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Trinidad & Tobago

In law
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In practice
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In Trinidad and Tobago, political finance is, for the most part, unregulated. No direct or indirect public funding is provided, and few restrictions on contributions exist. Campaign spending is limited for candidates, but parties are not addressed in the law. In fact, parties are not the subject of any legislation whatsoever, despite their prominent presence in the Trinidadian political scene. Reporting requirements mandate only that candidates submit annual reports. In practice, these reports tend to include some itemized information. Submitted reports are eventually republished in newspapers, but no political finance data is made available online. Third parties play a role in elections, but in law, their independent political activities are not regulated. The Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago (EBC) is in charge of monitoring political finance. The EBC does not have audit or investigatory powers. In practice, it also lacks the staff capacity and expertise to substantively monitor political finance, and it neither carries out investigations nor imposes sanctions. Despite several recent efforts to reform how campaigns are financed in Trinidad & Tobago, the regulatory system and its enforcement remain weak.

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    Direct and Indirect Public Funding

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      Direct Public Funding
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        NO
        In law, there is direct public funding for electoral campaigns.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Indeed, there are many challenges to overcome regarding public funding. For example, defining the term political party in law. The Representation of the People Act only mentions two actors that can participate in campaigns: candidates and election agents. This lack of definition poses a challenge in registering political parties and implementing such provisions as direct state funding of campaigns.

        Article 2(1) defines, “candidate” in relation to an election, means a person who at that election is elected to serve in the House of Representatives, a Municipal Council, or the Tobago House of Assembly or a person who is nominated as a candidate at the election or is declared by himself or others to be a candidate on or after the day of the issue of the writ for an election, or after the dissolution or vacancy in consequence of which the writ was issued;

        The election agent is referred to throughout the law, but never defined.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where there is direct public funding for both political parties and individual candidates to campaign. A 100 also applies where only one of the two actors can be elected and, therefore, only one is entitled to direct public funding.

        A MODERATE score is earned where per law only one of the two actors (either political parties or individual candidates) is allocated direct public funding to campaign, even though both can be elected.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000) http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/Laws2/Alphabetical_List/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        NO
        In law, there is a transparent and equitable mechanism to determine direct public funding for electoral campaigns.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) direct public funding for political parties and individual candidates' electoral campaigns is allocated through a clearly defined calculation mechanism that is transparent and equitable, and 2) there are clearly defined eligibility criteria.

        A MODERATE score is earned where direct public funding for political party and individual candidates' electoral campaigns is allocated through a clearly defined calculation mechanism that is transparent and equitable, but eligibility criteria are not clearly defined.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000) http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/Laws2/Alphabetical_List/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        50
        In practice, to what extent is the mechanism to determine direct public funding for electoral campaigns transparent, equitable and consistently applied?More about indicator

        Not applicable. There are no laws with such provisions in Trindad and Tobago. This was confirmed by Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Political Scientist who stated, "there is no such law".

        While this is the case, similar questions have appeared in discussions surrounding campaign finance and political party regulation in Trinidad and Tobago. Over the period 2013-2014, the Chairman of the Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Dr. Norbert Masson, in a presentation at the Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Annual Conference titled the Corruption Package, argued that while, "116 out of 177 countries surveyed, in Political Finance Regulation and Funding around the world published by IDEA, did include laws related to direct or indirect funding of political parties. There were important questions that needed to be addressed [ by Trinidad and Tobago] namely: 1. Which political parties should be eligible to receive funds? 2. How should the available funds be allocated between eligible parties? 3. Are some or all of the funds earmarked for a particular purpose or purposes?"

        In raising these questions, Dr. Masson indicated that the biggest challenge to such reforms is the registration of political parties. At present, there is no lawful manner in which to do so in Trinidad and Tobago. Such reforms are widely supported in Trinidad and Tobago. Referring to a confidential meeting with major political parties in late 2013, Dr. Masson stated that, "unanimously the political parties demonstrated conceptual support for the introduction of legislation governing the registration of political parties and the public funding for political parties although it was noted that the details of the latter would require extensive work."

        The local private sector through the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce in an article titled, "Campaign Financing Reform and the Role of Political Debates" questioned "why the Government has not acted on its' manifesto's [2010 General Elections] promise of the reform." Additionally, the Chamber offered its support for these reforms as a mechanism to curb grand corruption in the country.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) electoral campaigns allocations are always defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism, and 2) the defined eligibility criteria are applied consistently.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) electoral campaign allocations are usually defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism but exceptions exist, or 2) the eligibility criteria are usually applied but exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) political campaign allocations are rarely or never defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism, or 2) the defined eligibility criteria are rarely applied.

        Sources

        Chairman's [Electoral and Boundaries Commission] Presentation at the Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI) Conference, Dr. Norbert Masson, Conference Presentation- 14th March, 2014, http://www.transparency.org.tt/Speeches2014/Nobert_Masson.pdf

        Campaign Financing Reform and the Role of Political Debates, Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce, [undated], http://chamber.org.tt/articles/campaign-financing-reform-and-the-role-of-political-debates/

        Interview: Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Political Scientist and Head of the Department of Political Science, University of the West Indies, conducted on 15th August, 2014.

