Trinidad and Tobago Sustainability Issues

The critical environmental and sustainability issues of Trinidad and Tobago:

  1. Education 

The education system faces several dilemmas. Due to political pressure schools were built hurriedly but with the requirements for quality education left behind, and further behind as time passes. A critical fact today is that, after all, whatever the educational inequity within the present generation, the next generation will face aggravated inequity.

 

  1. Economy

According to the IMF, Trinidad and Tobago’s grew 0.3% in 2018 and is expected to grow 0.9% and 1.6% in 2019 and 2020, respectively. COFACE calculated 1% growth for the country in 2018. This weak economic performance derived from the collapse of energy prices, resulted in job losses and had negative effects on tax revenues. Large-scale energy projects in the last quarter of 2017 and the progressive rise in oil prices helped mitigate gas shortages, but domestic demand is expected to remain weak.                                                                                             

The IMF calculated 2018 gross debt at 42.7%, with 42.9% and 43.1% forecasted for 2019 and 2020, respectively. The inflation rate also closed at 2.3% in 2018 and is projected at 3.1% and 3% in the following years. Public debt reached 62.5% of GDP in 2018 and will likely rise to 63.5% in 2019 (COFACE). 

 

  1. Crime 

There is a serious risk from crime in the Port of Spain. The government of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) faces numerous challenges in its effort to reduce crime, including an overburdened legal system, bureaucratic resistance to change, unemployment in marginal areas, disenfranchised youth, the negative influence of gangs, drugs, weapons, and an economic recession. T&T Police Service (TTPS) 2018 crime statistics show a 2.5% increase in overall serious criminal activity compared to 2017. Violent crime remains a major concern for local security services and the general population. According to TTPS statistics, there were 517 murders nationwide in 2018, after 495 in 2017, 462 in 2016, 420 in 2015, and 403 in 2014, in a population of approximately 1.4 million people. The 2018 numbers represent an increase of 4.4%.

 

  1. Corruption 

Although Trinidad and Tobago’s corruption levels did not increase from 2017-2018, the bad news is that nothing has changed, according to Transparency International. Transparency International’s 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) lists Trinidad and Tobago with a score of 41, while the country dropped in its overall rankings from 77 in 2017 to 78 in 2018.                    

There are laws in place that provide criminal penalties for corruption by officials, but the government has not implemented these laws effectively, and officials sometimes engage in corrupt practices. Some ministers used their positions for personal gain, police officers also participated in corrupt and illegal activities; due to which Trinidad and Tobago’s judicial system is widely perceived as corrupt.