of all the members of that House.
(3) For the purposes of subsection (2) the number of members of the Senate shall, notwithstanding the appointment of temporary members in accordance with section 44, be deemed to be the number of members specified in section 40(l). (Sec. 13)

Marriage and Family Life

Whereas the People of Trinidad and Tobago-
(a) have affirmed that the Nation of Trinidad and Tobago is founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God, faith in fundamental human rights and freedoms, the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions, the dignity of the human person and the equal and inalienable rights with which all members of the human family are endowed by their Creator;
… (Preamble)

Marriage and Family Life

It is hereby recognised and declared that in Trinidad and Tobago there have existed and shall continue to exist, without discrimination by reason of race, origin, colour, religion or sex, the following fundamental human rights and freedoms, namely–

(c) the right of the individual to respect for his private and family life;

(f) the right of a parent or guardian to provide a school of his own choice for the education of his child or ward;
… (Sec. 4)

Marriage and Family Life

(1) An appeal shall lie from decisions of the Court of Appeal to the Judicial Committee as of right in the following cases:

(b) final decisions in proceedings for dissolution or nullity of marriage;
… (Sec. 109)

Political Rights and Association

It is hereby recognised and declared that in Trinidad and Tobago there have existed and shall continue to exist, without discrimination by reason of race, origin, colour, religion or sex, the following fundamental human rights and freedoms, namely–

(e) the right to join political parties and to express political views;

(j) freedom of association and assembly;
… (Sec. 4)

Political Rights and Association

Subject to such disqualifications as Parliament may prescribe, a person shall be qualified to vote at an election of members to serve in the House of Representatives if, and shall not be qualified to vote at such an election unless, he—
(a) is a Commonwealth citizen (within the meaning of section 18) of the age of eighteen years or upwards; and
(b) has such other qualifications regarding residence or registration as may be prescribed. (Sec. 51)

Electoral Bodies

(1) There shall be an Elections and Boundaries Commission for Trinidad and Tobago (in this Part referred to as “the Commission”).

(11) The registration of voters and the conduct of elections in every constituency shall be subject to the direction and supervision of the Commission.
… (Sec. 71)

Head of State

There shall be a President of Trinidad and Tobago elected in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter who shall be the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. (Sec. 22)

Head of State

(1) A person is qualified to be nominated for election as President if, and is not so qualified unless, he is a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago of the age of thirty-five years or upwards who at the date of his nomination has been ordinarily resident in Trinidad and Tobago for ten years immediately preceding his nomination.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) a person shall be deemed to reside in Trinidad and Tobago if he holds an office in the service of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and lives outside Trinidad and Tobago because he is required to do so for the proper discharge of his functions. … (Sec. 23)

Head of State

(1) There shall be an Electoral College for the purposes of this Chapter which shall be a unicameral body consisting of all the members of the Senate and all the members of the House of Representatives assembled together.
… (Sec. 28)

Head of State

The President shall be elected by the Electoral College voting by secret ballot. (Sec. 29)

Government

(1) There shall be a Cabinet for Trinidad and Tobago which shall have the general direction and control of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and shall be collectively responsible therefor to Parliament.
(2) The Cabinet shall consist of the Prime Minister and such number of other Ministers (of whom one shall be the Attorney General), appointed in accordance with the provisions of section 76, as the Prime Minister may consider appropriate. (Sec. 75)

Government

(1) Where there is occasion for the appointment of a Prime Minister, the President shall appoint as Prime Minister—
(a) a member of the House of Representatives who is the Leader in that House of the party which commands the support of the majority of members of that House; or
(b) where it appears to him that that party does not have an undisputed leader in that House or that no party commands the support of such a majority, the member of the House of Representatives who, in his judgment, is most likely to command the support of the majority of members of that House, and who is willing to accept the office of Prime Minister.