        Secondary Source: Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000) http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/Laws2/Alphabetical_List/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        50
        In practice, to what extent does the entity in charge of public funding make disbursement information publicly available?More about indicator

        Not applicable. No law pertaining to the direct funding of political campaigns exists. Consideration has been given to public funding of political campaigns but only to the extent that the Electoral and Boundaries Commissions has made statements on this (See question 3). In these discussions, no opinions have been expressed related to whether such funding information will be made publicly available and how this will be done. This also was the perspective shared by Dr. Ragoonath- Political Scientist.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) complete information on the disbursements is published less than a month after disbursement, and 2) the information is available on the Internet for free or in hard copy at photocopying cost.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the information published is incomplete or published more than two months after disbursement, or 2) obtaining the information costs more than photocopying.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) disbursement information is published more than four months after disbursement, or 2) no disbursement information is published or released upon request.

        Sources

        Interview: Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Political Scientist and Head of the Department of Political Science, University of the West Indies, conducted on 15th August, 2014.

        Secondary Source: Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000) http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/Laws2/Alphabetical_List/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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      Indirect Public Funding
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        5
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        NO
        In law, use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates is prohibited.More about indicator

        No law exists which prohibits the use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candiates.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where there is an explicit ban on the use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates. A YES is also earned where there are clearly defined exceptions, which are accessible to all actors equally.

        A MODERATE score is earned where an explicit ban exists but it only applies to one of the two actors, even though both can be elected. A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        A NO score is also earned where the law exists, but allows discretionary exceptions.

        Sources

        Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000) http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/Laws2/Alphabetical_List/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        In practice, to what extent are no state resources used in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates' electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        There is documented evidence of the use of state resources for campaign purposes by the incumbent government to its advantage. For example, Ragoonath refered to a case in the 2010 General Election where the incumbent government, the People National Movement, utilised stated owned buses to transport supporters and paid the discounted bill months after they lost the elections. Ramcharan also indicated that in the General, Local, Regional and By- Elections in the past four years, there have been allegations of the use of the state food card programme for electoral purposes--the TT card is a conditional cash transfer programme for the needy.

        Masson, also refered to the use of state funds for public transport "2.) unauthorised use of State resources such as transport facilities and equipment in the conduct of political campaigns."

        In his column, Rambharat refered to other instances of state resourses being used, stating "there are other abuses and in some cases breaches of the law in the way the State media is commandeered and put to use during campaigns, with the incumbent using political control to manipulate the schedules, picking and choosing the access of opposing parties, and using other means to control the flow of information, discussion, and dialogue."


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. While there are no prohibitions with respect to the use of state resources for political parties, a number of allegations have been made with respect to the Public Transport Corporation's use of vehicles for the transport of political supporters and the use of the media for advertisements by the political party in power. However, these allegations were all investigated by the Integrity Commission of Trinidad and Tobago during the period 2010 to 2013, which concluded that there was no evidence to support these allegations.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there is no evidence of authorities using state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates. A 100 is also earned where there are clearly defined exceptions and are equally accessible to all actors.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) documented evidence indicates occasional use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates, or 2) clearly defined exceptions are not equally accessible to all actors.

        A 0 score is earned where documented evidence indicates regular use of state resources in favor of or against certain political parties and individual candidates.

        Sources

        Interview: Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Political Scientist and Head of the Department of Political Science, University of the West Indies, conducted on 15th August, 2014.

        Interview: Ronald Ramcharan, Treasurer, Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute, conducted on 28th August, 2014.

        EBC Chief: Big Threat from Campaign $$, Asha Javeed, Trinidad Express News Paper, 14th March, 2014 http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/EBC-chief-Big-threat-from-campaign----250415281.html

        Dark Winding Campaign Trails, Clarance Rambharat (Columnist), Trinidad Express News Paper, 14th October, 2013 http://www.trinidadexpress.com/commentaries/Dark-winding-campaign-trails-227749071.html?m=y&smobile=y

        Reviewer's sources: "26th Annual Report to Parliament," The Integrity Commission, 2013. http://www.integritycommission.org.tt/documents/2013AnnualReport-IntegrityCommissionofTrinidadandTobago.pdf

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        NO
        In law, political parties and individual candidates have free or subsidized access to equitable air time for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to air time for electoral campaigns is granted in a transparent, equitable way, and 2) there are clearly defined eligibility criteria.

        A MODERATE score is earned where free or subsidized access to air time for electoral campaigns is granted in a transparent, equitable way, but eligibility criteria are not clearly defined.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000) http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/Laws2/Alphabetical_List/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        50
        In practice, to what extent is free or subsidized access to air time provided in a transparent, equitable way to political parties and individual candidates for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        Not applicable. There is no law which gives free or subsidized airtime to political parties and/or candidates. However, Article 21 of the Telecommunications Act provides guidelines for the granting of concessions of air time in State media. The Concessions Agreement of 2007 further details this process, stating that the relevant public media outlet must provide up to 14 hours of free air time each calendar week for the broadcast of government materials and programmes (Article D30).

        While there may not be a law for free or subsidized airtime, Ramcharan states that the political party in power tends to increase the number of government related ads during the election campaign period to promote its performance.

