Departamento para la Gestión Pública Efectiva


Guía de Mecanismos para la Promoción de la Transparencia
y la Integridad en las Américas

T R I N I D AD  &  T O B A G O

Background and System Scope

Trinidad and Tobago trajectory in the promotion of the rule of law and integrity of public officials goes back three decades ago. Several oversight bodies compose Trinidad and Tobago integrity structure. The most prominent oversight bodies are the Integrity Commission, the Auditor-General, the Ministry of Attorney General, the Ombudsman, and some specialized public agencies.

The 1976 Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago established The Integrity Commission as an autonomous body that seeks to promote integrity as a foundational element of Trinidad and Tobago society. The Charter 10 of the Constitution and the Integrity in Public Life Act contain the mandate of the Commission and govern the activities of its five members. The President appoints the members of the Commission after consultation with the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition. Part II, Section 5 of the Integrity in Public Life Act states that the performance of the Commission “shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.” Section 4 of the Integrity in Public Life Act establishes that the members of the Commission should be persons “of integrity and high standing” and that one member of its member should be an attorney-at-law of at least ten years experience and other member should be a chartered or certified accountant.

The Commission’s main goal is guarantee that public servants comply with the laws governing integrity. Therefore, the Commission is in charge of verifying declarations of assets, liabilities and income from different branches of government; supervising, monitoring and investigating standards of ethical conduct as prescribed by parliament and corrupt practices of the persons exercising public functions. The Commission can authorize investigations, summon witnesses, and receive allegations and reports of corruptive acts from the general. The Commission is engage in initiatives aimed at empowering citizens in the fights against corruption as well.

Another function of the Integrity Commission according to the Section 5 (1) (e) of the Integrity in Public Life Act is to receive and investigate complaints regarding any alleged breaches of the Act or the commission of any suspected offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act enacted in 1987. The Prevention of Corruption Act criminalizes and defines acts of corruption and contains preventive measures that are applicable to public servants and local authorities as well as members of the Cabinet, members of the Parliament, the Tobago House of Assembly, state enterprises and any person acting on behalf of the state.

The 1959 Exchequer and Audit Ordinance creates the Office of the Auditor General of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. The Auditor General mission is to ensure the constitutional goal of transparency and accountability and economy, efficiency and effectiveness in the use of funds and other resources of the State. Chapter 69:01 of the Exchequer and Audit Ordinance establishes the Auditor General to “examine, inquire into and audit the accounts of all accounting officers” and receivers of revenues and all persons entrusted with the management of public funds. Section 116 of the Constitution entrusts the Auditor General of carrying out audits of the financial information of all enterprises owned or controlled by the State and certifying the nation’s public accounts. The Auditor General has the obligation to report annually to Parliament and the Minister of Finance.

Section 117 of the Constitution states that the President appoints the Auditor General after consultation with the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition. Section 116 (6) affirms that the Auditor General “shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.” In this sense, the Exchequer and Audit Ordinance contain the grounds and procedure that allow the removal of the Auditor General.

Among the powers of the Audit General, Part III, Section 10, (1)(a-f) of the Exchequer and Audit Ordinance entitles the Auditor General to call upon any officer for information, to have custody of any documents under the control of any officer; to require any department to furnish the Office of the Auditor General with accounts of all transactions; and to request interpretation of written laws from the Attorney General.

The Ombudsman's Office receives and assists persons who complain about abuses of public officers employed by Government agencies and departments. The role of the Ombudsman is both investigatory and advisory. Section 93 (2) (a-c) of the Constitution authorizes the Ombudsman to initiate investigations regarding citizen’s complaints, when requested by a member of the House of Representatives or on his/her own initiative on the ground that some person or body of persons has or may have sustained such injustice. Then, the Ombudsman can make recommendations to public authorities regarding its investigations. The Ombudsman can report to Parliament when public officials failure to comply with the recommendations. The Ombudsman has to make annual reports on the performance of her functions including the results of her investigations and also can submit special reports on matters of public importance.