(3) The Ministers other than the Prime Minister shall be such persons as the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, shall appoint from among the members of the House of Representatives and the Senators.
… (Sec. 76)

Legislature

There shall be a Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago which shall consist of the President, the Senate and the House of Representatives. (Sec. 39)

Legislature

(1) The Senate shall consist of thirty-one members (in this Constitution referred to as “Senators”) who shall be appointed by the President in accordance with this section.
(2) Of the thirty-one Senators—
(a) sixteen shall be appointed by the President acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister;
(b) six shall be appointed by the President acting in accordance with the advice of the Leader of the Opposition and;
(c) nine shall be appointed by the President in his discretion from outstanding persons from economic or social or community organisations and other major fields of endeavour. (Sec. 40)

Legislature

Subject to section 42, a person shall be qualified to be appointed as a Senator if, and shall not be qualified to be so appointed unless, he is a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago of the age of twenty-five years or upwards. (Sec. 41)

Legislature

(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, the House of Representatives shall consist of members who shall be elected in the manner provided by Parliament.
… (Sec. 46)

Legislature

Subject to the provisions of section 48, a person shall be qualified to be elected as a member of the House of Representatives if, and shall not be qualified to be so elected unless, he—
(a) is a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago of the age of eighteen years or upwards, and
(b) has resided in Trinidad and Tobago for a period of two years immediately before the date of his nomination for election or is domiciled and resident in Trinidad and Tobago at that date. (Sec. 47)

Legislature

(1) The election of members of the House of Representatives shall be by secret ballot and in accordance with the first-past-the-post system.
… (Sec. 73)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

It is hereby recognised and declared that in Trinidad and Tobago there have existed and shall continue to exist, without discrimination by reason of race, origin, colour, religion or sex, the following fundamental human rights and freedoms, namely–
(a) the right of the individual to life, liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law;
… (Sec. 4)

Protection from Violence

Whereas the People of Trinidad and Tobago—

(b) respect the principles of social justice and therefore believe that the operation of the economic system should result in the material resources of the community being so distributed as to subserve the common good, that there should be adequate means of livelihood for all, that labour should not be exploited or forced by economic necessity to operate in inhumane conditions but that there should be opportunity for advancement on the basis of recognition of merit, ability and integrity;
… (Preamble)

Protection from Violence

It is hereby recognised and declared that in Trinidad and Tobago there have existed and shall continue to exist, without discrimination by reason of race, origin, colour, religion or sex, the following fundamental human rights and freedoms, namely–
(a) the right of the individual to life, liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law;
… (Sec. 4)

Protection from Violence

(2) Without prejudice to subsection (1), but subject to this Chapter and to section 54, Parliament may not—

(b) impose or authorise the imposition of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment;
… (Sec. 5)

Public Institutions and Services

(1) Subject to section 134, the law applicable to any benefits to which this section applies shall, in relation to any person who has been granted or who is eligible for the grant of such benefits, be that in force on the relevant date or any later law that is not less favourable to that person.

(7) This section applies to any benefits payable under any law providing for the grant of pensions, gratuities or compensation to persons who are or have been public officers in respect of their service in the public service, or to the widows, children, dependants or personal representatives of such persons in respect of such service. (Sec. 133)

Public Institutions and Services

(1) Where under any law an authority has power to withhold, reduce in amount or suspend any benefits to which this section applies, that power shall not be exercised without the approval specified in subsection (2), (3) or (3A).
(2) Subject to subsection (3A), where a person who has been granted benefits, or who is eligible for benefits, in respect of public service was at the time he ceased to be a public officer subject to the jurisdiction of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission, the Police Service Commission or the Teaching Service Commission, the power referred to in subsection (1) shall not be exercised with respect to those benefits without the approval of that Commission.
(3) Subject to subsection (3A), where a person who has been granted benefits, or who is eligible for benefits, in respect of public service was not at the time he ceased to be a public officer subject to the jurisdiction of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission, the Police Service Commission or the Teaching Service Commission, the power referred to in subsection (1) shall not be exercised without the approval of the Public Service Commission.
(3A) Where a person, who is eligible for benefits in respect of public service, was at the time he ceased to be a public officer subject to the jurisdiction of the Commissioner of Police, the power referred to in subsection (1) with respect to those benefits shall not be exercised without the approval of the Commissioner.
(4) No benefits to which this section applies that have been granted to or in respect of any person who is or has been the holder of an office referred to in section 136(12) to (16), or for which any such person or his widow, children, dependants or his personal representatives may be eligible, shall be withheld, reduced in amount or suspended on the ground that that person has been guilty of misbehaviour, unless that person has been removed from his office under this Constitution by reason of such misbehaviour.
(5) For the purposes of this section, service as a Judge shall be deemed to be public service.
(6) This section applies to any benefits payable under any law providing for the grant of pensions, gratuities or compensation to persons who are or have been public officers in respect of their service in the public service or to the widows, children or personal representatives of such persons in respect of such service. (Sec. 134)