        Additionally, Ragoonath notes that state owned media also increases its coverage of Government activities during an election period which favours the incumbent political party. However, both Ramcharan and Ragoonath concur that political parties usually have to pay for airtime.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. While no such law exists, the governing parties, both past and present, have used both the print as well as the broadcasting media to advertise their policy successes.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to media advertising is always provided in a transparent and equitable way, and 2) the defined eligibility criteria are applied consistently.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to media advertising is usually provided in a transparent and equitable way, but exceptions exist, or 2) the eligibility criteria are not always applied.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) there's rarely free or subsidized access to air time for political campaign, and 2) access exists but is not provided in a transparent, equitable way.

        Sources

        Interview: Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Political Scientist and Head of the Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of the West Indies St. Augustine Campus conducted on 15th August, 2014.

        Interview: Ronald Ramcharan, Treasurer, Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute, conducted on 28th August, 2014.

        Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000), http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

        Telecommunications Act 2001 Article 21 https://tatt.org.tt/Portals/0/documents/Telecommunications%20Act.pdf

        CONCESSION FOR THE OPERATION OF A PUBLIC TELECOMMUNICATIONS NETWORK AND/OR PROVISION OF PUBLIC TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND/OR BROADCASTING SERVICES 2007 Article D30 https://tatt.org.tt/Portals/0/Generic%20Concession%20Document.pdf

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    Contribution and Expenditure Restrictions

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      General Rules on Electoral Campaign Contributions
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        NO
        In law, cash contributions are banned.More about indicator

        No law bans cash contributions.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where cash contributions are banned and all financial contributions must be made via the banking system.

        A MODERATE score is earned where cash contributions are allowed up to a maximum limit, regardless of the limit.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        No such law exists.

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        MODERATE
        In law, there is a ban on anonymous contributions.More about indicator

        Anonymous contributions to candidates are banned. Article 52 [3] of the ROPA states that, (3) The return shall also contain with respect to that candidate— (a) a statement of the amount of personal expenses, if any, paid by the candidate; (b) a statement of all disputed claims of which the election agent is aware; (c) a statement of all the unpaid claims, if any, of which the election agent is aware, in respect of which application has been or is about to be made to the High Court; (d) a statement of all money, securities and equivalent of money received by the election agent from the candidate or any other person for the purposes of election expenses incurred or to be incurred, with a statement of the name of every person from whom they may have been received.

        The law does not prohibit anonymous contributions to parties.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where the law stipulates that anonymous contributions are banned.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the ban exists, but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where small anonymous donations are allowed up to a maximum threshold equal to or less than the equivalent to US$300.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000), Article 52 (3) http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        MODERATE
        In law, in-kind donations to political parties and individual candidates must be reported.More about indicator

        The law does not directly refer to in-kind contributions but uses the term “equivalent of money received” as stated in ROPA S.53[4], “(4) Where the candidate is his own election agent, a statement of all money, securities and equivalent of money paid by the candidate shall be substituted in the return as to election expenses for the statement of money, securities and equivalent of money received by the election agent from the candidate.

        No such requirements exist for parties, as parties are not defined or mentioned in legislation in Trinidad and Tobago.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. There is no existing law with respect to in-kind donations to political parties. However, as the researcher explains, the Representation of the People's Act places limits on in-kind donations to political candidates.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where all in-kind donations must be reported to the oversight authority.

        A MODERATE score is also earned if the requirement to report such information exists, but applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Representation of the People Ac 1967 (last amended in 2000), Article 53(4) http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/Laws2/Alphabetical_List/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        MODERATE
        In law, loans to political parties and individual candidates must be reported.More about indicator

        Candidates must report loans.

        Article 45 of the ROPA states, " (1) Except as permitted by Article 46 or in pursuance of Article 49 or 50, no payment and no advance or deposit shall be made by a candidate or by any agent on behalf of the candidate or by any other person at any time in respect of election expenses otherwise than by or through the election agent of the candidate. (2) Every payment made by an election agent in respect of any election expenses shall, except where less than one hundred dollars, be vouched for by a bill stating the particulars and by a receipt. (3) All money provided by any person other than the candidate for any election expenses, whether as a gift, loan, advance or deposit, shall be paid to the candidate or his election agent and not otherwise.

        No such requirements exist for parties, as parties are not defined or mentioned in legislation in Trinidad and Tobago.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where all loans must be reported to the oversight authority.

        A MODERATE score is earned where loans must be reported, but the requirement applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000), Article 45 (1) http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/Laws2/Alphabetical_List/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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      Limits on Contributions and Expenditures during Electoral Campaign Periods
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        13
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        NO
        In law, contributions from individuals are limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) individuals may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law.

        A MODERATE score is earned where a maximum amount exists, but it applies only to contributions for one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where individuals are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000), Article 48(1) http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/Laws2/Alphabetical_List/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        NO
        In law, contributions from corporations are limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) corporations may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law.