The mandate to investigate is, however, restricted by the Constitution [Section 94 (2-3)]. The Ombudsman cannot inquire when a policy decision from a Minister is behind; while the Ombudsman may continue to investigate complaints of administrative injustice even in cases that raise questions as to the integrity or corruption of the public service, the Ombudsman shall not undertake any investigation into specific charges of corruption against individuals. In cases of corrupt acts, the Ombudsman shall report the matter to the appropriate authority. Finally, Section 98 (2) establishes that the Ombudsman has no power to compel Ministers or Parliamentary Secretaries to answer any questions relating to any matter under investigation.

The Constitution [Section 76, (2)(a-b)] confers to the Ministry of the Attorney General the executive responsibility for law enforcement and public prosecution. Among other important functions, the Attorney General is responsible for the administration of legal affairs in Trinidad and Tobago and for taking legal proceedings for and against the State in civil proceedings. The Attorney General is involved in the fight against corruption though the Anti-Corruption Bureau and its Anti-Corruption Squad.

Besides facilitating the development of the capacity of the public service and enabling technology on the public sector, the Minister of Public Administration is in charge of providing training for public officials on the body of systems, rules, processes governing common services in the public service. The Minister of Public Administration also develops activities that lead to the modernization of the services and goods delivered by the State and effective government. The Minister also oversights responsibility for the government human resources in public institutions and companies owned by the State.

The National Strategic Plan “Vision 2020 Project”
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The Government of Trinidad and Tobago issued the National Strategic Plan “Vision 2020 Project” and the Operational Plan for the period 2007-2010. Chapter 5 of the plan is addressed to “Promoting Effective Government”. The goal number one aims that Trinidad and Tobago society and government “will adhere to good governance principles and practices.” The operational plan outlines the necessity to reduce opportunities for corruption and the abuse of power. As strategies to achieve that goal, the operational plan mentions the reform of the public sector procurement regime and the strengthening of the Integrity Commission. In page 291, the operational plan includes improving the Commission capacity to conduct examinations and investigations, and the enhancement of institutional and popular knowledge of the Integrity in Public Life legislation.

These plans are the result of a process that started in 2002 with the appointment of the Vision 2020 Planning Committee commissioned to prepare the National Strategic Plan. This Committee, comprised with representatives from all the major segments of the society, in turn, widened the participation in the planning process by establishing 28 Sub-Committees, comprising over 600 individuals in the discussion about development issues. Based on the Strategic Plan, the Ministry of Planning and Development formulated the Operational Plan for the period 2007-2010, which serves as guide for the national development during that period of time.

 

The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU)
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Through the Act No. 11 of 2009 the government created the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). The FIU main objective is the collection analysis, dissemination, and exchange of financial intelligence and information among law enforcement authorities, financial institutions and listed business in Trinidad and Tobago and internationally. The FIU also implements a system for monitoring the effectiveness of its anti-money laundering policies. The FIU is entitled to investigate and request information about suspicious transaction or suspicious activity from financial institutions. The FIU submits its evaluation about the case to the relevant law enforcement authority for investigation and determine whether criminal actions proceed for money laundering offence.

Official website of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago
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This website includes comprehensive information about Trinidad and Tobago and its public agencies. Information is addressed to different types of audience. In one hand, there are relevant information and guidance addressed to foreign, non-residence and business people interested making business and visiting the country. On the other hand, there are information and instructions allowing citizens to access to public interest areas. The website list all official website sites that offer online services and provides information that allows citizens to initiate proceedings before other state offices. For example, forms for birth certificates, forms for enrolment in schools, forms to require government assistance for tuition expenses, form of claim for old age pension, etc. The website includes a section to explain step by step how to file a request for access to official documents.

The website contains information about the national legislation, consumer information protection, national reports and statistics, and about all the government offices and instrumentalities.

TTBizLink ingle Electronic Window (SEW) for business and trade
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This website aims to facilitate business and trade. It allows companies and individuals to apply and track on line trade permits and licenses. The application is sent to various government agencies involved, like the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), Ministry of Food Production Land and Marine Affairs (MFPLMA) and the Ministry of Health.