Status of the Constitution

This Constitution is the supreme law of Trinidad and Tobago, and any other law that is inconsistent with this Constitution is void to the extent of the inconsistency. (Sec. 2)

Citizenship and Nationality

English

Any person who became a citizen by birth under section 9(1) or a citizen by descent under section 9(2) of the former Constitution, and who has not ceased to be a citizen under that Constitution, shall continue to be a citizen under this Constitution. (Sec. 15)

Citizenship and Nationality

English

Any person who became a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago by virtue of registration under the former Constitution or by virtue of an acquisition of citizenship under Part II of the Trinidad and Tobago Citizenship Act, and who has not ceased to be a citizen under any law in force in Trinidad and Tobago, shall continue to be a citizen under this Constitution. (Sec. 16)

Citizenship and Nationality

English

(1) Subject to subsection (2), every person born in Trinidad and Tobago after the commencement of this Constitution shall become a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago at the date of his birth.
(2) A person shall not become a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago by virtue of subsection (1), if at the time of his birth—
(a) neither of his parents is a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago and either of them possesses such immunity from suit and legal process as is accorded to an envoy of a foreign sovereign power accredited to Trinidad and Tobago; or
(b) either of his parents is an enemy alien and the birth occurred in a place then under occupation by the enemy.
(3) A person born outside Trinidad and Tobago after the commencement of this Constitution shall become a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago at the date of his birth if at that date either of his parents is, or was, but for his parent’s death, a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago otherwise than by descent, so however that, in the case of a person employed in service under the Government or under an authority of the Government that requires him to reside outside Trinidad and Tobago for the proper discharge of his functions, this subsection shall be read as if the words “otherwise than by descent” were deleted.
(4) Any person who became a citizen by birth under section 12(1) or a citizen by descent under section 12(2) of the former Constitution and who has not ceased to be a citizen under that Constitution, shall continue to be a citizen under this Constitution.
(5) A person born outside Trinidad and Tobago after the 30th August, 1962 whose mother was a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago otherwise than by descent at the date of his birth but who did not become a citizen at that date shall be deemed to have become a citizen at that date and shall continue to be a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago under this Constitution. (Sec. 17)

Citizenship and Nationality

English

Parliament may make provisions relating to citizenship including provision—
(a) for the acquisition of citizenship of Trinidad and Tobago by persons who are not or do not become citizens of Trinidad and Tobago by virtue of the provisions of this Chapter;
(b) for depriving of his citizenship of Trinidad and Tobago any citizen of Trinidad and Tobago but only on the acquisition of citizenship of some other country in the case of a citizen by birth or descent; or
(c) for the renunciation by any person of his citizenship of Trinidad and Tobago. (Sec. 20)

Jurisdiction and Access

English

An appeal to the Court of Appeal shall be as of right from decisions of the High Court in the following, among other cases, that is to say—
(a) any order or decision in any civil or criminal proceedings on questions as to the interpretation of this Constitution;
… (Sec. 108)

Jurisdiction and Access

English

(1) An appeal shall lie from decisions of the Court of Appeal to the Judicial Committee as of right in the following cases:

(c) final decisions in any civil, criminal or other proceedings which involve a question as to the interpretation of this Constitution;
… (Sec. 109)

Education

English

It is hereby recognised and declared that in Trinidad and Tobago there have existed and shall continue to exist, without discrimination by reason of race, origin, colour, religion or sex, the following fundamental human rights and freedoms, namely–

(f) the right of a parent or guardian to provide a school of his own choice for the education of his child or ward;
… (Sec. 4)

Employment Rights and Protection

English

Whereas the People of Trinidad and Tobago—

(b) respect the principles of social justice and therefore believe that the operation of the economic system should result in the material resources of the community being so distributed as to subserve the common good, that there should be adequate means of livelihood for all, that labour should not be exploited or forced by economic necessity to operate in inhumane conditions but that there should be opportunity for advancement on the basis of recognition of merit, ability and integrity;
… (Preamble)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