        A MODERATE score is earned where a maximum amount or ban exists, but it applies only to contributions for one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where corporations are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000), Article 48(1) http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/Laws2/Alphabetical_List/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        15
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        NO
        In law, contributions from foreign sources are banned.More about indicator

        No such law exists

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where it is forbidden for political parties and individual candidates to receive contributions (financial or in-kind) from foreign sources.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the ban exists but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates), or 2) contributions from foreign sources are allowed to a maximum amount.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000), http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        NO
        In law, contributions from third-party actors (unions, foundations, think tanks, political action committees, etc.) are limited to a maximum amount or banned.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) third-party actors may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law, or 2) are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the maximum amount or ban exists only for the majority of third-party actors, but not all, or 2) the maximum amount or ban exists, but applies only to contributions for either political parties or individual candidates.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Representation of the People 1967 (last amended in 2000), Articles 48(1) and 45(3) http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/Laws2/Alphabetical_List/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        MODERATE
        In law, election campaign spending by political parties and individual candidates is limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        The ROPA sets forth maximum spending limits for both candidates and their election agents.

        In the case where a candidate is not the agent, the law states that , “46. (1) The candidate at an election may pay any personal expenses incurred by him on account of or in connection with or incidental to the election; but the amount which a candidate may pay shall not exceed five thousand dollars, and any further personal expenses so incurred by him shall be paid by his election agent.”

        And the maximum that can be spent in an election campaign as stated in 48. (1): "No sum shall be paid and no expenses shall be incurred by a candidate at an election or by his election agent whether before, during or after an election on account of or in respect of the conduct or management of an election in excess of the amount of fifty thousand dollars in the case of a Parliamentary election or twenty-five thousand dollars in the case of a Municipal Council or the Tobago House of Assembly election. (2) The above maximum amount shall not be required tocover the candidate’s personal expenses."

        No such limit exists for parties, as parties are not defined or acknowledged in the law.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where it is forbidden for political parties and individual candidates to spend more than a certain amount in a political campaign.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the maximum amount exists, but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000), Articles 46(1) and 48(1) http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/Laws2/Alphabetical_List/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        Open Question: Do the national laws regulating political finance also apply to sub-national units? If not, to what extent do sub-national units have laws regulating political finance?More about indicator

        The Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000), Article 48(1) provides for the regulation of campaign spending limits for candidates and election agents in both National and Regional (Subnational) elections. No separate laws for subnational elections exist.

        However, there have been comments by the Chairman of the EBC to Amend the ROPA, since he's stated that, "it is blatantly obvious that enormous expenditure is incurred in media advertisements alone, financed by whomsoever unknown, in support of participants' candidature, there is more than a taint of strong corruption..."

        Ragoonath goes further by stating that there is no such regulation beyond the above stated Article 48(1) and this presents a major gap in regulating political finance; this gap, however, is a result of poor legislation, and is not due to any bifurcation in the law between national and subnational elections.

        The focus then of the EBC tends to be more on election management rather than regulating political finance since according to Ramcharan, candidate rarely are able to spend the full amount of $50,000 or $25,000 since most of the expenses are paid for by the political party and other contributions.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - The ROPA applies to both general as well as local government elections.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe the applicability of national political finance regulations at the sub-national level, being sure to answer: 1) whether national laws are applicable to sub-national campaigns; 2) if not, to what extent do sub-national units have similar laws regulating political finance; and 3) whether there are any reports of problems arising from gaps in this framework.

        Sources

        Interview: Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Political Scientist and Head of the Department of Political Science, University of the West Indies, conducted on 15th August, 2014.

        Interview: Ronald Ramcharan, Treasurer, Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute, conducted on 28th August, 2014.

        EBC Chairman: Big Threat from Campaign $$, Asha Javeed, Trinidad Express, 14th March 2014 http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/EBC-chief-Big-threat-from-campaign----250415281.html

        Secondary source: Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000), Article 41 http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        Open Question: What are the predominant sources of funding for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        The most important sources of funding for electoral campaigns in Trinidad and Tobago are donations from privately owned businesses and wealthy individuals. Ramcharan states that in more recent times, funding for campaigns came from companies who may be eligible for government contracts after the elections. This leads to contractors being predetermined, based on their contributions, for work on public contracts distributed by the new government. He also states that privately owned "big businesses" also fund campaigns in the hope of reaping benefits after elections. Indeed, the predominace of funding, according to Ramcharan, comes from businesses and companies seeking political patronage in the form of government contracts.

        Ryan in his article titled "Ish, Steve and Jack: Financing Elections and Party", refers to the sources of political finance in the Caribbean and in particular Trinidad and Tobago, stating that funding often comes from "big contractors, narco-traffickers and money launderers who are buying protection, or strategically placed elites who expect to be paid back ....Dirty money significantly distorts our electoral processes, calling into question their transparency and legitimacy of our democratic systems".

        Senator Helen Drayton, an Independent Senator, echoes this view, stating in an interview that, "when some campaign donors give money to political parties, it is seen as an investment, buying access to decision making".