 

Ministry of Finance (Central Tenders Board)
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The website of the Ministry of Finance contains details of the tendering process, instructions and fees. The website lists past and current tendering notices, list of contracts awarded by the Central Tenders Board since 2007 that include the name of the contractors, price, and dates of the contract; list of the contracts awarded by the Central Tenders Board for the appointment of consultants since 2007; and the application forms and guides about how to participate in tendering processes.   


Ministry of HousingHome Application Fulfillment System (HAFS)
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This website is managed by the Ministry of Housing and its Agencies interact with the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago. It allows citizens to register with the Ministry and apply online via the Internet, for a new house, rental accommodation, squatter regularization or home improvement loans.

 

Multilateral Institutions in the field of Electronic Government

The Network of e-Government Leaders of Latin America and the Caribbean (RED GEALC) See>>

La Red GEALC in an initiative created in 2003 as a joint initiative between the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development of the OAS and Institute for the Connectivity in Americas (IDRC/ICA) to promote the “horizontal cooperation between the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, and to facilitate the exchange of solutions and experts between the two regions”. The Network acts as mechanism of technical and financial support of the electronic government initiatives in various countries of the region. Some of the activities of cooperation are as follows:

  • Creation of a database of e-Government experts.
  • Creation of the Horizontal Cooperation Fund, FOCOH.
  • A library of its own publications.
  • 8 virtual working groups through the network’s platform www.redgealc.net
  • Training courses of e-Government
  • A mechanism whereby the advances on e-Government can be monitored: e-GovMonitor (launched in Dec. 2008)

eGobex (launched in Dec. 2008) functions as an exchanging tool of electronic government among the governments in Latin America.

For more information, click here.

 

Inter-American Network on Government Procurement (INGP)
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It initiated its activities in 2004 with the Inter-American network of E-Government Procurement. The network also had a gradual training process from the first meetings held since 2003 between the heads of national offices and programs of modernization of government procurement in the Americas.

Later in 2005 became the Inter-American network of government procurement to expand the themes of work and incorporate other initiatives related to Government Procurement in the Americas. The Network aims to create a space for experience sharing to strengthen government procurement practices in the region. The INGP carries out workshops such as online course “Public Procurement Management” and publishes documents on public contracting systems in Latin America.

 

Regional Information System on Best Practices of Public Management in Latin America and the Caribbean (SIPAL)
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This regional system was initiated in the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences FLASCO-Chile, and is sponsored by the Latin American Administration Center for Development and the Government of Chile. It aims to collect information regarding best practices of public management including institutional transparency, and distribute them to the countries in the region to fortify central public administrations.

 

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
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The Regional ICT Strategy, also known as the Regional Digital Development Strategy (RDDS), is a technology used to leverage and deepen the Region’s cultural resources, through high-speed ICT networks and trained human resources, and within good governance and sound operating partnership networks; in order to add social and economic value, for the benefit of the Region.

For more information, click here.

A. Instruments and Initiatives ratified by/agreed to by Trinidad and Tobago

1. Organization of American States (OAS)

Inter-American Convention against Corruption (OAS)
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The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago signed and ratified the Inter-American Convention against Corruption on April 15, 1998.

The MESICIC is an intergovernmental instrument which provides support to the Member States in the process of implementing the dispositions of the Convention. To see the reports on the implementation of the recommendations of the Committee of Experts of the MESICIC, please click on the following links:

1st Round of Analysis
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2nd Round of Analysis
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3rd Round of Analysis
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2. United Nations (UN)

UN Convention against Corruption
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Trinidad and Tobago signed the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in December 2003 and in May 2006 ratified it.

 

B. Cooperation Programs in Trinidad and Tobago financed by International Bodies
1. United Nations (UN)
Country Programme Action Plan (CPAP) (UNDP) (2012-2015)
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This programme, along with UNDP initiatives, focus on four dimensions; Human Security, Environment & Energy, Poverty Reduction and Democratic Governance. Among these focal areas, Democratic Governance has five specific objectives: Result based management and Prince 2, Parliamentary strengthening, Public administration, and Democratic dialogues, and Constitutional reform.

