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Trinidad and Tobago

9. Corruption

Various pieces of legislation address corruption of public officials:

  • The Integrity in Public Life Act requires public officials to disclose assets upon taking office and at the end of tenure.
  • The Freedom of Information Act gives members of the public a general right (with specified exceptions) of access to official documents of public authorities. The intention of the act was to address the public’s concerns of corruption and to promote a system of open and good governance.  In compliance with the act, designated officers in each ministry and statutory authority process applications for information.
  • The Police Complaints Authority Act establishes a mechanism for complaints against police officers in relation to, among other things, police misconduct and police corruption.
  • The Prevention of Corruption Act provides for certain offences and punishment of corruption in public office.

The laws are non-discriminatory in their infrequent application.  Effectiveness of these measures has been limited by a lack of thorough enforcement.

The laws do not extend to family members of officials or to political parties.

TT does not have laws or regulations to counter conflicts of interest in awarding contracts or government procurement.

The government has been a party to the development of corporate governance standards (non-binding) to encourage private companies to establish internal codes of conduct that, among other things, prohibit bribery of public officials.

Some private companies, particularly the larger ones, use internal controls and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials, though this is not a government requirement.

Trinidad and Tobago adheres to the UN Anticorruption Convention.

There are no protections for NGOs involved in investigating corruption, but investigations are not feared since corrupt actors are rarely punished.

U.S. firms often say corruption is an obstacle to FDI, particularly in government procurement, since TT’s procurement processes are not transparent.

Resources to Report Corruption

Name: Mr. Justice Melville Baird
Title: Chairman
Organization: The Integrity Commission
Address: P.O. Box 1253, Port of Spain
The Integrity Commission of Trinidad and Tobago Level 14,
Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, 1A Wrightson Road, Port of Spain
Telephone number: 868-623-8305
Email address: registrar@integritycommission.org.tt

Name: Mr. Dion Abdool
Title: Chairman
Organization: Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (local chapter of Transparency International)
Address: Unit 4-12, Building 7, Fernandes Industrial Centre, Laventille
Telephone number: 868-626-5756
Email address: admin@transparency.org.tt

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The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future