        Ramcharan also noted that political parties sometimes hold fund raisers. For example, the People National Movement in the past conducted a number of raffle competitions where each ticket cost $100TTD (USD33) and the prize was a BMW car. Another source of funding for political parties is the diaspora. Both the PNM and United National Congress (UNC)the two largest political parties have been known to have participated in foreign fund raisers for their political parties. Candidates sometimes fund themselves. Independent candidates in particular are prone towards using their personal finances in campaigns.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - It should be noted that many of the political parties source funding from their diasporas abroad, for instance both major political parties (the United National Congress and the People's National Movement) have party groups in the United States of America, Canada and England, who raise funds for repatriation to the parties in Trinidad and Tobago.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe the important sources of funding for electoral campaigns, being sure to answer: 1) where does the preponderance of funding come from - public, individual, corporate, or other; 2) to what extent do individual candidates self-finance; and 3) do political parties have other methods of generating campaign funds, such as owning their own businesses or trusts.

        Sources

        Interview: Ronald Ramcharan, Treasurer, Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute, conducted 28th August, 2014..

        $300m spent on 6 elections, Yvonne Baboolal, Guardian Newspapers, 27 th November, 2013 http://www4.guardian.co.tt/news/2013-11-27/300m-spent-6-elections

        Ish, Steve and Jack: financing elections and party, Selwyn Ryan, Trinidad Express, 25th May, 2014 http://www.trinidadexpress.com/commentaries/Ish-Steve-and-Jack--financing-elections-and-party-208973301.html?m=y&smobile=y&gallery=y&img=0

        Reviewer's sources: Michelle Loubon:" PNM TO TARGET DIASPORA." Trinidad Express. July 20, 2014. http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/PNM-to-target-diaspora-267818471.html

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        20
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        Open Question: Have there been documented instances of violations of contribution or expenditure limits or any of the laws mentioned above (Section 2)?More about indicator

        There have been no documented cases of violations of contribution or spending limits during the study period, or during the 2010 elections. Spending limits are only defined for candidates and their election agents, while no contribution limits exist in law.

        Indeed, there is a major gap in the existing law which facilitates limitless spending by political parties. Masson refers to this stating,"The reality that political parties through whom monies can be channelled are not also required to submit financial statements to a supervising authority just as candidates are required to do, discloses a major loophole in the law." In such an instance, most candidates do not incur significant expenses for campaigns since this is done through and by political parties who are in no breach of the law in the absence of regulations to curb them.

        Ramcharan stated that candidates tend to spend within their limits. However, Masson argues that the EBC, the authority responsible for reviewing and auditing candidate financial reports, lacks the capacity to do so. Consequently, political finance in Trinidad and Tobago is not only a largely unregulated environment, it is also one in which existing regulations cannot be enforced.

        Ragoonath also supports this view, and states that there have been no reported cases of violations in large part due to the absence of party funding laws.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please list and describe all documented instances of: 1) violation of contribution limits, 2) violation of expenditure limits, and 3) financial contributions that circumvent the regulatory framework. The objective of this question is to learn more about the local context, so please explain the cases in as much detail as relevant.

        Sources

        Interview: Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Political Scientist and Head of the Department of Political Science, University of the West Indies, conducted on 15th August, 2014.

        Interview: Ronald Ramcharan, Treasurer, Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI), conducted on 28th August, 2014.

        Chairman’s Presentation, Dr. Norbert Masson, Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission presented at Transparency's Annual Anti-Corruption Conference, 14th March, 2014 http://www.transparency.org.tt/Speeches2014/Nobert_Masson.pdf

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    Reporting and Public Disclosure

    More about category
    composite
    40
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      Reporting Requirements to the Oversight Entity
      More about category
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        21
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, political parties and individual candidates report itemized contributions and expenditures both during and outside electoral campaign periods.More about indicator

        In law, only candidates and/or their election agents must report their financial information to the Chief Election Officer at Elections and Boundaries Commission--they are required to submit one report after the conclusion of electoral campaigns. No mention is made of political parties. No annual reports are required.

        Article 52(1) of the ROPA states: "Within forty-two days after the day on which the result of the election is declared, the election agent of every candidate at the election shall transmit to the Chief Election Officer a true return in the form set out as Form No. 4 in the Prescribed Forms Rules containing, as respects that candidate, a statement of all payments made by the election agent together with all the bills and receipts."

        Form No. 4 mandates that candidates disclose the names, addresses, and occupation of each donor, in addition to the amount received. It also requires that expenditures be reported, but itemization is not required. This reporting requirement only applies for receipts and expenditures with the campaign period.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates are required to report itemized contributions and expenditures to the oversight authority, both during and outside electoral campaign periods.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the requirement applies for itemized contributions, but not for itemized expenditures, or 2) it applies only during the electoral campaign but not outside it. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement exists, but it only applies to one actor (whether political parties and individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Representative of the People Act 1967, Article 52 http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/Laws2/Alphabetical_List/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        22
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, political parties and individual candidates are required to report their financial information on a monthly basis during the electoral campaign.More about indicator

        Only candidates are required to report financial information to the ECB. They do so only for the election period, and file their returns within 42 days of the election result. No such requirement exists for parties.

        Article 52(1) of the ROPA states: "Within forty-two days after the day on which the result of the election is declared, the election agent of every candidate at the election shall transmit to the Chief Election Officer a true return in the form set out as Form No. 4 in the Prescribed Forms Rules containing, as respects that candidate, a statement of all payments made by the election agent together with all the bills and receipts."