 

2. Inter-American Development Banc (IDB)

TC0206014: Improving Application of and Compliance with IAS and ASI
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The overall objective of the project is the strengthening of the regulatory framework of accountancy and it is implemented by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Trinidad and Tobago. The project seeks the improvement of the annual financial statements of business entities in Trinidad and Tobago by providing investor-desired qualities of transparency, reliability and comparability. The main activities of the project include aims to improve accountants’ competence; enhance the Institute’s regulatory capability; assist in establishing legal framework; and impart the principles of good governance practices. This project was approved on March 2003 and was completed on September 2009.

 

TT0057: Public Sector Reform Program
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This project aims at supporting the initial development and implementation of a long-term strategy to reform the Public Sector. This project aims at developing a strategic plan to progressively adopt a series of measures to improve the composition of public expenditure and optimize the size, management, structure, organization, functioning, human resources, legal framework and accountability and service delivery mechanisms of the Public Sector in the frame of the national goal of achieving developed country status by year 2020. This project was approved on December 2003 and currently is being implemented.

 

TT-L1019: Public Expenditure Management Program I
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The purpose of the project is to support the Government’s major reform effort to enhance and modernize public capital expenditure management; and to contribute to the Government’s overall objectives of enhancing efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and accountability in the use of public resources. The reforms supported by the Program combine policy initiatives and government actions in three areas: (i) policy design and public investment management that the project aims at improving the investment planning and prioritization; (ii) public procurement; and (iii) public financial management and audit. This project was approved on December 3, 2010 and completed on December 21, 2003.

 

TT-M1025: Improving Corporate Governance in Trinidad and Tobago
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The project combats non-transparency of public and private publicly-listed companies that provoke risk to the economy. The project seeks to increase the understanding and compliance with current legislation that governs the business environment. The overarching goal is the eventual creation of ethical, non-corrupt business environments which fosters business integrity and results in a competitive and stable economy. This project is currently under preparation.

National Tools

Country Data Report for Trinidad and Tobago (World Bank) (1996-2009)
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The Data Report is the result of the perception of experts and citizens in various fields of public and private sector, respondents to various surveys conducted in both developing countries and industrialized countries. The information is from diverse sources, such as survey institutes, research institutes, NGOs and international organizations. The reports contain indicators on the performance of countries on six specific approaches such as citizen participation and accountability, Political Stability and lack of violence and terrorism, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, rule of law, and control of corruption.

For more information, click here.

 

International Tools

The Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) project (World Bank) (1996-2010)
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The Worldwide Governance Indicators report on six broad dimensions of governance for over 200 countries over the period 1996-2010. The study reviews perceptions of citizens, entrepreneurs, and experts in the public, private and NGO sectors from around the world, on the quality of various aspects of governance.

The indicators are as follows

  • Voice and Accountability: perceptions of the degree of citizen’s ability to participate in selecting their government, as well as freedom of expression, freedom of association, and a free media. 
  • Political Stability and Absence of Violence: perceptions of the likelihood that the government will be destabilized or overthrown by unconstitutional or violent means, including domestic violence and terrorism.
  • Government Effectiveness: perceptions of the quality of public services, civil service and the degree of its independence from political pressures, the quality of policy formulation and implementation, and the credibility of the government's commitment to such policies.
  • Regulatory Quality: perceptions of the ability of the government to formulate and implement sound policies and regulations that permit and promote private sector development.
  • Rule of Law: perceptions of the extent to which agents have confidence in and abide by the rules of society, and in particular the quality of contract enforcement, property rights, the police, and the courts, as well as the likelihood of crime and violence.
  • Control of Corruption: perceptions of the extent to which public power is exercised for private gain, including both petty and grand forms of corruption, as well as "capture" of the state by elites and private interests.

 

The Effects of Political Corruption on Caribbean Development (Latin American and Caribbean Center, Florida International University) (2002)
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This was a paper for the Caribbean Studies Association annual conference in 2002. It contains major problems regarding corruption in Caribbean region and its impact on development. Similar to many Caribbean countries, Jamaica has chronic problems with the link between drugs and corruption.

This paper first reviews the literature on political corruption to see what others have found about its effects on state development. Through a series of statistical correlation and regression analyses, it tests a number of hypotheses in an attempt to answer the question “What are the effects of political corruption on Caribbean development.” The study finds that these effects are the most pronounced on a state’s economic output and rule of law.