English

Whereas the People of Trinidad and Tobago-
(a) have affirmed that the Nation of Trinidad and Tobago is founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God, faith in fundamental human rights and freedoms, the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions, the dignity of the human person and the equal and inalienable rights with which all members of the human family are endowed by their Creator;
… (Preamble)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

English

It is hereby recognised and declared that in Trinidad and Tobago there have existed and shall continue to exist, without discrimination by reason of race, origin, colour, religion or sex, the following fundamental human rights and freedoms, namely–

(b) the right of the individual to equality before the law and the protection of the law;

(d) the right of the individual to equality of treatment from any public authority in the exercise of any functions;
… (Sec. 4)

Obligations of the State

English

Whereas the People of Trinidad and Tobago-
(a) have affirmed that the Nation of Trinidad and Tobago is founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God, faith in fundamental human rights and freedoms, the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions, the dignity of the human person and the equal and inalienable rights with which all members of the human family are endowed by their Creator;

(e) desire that their Constitution should enshrine the above-mentioned principles and beliefs and make provision for ensuring the protection in Trinidad and Tobago of fundamental human rights and freedoms.
… (Preamble)

Obligations of the State

English

It is hereby recognised and declared that in Trinidad and Tobago there have existed and shall continue to exist without discrimination by reason of race, origin, colour, religion or sex, the following fundamental human rights and freedoms, namely:—
(a) the right of the individual to life, liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law;
(b) the right of the individual to equality before the law and the protection of the law;
(c) the right of the individual to respect for his private and family life;
(d) the right of the individual to equality of treatment from any public authority in the exercise of any functions;
(e) the right to join political parties and to express political views;
(f) the right of a parent or guardian to provide a school of his own choice for the education of his child or ward;
(g) freedom of movement;
(h) freedom of conscience and religious belief and observance;
(i) freedom of thought and expression;
(j) freedom of association and assembly; and
(k) freedom of the press. (Sec. 4)

Obligations of the State

English

(1) Except as is otherwise expressly provided in this Chapter and in section 54, no law may abrogate, abridge or infringe or authorise the abrogation, abridgment or infringement of any of the rights and freedoms hereinbefore recognised and declared.
… (Sec. 5)

Judicial Protection

English

(1) For the removal of doubts it is hereby declared that if any person alleges that any of the provisions of this Chapter has been, is being, or is likely to be contravened in relation to him, then without prejudice to any other action with respect to the same matter which is lawfully available, that person may apply to the High Court for redress by way of originating motion.
(2) The High Court shall have original jurisdiction—
(a) to hear and determine any application made by any person in pursuance of subsection (1); and
(b) to determine any question arising in the case of any person which is referred to it in pursuance of subsection (4), and may, subject to subsection (3), make such orders, issue such writs and give such directions as it may consider appropriate for the purpose of enforcing, or securing the enforcement of, any of the provisions of this Chapter to the protection of which the person concerned is entitled.
(3) The State Liability and Proceedings Act shall have effect for the purpose of any proceedings under this section.
(4) Where in any proceedings in any Court other than the High Court or the Court of Appeal any question arises as to the contravention of any of the provisions of this Chapter the person presiding in that Court may, and shall if any party to the proceedings so requests, refer the question to the High Court unless in his opinion the raising of the question is merely frivolous or vexatious.
(5) Any person aggrieved by any determination of the High Court under this section may appeal therefrom to the Court of Appeal and shall be entitled as of right to a stay of execution of the order and may in the discretion of the Court be granted bail.
(6) Nothing in this section shall limit the power of Parliament to confer on the High Court or the Court of Appeal such powers as Parliament may think fit in relation to the exercise by the High Court or the Court of Appeal, as the case may be, of its jurisdiction in respect of the matters arising under this Chapter. (Sec. 14)

Judicial Protection

English

An appeal to the Court of Appeal shall be as of right from decisions of the High Court in the following, among other cases, that is to say—