        Section 61(1) of the Constitution states, "69. (1) A general election of members of the House of Representatives shall be held at such time within three months after every dissolution of Parliament as the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, shall appoint." In sum, candidates must submit one report per three month campaign period, which is equivalent to a quarterly report.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - However it should also be noted that all persons in public life are required in law to fill out a declaration form and submit to the Integrity Commission with respect to funding and earnings for each year that they hold public office.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates must report monthly their financial information to the oversight authority during the electoral campaign.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the requirement exists on a quarterly basis. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement only applies to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000), Article 52 http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/Laws2/Alphabetical_List/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

        The Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago 1976 Article 61 (1) http://www.ttparliament.org/documents/1048.pdf

        Reviewer's sources: Integrity in Public Life Act, 2000 (last amended in 2010), Article 11 http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/22.01.pdf

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        23
        Score
        NO
        In law, political parties and individual candidates are required to report their financial information on a quarterly basis outside of electoral campaign periods.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates must report quarterly their financial information to the oversight authority outside of electoral campaign periods.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the requirement exists on a yearly basis. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement only applies to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000), http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/Laws2/Alphabetical_List/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        24
        Score
        50
        In practice, to what extent do political parties and individual candidates report itemized financial information monthly?More about indicator

        According to Ragoonath and Ramcharan--candidates are required only to submit post election reports (equivalent to a quarterly reporting frequency). According to Narcis, candidates usually report to the EBC as required, and reports are itemized. Canddiates report on their financial activities after the campaign within the period stipulated by law.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) political parties and individual candidates report on their financial information monthly, and 2) the reports include both itemized contributions and itemized expenditures.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the reports are occasionally general rather than itemized or don't contain all accounts, or 2) the reporting frequency is quarterly.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) political parties and individual candidates rarely or never file reports, 2) the reports are filed but are rarely or never itemized or refer only to either contributions or expenditures, or 3) the reporting frequency is less than quarterly.

        Sources

        Interview: Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Political Scientist and Head of the Department of Political Science, University of the West Indies, conducted on 15th August, 2014.

        Interview: Ronald Ramcharan, Treasurer, Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI), conducted on 28th August, 2014.

        Interview: Mrs. Fern Narcis, Senior Legal Officer of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

        Secondary source: Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000) http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        25
        Score
        75
        In practice, to what extent do financial reports by political parties and individual candidates include all types of contributions?More about indicator

        Candidates are required to include the names, addresses, and occupation of donors in their post election reports submitted to the EBC. However, the law does not address reporting for political parties. This was confirmed by the EBC Chairman and Senior Legal Officer as well as by Ramcharan and Ragoonath. This information is also captured in the declaration form which every candidate is required to submit to the EBC after the election period for election receipts and expenditure. According to sources, candidates generally, but not always, meet the necessary reporting requirements, and submit both the names and addresses of contributors in an itemized fashion.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) reports include an itemized list of all contributions indicating their type (in-kind, cash where allowed, etc.) and amount (estimated value for in-kind contributions), and 2) contain donors' names and addresses (or other personal identifier).

        A 50 score is earned where only one of the two conditions listed in the 100 criteria is met.

        A 0 score is earned where neither condition is met.

        Sources

        Interview: Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Political Scientist and Head of the Department of Political Science, University of the West Indies, conducted on 15th August, 2014.

        Interview: Ronald Ramcharan, Treasurer, Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI), conducted on 28th August, 2014.

        Interview: Dr. Norbert Masson, Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

        Interview: Mrs. Fern Narcis, Senior Legal Officer of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

        Secondary source: Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000) http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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      Availability of Electoral Campaigns' Financial Information to the Public
      More about category
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        26
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, financial information from political parties and individual candidates must be available to the public.More about indicator

        The law requires the Chief Election Officer to publish the financial returns of candidates within 10 days of receiving them.

        As stated in Article 58 of ROPA: “The Chief Election Officer shall, within ten days after he receives from the election agent of a candidate a return as to election expenses, publish a summary of the return in at least one newspaper, accompanied by a notice stating the date on which the return and declaration were received by him and that the return and declaration (including the accompanying documents) can be inspected at the office of the Chief Election Officer."


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - Note that this does not apply to political parties.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where in law financial information of political parties and individual candidates must be made available to the public, whether online or digitally within two days of request.

        A MODERATE score is earned where financial information must be made available to the public, but no requirement exists regarding cost, format or number of days within which it must be made available.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000), Article 58 http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/Laws2/Alphabetical_List/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        25
        In practice, to what extent can citizens easily access the financial information of all political parties and individual candidates?More about indicator

        The candidate post-election reports published by the EBC are not available online, but they are published in the daily papers within 10 days of receipt by the Chief Elections Officer. Members of the public can also visit the EBC to inspect the reports of candidates. No information on political parties is included in these reports. Ramcharan and Ragoonath note that such data is unavailable to the public due to no regulations related to party funding. Ramcharan emphasized that candidate expenditure is reported but this account for a small fraction of election expenditure. No information is available digitally or in a machine-readable format.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) all relevant financial information is freely available online, 2) it can be obtained digitally within two days of requesting it, and 3) it is in a machine readable format (for example in csv or xml format).