It is proven that the mixture of corruption and drugs creates a vicious cycle of crime and violence that is engulfing many of the small Caribbean states including Jamaica. The biggest problem of the mixture is that drug-financed corruption fuels the breakdown of the rule of law.

Realizing that corruption alone is not the only variable that affects a state’s level of development, the report also incorporates variables that must be consider concern resource endowments and geography—variables that speak to a state’s potential comparative advantage. It is assumed that those states with the best resource endowments—energy resources, non-petroleum natural resources and arable land—are the most likely to develop faster.

 

Corruption Perceptions Index (2010)
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The Corruption Perception Index is an analysis tool that ranks around 178 countries according to the perception of corruption. The indicator is made by the organization Transparency International and is the result of different assessments and business opinion surveys. Trinidad and Tobago ranked at the 73rd place (out of 178 countries), with a score of 3.6 (out of 10 possible).

 

Global Corruption Barometer (2009)

See>>

 

The Global Corruption Barometer (the Barometer) presents the main findings of a public opinion survey that explores the general public’s views of corruption, as well as experiences of bribery around the world. This report is based on citizens’ views on government efforts to fight corruption in order to evaluate the extent to which public institutions are corrupt. The report of 2009 for the first time includes questions about the level of state capture and people’s willingness to pay a premium for clean corporate behavior. The difference between the Barometer and the "Corruption Perception Index" is that the latter is mainly based on perceptions of the private sector, while the Barometer focuses on the perceptions and opinions of the public sector.

To read 2009 report, click here.

 

Freedom of the Press (2010)
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The report is produced by the Freedom House and measures the degree to which each country permits the free flow of news and in 196 countries and territories. Countries are given a total score from 0 (best) to 100 (worst) on the basis of a set of 23 methodology questions divided into three subcategories. Trinidad and Tobago total score is 23: 6 in legal environment; 10 in political environment; 7 in economic environment. Countries scoring 0 to 30 are regarded as having “Free” media; 31 to 60, “Partly Free” media; and 61 to 100, “Not Free” media.

 

Global Ranking “Democracy, Markets and Transparency 2009”
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The report is produced by the Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America (CADAL) aims to measure countries development in three areas: democratic liberties, market economy and governmental transparency. The report uses information from Freedom of the World, by Freedom House, Index of Economic Freedom by Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal, and Corruption Perception Index by Transparency International. Trinidad and Tobago ranked 52 among 169 countries.

For more information, click here.

 

Global Integrity Report (Global Integrity Index)
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The Global Integrity Report is an analysis tool to understand the mechanisms of governance and corruption nationwide. The report is prepared by local researchers, journalists, academics through a double-blind review process. The report evaluates the legislation, practical implementation and the strengthening of such frameworks. The index developed by Global Integrity is focused on the quality of accountability, transparency and social control. It also assesses the existence, effectiveness and accessibility of anti-corruption mechanisms implemented by the Government. It has over 300 indicators of integrity for each country, which are obtained from interviewers.

Each annual report for each country includes two elements: a Qualitative Report and Quantitative Indicators of Integrity.

To see the methodology, click here.
To read the report on Trinidad and Tobago, click here.

 

Barometers of the Americas
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The report provides important information regarding citizen’s perception about political tolerance, civic participation, corruption, role of women, democratic/authoritarian system support among other themes. The reports are conducted in the countries of the region evaluating attitudes towards the corruption and the expectations with respect to future levels of corruption.

To read the report on Trinidad and Tobago, click here.

 

Governance Indicators DataGob (Inter-American Development Bank)
See>>

DataGob allows access to 800 governance indicators from more than 30 different sources located all over the world. It provides information on the methodology used for the formation of each indicator, its level of reliability, validity and the potential to make comparisons among countries in the long term. Its database allows users to interactively seek consultations, even for those that are country specific. The country data section includes the type of democratic system and rule of law, which measures, among other indicators, perceptions on corruption within different institutions of government.

Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI)
See>>

Transparency International is an international organization that seeks to decrease as well as educate on the impact of corruption on the delivery of public goods and services. Transparency International has established a number of chapters throughout the world. Trinidad and Tobago chapter was created in 1998 and its mission is to work towards a country and region that are free of corruption.