(b) any order or decision given in exercise of the jurisdiction conferred on the High Court by section 14 (which relates to redress for contravention of the provisions for the protection of fundamental rights);
… (Sec. 108)

National Human Rights Bodies

English

(1) There shall be an Ombudsman for Trinidad and Tobago who shall be an officer of Parliament and who shall not hold any other office of emolument whether in the public service or otherwise nor engage in any occupation for reward other than the duties of his office.
… (Sec. 91)

National Human Rights Bodies

English

(1) Subject to this section and to sections 94 and 95, the principal function of the Ombudsman shall be to investigate any decision or recommendation made, including any advice given or recommendation made to a Minister, or any act done or omitted by any department of Government or any other authority to which this section applies, or by officers or members of such a department or authority, being action taken in exercise of the administrative functions of that department or authority.
(2) The Ombudsman may investigate any such matter in any of the following circumstances:
(a) where a complaint is duly made to the Ombudsman by any person alleging that the complainant has sustained an injustice as a result of a fault in administration;
(b) where a member of the House of Representatives requests the Ombudsman to investigate the matter on the ground that a person or body of persons specified in the request has or may have sustained such injustice;
(c) in any other circumstances in which the Ombudsman considers that he ought to investigate the matter on the ground that some person or body of persons has or may have sustained such injustice.
(3) The authorities other than departments of Government to which this section applies are—
(a) local authorities or other bodies established for purposes of the public service or of Local Government;
(b) authorities or bodies the majority of whose members are appointed by the President or by a Minister or whose revenues consist wholly or mainly of moneys provided out of public funds;
(c) any authority empowered to determine the person with whom any contract shall be entered into by or on behalf of Government;
(d) such other authorities as may be prescribed. (Sec. 93)

National Human Rights Bodies

English

(5) Notwithstanding subsection (4) the Ombudsman—

(b) is not in any case precluded from investigating any matter by reason only that it is open to the complainant to apply to the High Court for redress under section 14 (which relates to redress for contravention of the provisions for the protection of fundamental rights). (Sec. 94)

Limitations and/or Derogations

English

(1) Except as is otherwise expressly provided in this Chapter and in section 54, no law may abrogate, abridge or infringe or authorise the abrogation, abridgment or infringement of any of the rights and freedoms hereinbefore recognised and declared.
… (Sec. 5)

Limitations and/or Derogations

English

(1) Without prejudice to the power of Parliament to make provision in the premise, but subject to this section, where any period of public emergency exists, the President may, due regard being had to the circumstances of any situation likely to arise or exist during such period make regulations for the purpose of dealing with that situation and issue orders and instructions for the purpose of the exercise of any powers conferred on him or any other person by any Act referred to in subsection (3) or instrument made under this section or any such Act.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) regulations made under that subsection may, subject to section 11, make provision for the detention of persons.
(3) An Act that is passed during a period of public emergency and is expressly declared to have effect only during that period or any regulations made under subsection (1) shall have effect even though inconsistent with sections 4 and 5 except in so far as its provisions may be shown not to be reasonably justifiable for the purpose of dealing with the situation that exists during that period. (Sec. 7)

Limitations and/or Derogations

English

(1) An Act to which this section applies may expressly declare that it shall have effect even though inconsistent with sections 4 and 5 and if any such Act does so declare, it shall have effect accordingly unless the Act is shown not to be reasonably justifiable in a society that has a proper respect for the rights and freedoms of the individual.
(2) An Act to which this section applies is one the Bill for which has been passed by both Houses of Parliament and at the final vote thereon in each House has been supported by the votes of not less than three-fifths of all the members of that House.
(3) For the purposes of subsection (2) the number of members of the Senate shall, notwithstanding the appointment of temporary members in accordance with section 44, be deemed to be the number of members specified in section 40(l). (Sec. 13)

Marriage and Family Life

English

Whereas the People of Trinidad and Tobago-
(a) have affirmed that the Nation of Trinidad and Tobago is founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God, faith in fundamental human rights and freedoms, the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions, the dignity of the human person and the equal and inalienable rights with which all members of the human family are endowed by their Creator;
… (Preamble)

Marriage and Family Life

English

It is hereby recognised and declared that in Trinidad and Tobago there have existed and shall continue to exist, without discrimination by reason of race, origin, colour, religion or sex, the following fundamental human rights and freedoms, namely–