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) information is available but in some cases is incomplete or lacking detail, 2) obtaining complete information takes up to a month, or 3) it's not necessarily digital or in machine readable format.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the information is not publicly available, or 2) obtaining it takes more than three months, or 3) the cost of obtaining it is prohibitive for the regular citizen.

        Sources

        Interview: Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Political Scientist and Head of the Department of Political Science, University of the West Indies, conducted on 15th August, 2014.

        Interview: Ronald Ramcharan, Treasurer, Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI), conducted on 28th August, 2014.

        Interview: Dr. Norbert Masson, Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

        Summary of Return of Elections Expenses, Elections and Boundaries Commission, 2013. https://www.dropbox.com/s/o9pobiz7hxghena/summary%20of%20election%20return%20expenses%20ebctt.pdf?dl=0

        Secondary source: Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000), http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        28
        Score
        50
        In practice, to what extent is financial information published in a standardized format?More about indicator

        The law requires only that the information of candidates be made available to the public. The financial information of parties is unavailable, as parties are not regulated by law. Candidates must report according to Form No. 5 (see sources), but the EBC publishes only summaries of candidate financial information. These summaries are standardized in that only aggregate receipts, expenditure and the date on which the return was filed are made accessible to the public, as shown by the summary report on election expenses published after the local government elections of 2013.

        Dr Masson and Narcis both independently confirmed this practice.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where financial information for all political parties and individual candidates is available to the public in a standardized format.

        A 50 score is earned where only part of the information is published in a standardized format. A 50 score is also earned where the information is standardized, but it doesn't cover all political parties and individual candidates.

        A 0 score is earned where financial information is not available in a standardized format.

        Sources

        Interview: Dr. Norbert Masson, Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

        Interview: Mrs. Fern Narcis, Senior Legal Officer of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

        Summary of Return of Elections Expenses, Elections and Boundaries Commission, 2013. https://www.dropbox.com/s/o9pobiz7hxghena/summary%20of%20election%20return%20expenses%20ebctt.pdf?dl=0

        Standardized Form No. 5 template, Declaration of Spending by Candidate or Election Agent, Elections and Boundaries Commission. https://www.dropbox.com/s/2hbovzj1zg3s28e/candidate%20%20declaration%20form%20ebc.pdf?dl=0

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        29
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        0
        In practice, to what extent do mainstream journalism media outlets use political finance data in their reporting?More about indicator

        No media outlet has used the officially published financial information as a part of its reporting. This is the case since candidates never spend spend above their limits and the official spending data which is required by law to be published in at least one daily news paper covers only the grossly limited figure, which doesn't accord with the amounts actually spent in campaigns, according to Ramcharan and Ragoonath.

        On the other hand, Ragoonath states that journalists are only able to speculate on the true costs of election campaigns since no official data is published by political parties and they are not regulated by law.

        Both Masson and Narcs agree that the expenditure by political parties is far greater than what candidates file as their returns. As such, official candidate expenditures are of little interest to journalists when compared to the parties' expenditure (which are not officially published).

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where at least three independent mainstream journalism media outlets have used officially published political party or individual candidate financial information as part of their reporting.

        A 50 score is earned where one independent mainstream journalism media outlet has used officially published financial information as part of its reporting.

        A 0 score is earned where no mainstream journalism media outlet has used officially published financial information as part of its reporting.

        Sources

        Interview: Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Political Scientist and Head of the Department of Political Science, University of the West Indies, conducted on 15th August, 2014.

        Interview: Ronald Ramcharan, Treasurer, Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI), conducted on 28th August, 2014.

        Interview: Dr. Norbert Masson, Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

        Interview: Mrs. Fern Narcis, Senior Legal Officer of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

        Secondary source: Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000) http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        30
        Score
        100
        In practice, to what extent were there no news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws?More about indicator

        There have been no documented cases of campaign finance violations during the study period or during the 2010 elections. All persons interviewed concurred with this.

        The reason for this lack of violation is the absence of robust campaign financing laws regulating political parties. Therefore, candidates play by the existing rules, while parties spend unreservedly.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there were no news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        A 50 score is earned where there were news reports or other documented incidents of no more than two cases of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        A 0 score is earned where there were frequent news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        Sources

        Interview: Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Political Scientist and Head of the Department of Political Science, University of the West Indies, conducted on 15th August, 2014.

        Interview: Ronald Ramcharan, Treasurer, Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI), conducted on 28th August, 2014.

        Interview: Dr. Norbert Masson, Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

        Interview: Mrs. Fern Narcis, Senior Legal Officer of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

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        Score
        25
        In practice, to what extent were there no news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying?More about indicator

        Allegations of vote-buying are quite frequent both during and after all levels of elections in Trinidad and Tobago. In two recent by-elections, journalist Khara Persad documented instances of vote-buying. The first was in the incumbent government's heartland constituency in which Jack Warner, the elected Member of Parliament (MP) for that area, resigned as a member of the incumbent majority party (the United National Congress) over allegations of corruption. After stepping down as MP for that constituency, he decided to run as an independent candidate within his newly formed political party. Persad reported that the Attorney General alleged that "some voters were being provided with phone cards and advised to take a picture of their ballot while in the voting booth with an “X” for the Independent Liberal Party (ILP), and then present that photo immediately afterward, in order to receive some kind of reward."