This organization participated in the first, second and third round of the follow –up mechanism of the implementation of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption (MESISIC).

Reports Civil Society

1st Round of Analysis
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2nd Round of Analysis
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3rd Round of Analysis
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Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago
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Date Published
1976

Description
Chapter 6 creates the Ombudsman which serves to monitor and investigate—under section 93—any complains regarding corruption of the public service or any department or office of the public service. He is obligated to investigate conditions which may facilitate corruption, yet not the specific charges of corruption against individuals.

Trinidad and Tobago transparency and integrity structure is based upon the Act No. 83, 2000 or Integrity in Public Life Act and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Applicability
National

 

The Exchequer and Audit Ordinance
See>>

Date Published
1959

Description
This Act creates the Office of the Auditor General of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago that is in charge of supervising all the transactions and fund in which state patrimony is involve. With the aim of better managing public finance in Trinidad and Tobago, this act obligates transparent disclosure of public money, public accounts and public property.

Applicability
All public officials

 

The Prevention of Corruption Act (No. 11)
See>>

Date Published
1987

Description
The Prevention of Corruption Act of 1987 provides definitions of corrupt practices and entitles judicial and police authorities to investigate and prosecute public servants and local authorities as well as the legislative and executive sector guilty of such offences.

Applicability
National

 

The Integrity in Public Life Act (No. 83)
See>>

Date Published
2000

Description
In 2000, the Integrity in Public Life Act replaced the Prevention of Corruption (1987) and extended the number of individuals oblige to file annual declaration of income and assess. The Integrity Act created the Integrity Commission and established a code of conduct enforceable for all public officials. The Constitution refers to the Integrity Commission, body in charge of the monitoring and investigation of corrupt practices (Chapter 10). By regulating behaviors of persons in public functions, this Act tries to promote integrity in public institutions.

Applicability
National

 

Act No. 11 (Establishment of the Financial Intelligence Unit)
See>>

Date Published
9 October 2009

Description
This Act creates the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), institution in charge of implementing policies to combat anti-money laundering and terrorist financing.

Applicability
Financial institution or business listed in the First Schedule to the Act

Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago
See>>

Date Published
1976

Description
In the Chapter I, section 4 on Recognition and Declaration of Rights and Freedoms, it mentions individual freedom of thought and expression.  

Applicability
National

 

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
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Date Published
3 September 1999

Description
This act came into force in 2001 and created the right of every person to access information about or in the possession of public authorities. Sections 7, 8 and 9 require that information about the structure and operations of public authorities, their policies, rules and practices, and the documents in their possession, be published. Part III, the Act creates a right of access, with some exemptions, to official documents in possession of public authorities. Sections 13 to 18 of the Act detail the procedure that the person must follow when requesting information to public authorities.

The Act contains some exceptions to limit the access information. Section 33 contains a set of exemptions that must be based on the necessity to protect essential public interests and the private and business affairs of persons in respect of whom information is collected and held by public authorities. Sections 29 to 32 contain also except documents to access documents affecting legal proceedings or subject to legal professional privilege, documents affecting personal privacy, documents relating to trade secrets and those documents that contains confidence material.

When the request to access information is denied, according to Section 38A and 39, the person has the right to be advised of reasons for the refusals and also has the right to challenge such decisions by complaining to the Ombudsman or through application for judicial review.

Section 36 of the Act also grants citizens the right to request corrections to personal information held by a public authority. It also includes the obligation of public authorities to preserve and custody documents related to its functions.

Section 40 of the Act requires the Minister of Government after the end of each year, prepare a report on the operation of this Act during that year and cause a copy of the report to be laid before each House of Parliament

Applicability
National

 

Civil Society in charge of implementing the right to access to public information

Freedominfo.org
See>>

It is a web portal that receives and systemizes information regarding the access to public information, providing best practices, lessons learned, campaign strategies and tactics, as well as crucial information on freedom of information laws and how they were drafted and implemented, including how various provisions have worked in practice.

In this way, this portal serves as a reference point where general public can access to learn more about different countries’ experiences and exchange such information.