(c) the right of the individual to respect for his private and family life;

(f) the right of a parent or guardian to provide a school of his own choice for the education of his child or ward;
… (Sec. 4)

Marriage and Family Life

English

(1) An appeal shall lie from decisions of the Court of Appeal to the Judicial Committee as of right in the following cases:

(b) final decisions in proceedings for dissolution or nullity of marriage;
… (Sec. 109)

Political Rights and Association

English

It is hereby recognised and declared that in Trinidad and Tobago there have existed and shall continue to exist, without discrimination by reason of race, origin, colour, religion or sex, the following fundamental human rights and freedoms, namely–

(e) the right to join political parties and to express political views;

(j) freedom of association and assembly;
… (Sec. 4)

Political Rights and Association

English

Subject to such disqualifications as Parliament may prescribe, a person shall be qualified to vote at an election of members to serve in the House of Representatives if, and shall not be qualified to vote at such an election unless, he—
(a) is a Commonwealth citizen (within the meaning of section 18) of the age of eighteen years or upwards; and
(b) has such other qualifications regarding residence or registration as may be prescribed. (Sec. 51)

Electoral Bodies

English

(1) There shall be an Elections and Boundaries Commission for Trinidad and Tobago (in this Part referred to as “the Commission”).

(11) The registration of voters and the conduct of elections in every constituency shall be subject to the direction and supervision of the Commission.
… (Sec. 71)

Head of State

English

There shall be a President of Trinidad and Tobago elected in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter who shall be the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. (Sec. 22)

Head of State

English

(1) A person is qualified to be nominated for election as President if, and is not so qualified unless, he is a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago of the age of thirty-five years or upwards who at the date of his nomination has been ordinarily resident in Trinidad and Tobago for ten years immediately preceding his nomination.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) a person shall be deemed to reside in Trinidad and Tobago if he holds an office in the service of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and lives outside Trinidad and Tobago because he is required to do so for the proper discharge of his functions. … (Sec. 23)

Head of State

English

(1) There shall be an Electoral College for the purposes of this Chapter which shall be a unicameral body consisting of all the members of the Senate and all the members of the House of Representatives assembled together.
… (Sec. 28)

Head of State

English

The President shall be elected by the Electoral College voting by secret ballot. (Sec. 29)

Government

English

(1) There shall be a Cabinet for Trinidad and Tobago which shall have the general direction and control of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and shall be collectively responsible therefor to Parliament.
(2) The Cabinet shall consist of the Prime Minister and such number of other Ministers (of whom one shall be the Attorney General), appointed in accordance with the provisions of section 76, as the Prime Minister may consider appropriate. (Sec. 75)

Government

English

(1) Where there is occasion for the appointment of a Prime Minister, the President shall appoint as Prime Minister—
(a) a member of the House of Representatives who is the Leader in that House of the party which commands the support of the majority of members of that House; or
(b) where it appears to him that that party does not have an undisputed leader in that House or that no party commands the support of such a majority, the member of the House of Representatives who, in his judgment, is most likely to command the support of the majority of members of that House, and who is willing to accept the office of Prime Minister.

(3) The Ministers other than the Prime Minister shall be such persons as the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, shall appoint from among the members of the House of Representatives and the Senators.
… (Sec. 76)

Legislature

English

There shall be a Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago which shall consist of the President, the Senate and the House of Representatives. (Sec. 39)

Legislature

English

(1) The Senate shall consist of thirty-one members (in this Constitution referred to as “Senators”) who shall be appointed by the President in accordance with this section.
(2) Of the thirty-one Senators—
(a) sixteen shall be appointed by the President acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister;
(b) six shall be appointed by the President acting in accordance with the advice of the Leader of the Opposition and;
(c) nine shall be appointed by the President in his discretion from outstanding persons from economic or social or community organisations and other major fields of endeavour. (Sec. 40)

Legislature

English

Subject to section 42, a person shall be qualified to be appointed as a Senator if, and shall not be qualified to be so appointed unless, he is a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago of the age of twenty-five years or upwards. (Sec. 41)

Legislature

English

(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, the House of Representatives shall consist of members who shall be elected in the manner provided by Parliament.
… (Sec. 46)

