Learn more about specific causes in Trinidad and Tobago that you can get involved in.
EnvironmentAs a small island nation, Trinidad and Tobago does not have high greenhouse gas emissions, but the effects of climate change are very apparent. Despite its low contribution to the exacerbation of climate change, Trinidad and Tobago has been very active in the international community in addressing environmental changes. The island has very recently drafted a National Climate Change Policy aimed at addressing possible damage, coastline erosion, and increased salinization of groundwater.1 Other issues on the islands include industrial wastes and raw sewage, oil pollution on beaches, and deforestation.2
FamilyMany experts suggest that the rising divorce rate is crippling the family unit in the island and is a major catalyst for the societal breakdown and subsequent rise in crime that is happening. The Minister of Gender, Youth, and Child Development has stated that there would be significantly less crime if there was more societal emphasis on rebuilding familial structures, rather than just going straight to divorce. There are many single parent families headed by women, and significant numbers of children are growing up without a father figure. Studies on the island have suggested that children who grow up without a father are more likely to fall into crime, delinquency, promiscuity, teen pregnancy, substance abuse, and dropping out of school.1
PovertyEven though some citizens in Trinidad and Tobago have cell phones, TVs, and cars, over 300,000 people live on $985 a month or less. The unemployment rate on the island was recently recorded at 3.8% of the population.1
ReligionTrinidad and Tobago is a very religiously diverse state—21.6% of citizens are Roman Catholic, 26.2% are Protestant, 1.5% are Jehovah’s Witnesses, 18.2% are Hindus, and 5% Muslims. There are Spiritual Baptists sprinkled throughout the country, a Christian denomination that has kept some aspects of the African roots and religious tendencies. The vast majority of Trinidad is Christian, but there is a small Muslim community. On the island of Tobago where the population is primarily from African descent, the most frequently practiced religion is Christianity. Trinidad’s constitution allows religious freedom, which is well respected among the citizens.1
Clean WaterAround 95% of the population has access to clean water and 92% has access to sanitation services.1 This was not always the case—in 2012 a “black poisonous liquid run-off” from a Guanapo landfill was found to have been polluting the water for more than 30 years. The Water and Sewerage Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (WASA) has been working ever since to clean up the water for not just the citizens, but also the many tourists that visit each year. 2
EconomyTrinidad and Tobago has one of the highest GDP’s in the Caribbean.1 However, the low energy prices and declining natural gas reserves caused Trinidad and Tobago’s government to start contracting in 2015. Oil production on the islands has also started to decline over the last decade because the country started to focus more on natural gas. As a result, the prime minister has faced many economic policy challenges including a decrease in bond ratings because of an ineffective fiscal consolidation strategy.2
GovernmentTrinidad and Tobago is a parliamentary republic with both a prime minister and a president.1 Because of the islands’ closeness to other major drug trafficking countries, money laundering is a major concern. There is also a large black market for certain smuggled goods like diesel fuels and firearms. Even though the banking system is one of the most efficient in the area, financial crimes including use of fraudulent checks, illegal wire transfers, and money laundering are common. Public casinos and online gaming are illegal in Trinidad and Tobago, but people still use “private members clubs” that generally move significant amounts of cash for money laundering purposes. The Trinidad and Tobago government is involved in the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force that focuses on stopping Read More money laundering and crime in the area. 2 Show Less
HealthA rising health trend in the country is the high rate of childhood obesity. The childhood obesity rate has become a matter of public health concern, since obesity in childhood can lead to the development of Type 2 diabetes, liver disease, cardiovascular disease, and other health complications later in life. Within the Caribbean and Latin America region, the highest mortality rate due to cancer was found in Trinidad and Tobago. The leading types of cancer are prostate, lung, and stomach cancers. Overall, the cancer mortality rate has been found to be higher in men rather than women.1 Another major concern is the mosquitoes in Trinidad and Tobago that carry dengue and chikungunya fever. Authorities have also said that there is a risk of the Read More Zika virus as well.2 Show Less
ChildrenChildren in Trinidad and Tobago face many struggles on a day to day basis. Sex trafficking, poverty, child marriage, child labor, and violence in the home and on the street are just some of the major concerns for children on these islands 1 Roughly 8% of girls in Trinidad and Tobago are married before they turn 18 years old. 2 The government has passed the Domestic Violence Act which provides protection for children that are growing up in violent homes. 1
AnimalsTrinidad and Tobago have many different types of animals—more than any of the other Caribbean islands. It is quite common to see many kinds of butterflies and birds flying around the islands, 130 different species of birds to be exact. There are also 15 different varieties of hummingbirds in Trinidad and Tobago.1
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