Home AFRICAN STORY Trinidad And Tobago: A Cultural Tapestry Of Diversity And Economic Influence

Trinidad And Tobago: A Cultural Tapestry Of Diversity And Economic Influence

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In the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago, officially the Republic, is the southernmost island nation. Indigenous communities from South America initially inhabited both Trinidad and Tobago. Trinidad had 17,718 people under Spanish and British rule with limited settlement and slow growth. As of June 2021, the population is 1,367,558.

On August 31, 1962, Trinidad and Tobago achieved independence from the United Kingdom. Despite this, Elizabeth II remained head of state until the adoption of the Republican Constitution in 1976. Trinidad and Tobago now operates as a republic with President Christine Kangaloo, succeeding the governor-general in 1976. The head of government is Prime Minister Keith Rowley.

Its annual Carnival festivities widely recognize the island. Moreover, it actively celebrates festivals rooted in diverse religions and cultures practiced on the islands. Hindu festivals include Diwali, Phagwah, Nauratri, and more. Christian holidays cover Spiritual Baptist Day, Lent, Easter, and others. Furthermore, national holidays such as Independence Day, Republic Day, and Labour Day are also joyously celebrated.

Trinidad and Tobago nurtures strong ties with neighboring Caribbean nations and significant North American and European trade allies. Trinidad and Tobago, a leading nation in the Anglophone Caribbean, plays a key role in CARICOM, advocating for economic integration. Bilateral relations with Nigeria started in 1973, sharing a heritage since gaining independence in the early 1960s and being Commonwealth members. Recent joint initiatives aim to boost collaboration, especially in trade and law.

Nigeria and Trinidad and Tobago have bilateral relations, each with a high commission in the other’s capital—Trinidad and Tobago in Abuja, and Nigeria in Port of Spain. The Port of Spain high commission holds accreditations to Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, and Suriname, while the Abuja high commission concurrently holds accreditations to several African countries. Abubakar Danlami Ibrahim is the current high commissioner in Port of Spain, and Wendell De Landro serves as the high commissioner in Abuja.

Trinidad and Tobago relies less on tourism, with most activities in Tobago. The government aims to boost the sector. The economy heavily depends on oil and gas, constituting 40% of GDP and 80% of exports, though only 5% of employment. Recent growth stems from investments in LNG, petrochemicals, and steel, with plans for more projects in petrochemicals, aluminum, and plastics.

Trinidad and Tobago’s rich cultural diversity stems from Indian, African, Creole, European, Chinese, Indigenous, Latino-Hispanic, and Arab influences due to historical migrations. Culinary culture showcases a mix of Indian, African, and colonial traditions. The limbo dance, rooted in Africa, gained popularity in the 1950s. Notably, Trinidad and Tobago is the smallest country with two Miss Universe titleholders: Janelle Commissiong in 1977 and Wendy Fitzwilliam in 1998, the first black woman to win. Additionally, the country boasts one Miss World titleholder, Giselle LaRonde, who achieved victory in 1986.




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