Legislature

English

Subject to the provisions of section 48, a person shall be qualified to be elected as a member of the House of Representatives if, and shall not be qualified to be so elected unless, he—
(a) is a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago of the age of eighteen years or upwards, and
(b) has resided in Trinidad and Tobago for a period of two years immediately before the date of his nomination for election or is domiciled and resident in Trinidad and Tobago at that date. (Sec. 47)

Legislature

English

(1) The election of members of the House of Representatives shall be by secret ballot and in accordance with the first-past-the-post system.
… (Sec. 73)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

English

It is hereby recognised and declared that in Trinidad and Tobago there have existed and shall continue to exist, without discrimination by reason of race, origin, colour, religion or sex, the following fundamental human rights and freedoms, namely–
(a) the right of the individual to life, liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law;
… (Sec. 4)

Protection from Violence

English

Whereas the People of Trinidad and Tobago—

(b) respect the principles of social justice and therefore believe that the operation of the economic system should result in the material resources of the community being so distributed as to subserve the common good, that there should be adequate means of livelihood for all, that labour should not be exploited or forced by economic necessity to operate in inhumane conditions but that there should be opportunity for advancement on the basis of recognition of merit, ability and integrity;
… (Preamble)

Protection from Violence

English

It is hereby recognised and declared that in Trinidad and Tobago there have existed and shall continue to exist, without discrimination by reason of race, origin, colour, religion or sex, the following fundamental human rights and freedoms, namely–
(a) the right of the individual to life, liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law;
… (Sec. 4)

Protection from Violence

English

(2) Without prejudice to subsection (1), but subject to this Chapter and to section 54, Parliament may not—

(b) impose or authorise the imposition of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment;
… (Sec. 5)

Public Institutions and Services

English

(1) Subject to section 134, the law applicable to any benefits to which this section applies shall, in relation to any person who has been granted or who is eligible for the grant of such benefits, be that in force on the relevant date or any later law that is not less favourable to that person.

(7) This section applies to any benefits payable under any law providing for the grant of pensions, gratuities or compensation to persons who are or have been public officers in respect of their service in the public service, or to the widows, children, dependants or personal representatives of such persons in respect of such service. (Sec. 133)

Public Institutions and Services

English

(1) Where under any law an authority has power to withhold, reduce in amount or suspend any benefits to which this section applies, that power shall not be exercised without the approval specified in subsection (2), (3) or (3A).
(2) Subject to subsection (3A), where a person who has been granted benefits, or who is eligible for benefits, in respect of public service was at the time he ceased to be a public officer subject to the jurisdiction of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission, the Police Service Commission or the Teaching Service Commission, the power referred to in subsection (1) shall not be exercised with respect to those benefits without the approval of that Commission.
(3) Subject to subsection (3A), where a person who has been granted benefits, or who is eligible for benefits, in respect of public service was not at the time he ceased to be a public officer subject to the jurisdiction of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission, the Police Service Commission or the Teaching Service Commission, the power referred to in subsection (1) shall not be exercised without the approval of the Public Service Commission.
(3A) Where a person, who is eligible for benefits in respect of public service, was at the time he ceased to be a public officer subject to the jurisdiction of the Commissioner of Police, the power referred to in subsection (1) with respect to those benefits shall not be exercised without the approval of the Commissioner.
(4) No benefits to which this section applies that have been granted to or in respect of any person who is or has been the holder of an office referred to in section 136(12) to (16), or for which any such person or his widow, children, dependants or his personal representatives may be eligible, shall be withheld, reduced in amount or suspended on the ground that that person has been guilty of misbehaviour, unless that person has been removed from his office under this Constitution by reason of such misbehaviour.
(5) For the purposes of this section, service as a Judge shall be deemed to be public service.
(6) This section applies to any benefits payable under any law providing for the grant of pensions, gratuities or compensation to persons who are or have been public officers in respect of their service in the public service or to the widows, children or personal representatives of such persons in respect of such service. (Sec. 134)

Status of the Constitution

English

This Constitution is the supreme law of Trinidad and Tobago, and any other law that is inconsistent with this Constitution is void to the extent of the inconsistency. (Sec. 2)