        In the same story, the EBC Chairman, Dr. Norbert Masson was quoted stating that, "“The EBC is treating with these concerns by bringing this matter to the attention of the police. The Elections and Boundaries Commission is not a police station." However the onus rested on the police to investigate such claims.

        Both Ragoonath and Ramcharan referred to instances of using cash and the conditional cash transfer programme to buy votes. Persad in her November article quoted residents of another constituency, ( that was also holding a by-election) St. Joseph: "“$500 a vote! All them fellas on the hill in Caiman. They just start calling them. Everybody going and vote, and when they vote they going back there to get their money. We seeing it! We seeing it!”

        In addition to the cash given, residents reported being given cell phones and the "food card"- a card from the conditional cash transfer programme: "“They had a walkabout, and we tell them, ‘We under pressure, what you go do for we?’” Harry said. “They didn’t give we no money. All they give we is a temporary (food) card.”

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there were no news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        A 50 score is earned where there were news reports or other documented incidents of no more than two cases of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        A 0 score is earned where there were frequent news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        Sources

        Interview: Ronald Ramcharan, Treasurer, Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI), conducted on 28th August, 2014.

        Chairman’s Presentation, Dr. Norbert Masson, Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission presented at Transparency's Annual Anti-Corruption Conference, 14th March, 2014 http://www.transparency.org.tt/Speeches2014/Nobert_Masson.pdf

        Interview: Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Political Scientist and Head of the Department of Political Science, University of the West Indies, conducted on 15th August, 2014.

        Khara Persad, "Charges of’ buying votes’ in todays polls," Guardian News Paper, 21st October, 2013 http://m.guardian.co.tt/news/2013-10-20/charges-%E2%80%98buying-votes%E2%80%99-today%E2%80%99s-polls

        Khara Persad, "Bribes for votes says residents," Guardian News Paper, 5th November, 2013 http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2013-11-04/bribes-votes-say-residents

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        0
        In practice, to what extent do civil society organizations use political finance data?More about indicator

        Because party finances are not made public and candidate information is of extremely limited use, no civil society organizations in Trinidad used officially published financial information in their work. Ramcharan notes that the figures and sums which civil society organisations use tend to originate from secondary sources such as the media. Ragoonath also notes that even the figures produced by the media are based indirect estimates given on radio airtime or television airtime and the estimated cost for political events and equipment. However, information originating from political parties cannot be accessed.

        As a result, while civil society organisations to a very limited sense may use such estimates as an advocacy tool for political party finance laws, no official information is used.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where at least three civil society organizations have used officially published political party or individual candidate financial information as part of their advocacy or awareness work.

        A 50 score is earned where one civil society organization has used officially published financial information as part of its advocacy or awareness work.

        A 0 score is earned where no civil society organization has used officially published financial information as part of its work.

        Sources

        Interview: Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Political Scientist and Head of the Department of Political Science, University of the West Indies, conducted on 15th August, 2014.

        Interview: Ronald Ramcharan, Treasurer, Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI), conducted on 28th August, 2014.

        "Support Grows for Campaign Fincing Reform," Guardian News Paper, 6th August, 2013. http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2013-08-05/support-grows-campaign-finance-reform

        Secondary source: Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000), http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        33
        Score
        --
        Open Question: Have there been political finance legal reforms or reform bills presented to the legislature in the last 10 years?More about indicator

        There have been four major debates in Parliament over the past decade on campaign reforms, while the EBC has also expressed its preference to have the existing law reviewed and amended. Narcis explained that in 2010 the EBC completed a strategic plan after much consultation but the new strategy is yet to be approved by the Cabinet. Included in the strategic plan are new staff arrangements and competencies, as well as a plan for reviewing and amending the current Representation of the People Act.

        In 2006, Ganga Singh, the Member for Parliament for Caroni East, was inspired by the recent draft constitutional reform document along with a publication of the Organisation of American States in which Professor Selwyn Ryan referred to the poor legislative framework governing campaign finance in Trinidad. Singh made a private motion for the House of Representatives to "appoint a special committee to make recommendations as to what principles and systems of financing of political parties would be appropriate". A number of recommendations were made as captured below (cited in the Hansard) but this committee was never established: "1. Mandatory public registration of all financial contributions to parties above TT $500—TT $1,000 within one week of receipt. 2. No receipts to be legally permitted within the two final weeks of an election campaign. 3. Significant contributors of more than TT $2,500–TT $5,000 should be excluded from receiving any state-related contract and/or serving in any ministerial or other position that has the power to award contracts. 4. Only local citizens residing abroad should make contributions, but with the same disclosure requirements for nationally-based citizens. 5. The State should provide party financing. 6. To avoid abuse, such party funds should be audited independently. 7. The number of votes the party amassed in the previous election should influence the size of state funds.”

        In 2009 again another motion was filed, this time in the Senate by Independent Senator Ramesh Deosaran, for Parliament to appoint a Joint Select Committee to consider legislation for public financing of election campaigns. This filing was a result of the CL Financial crash which negatively affected the Trinidadian economy. CL Financial was the largest privately held conglomerate in the country at the time, and a number of senior persons in the company held important political positions and financed both the United National Congress (UNC) and the People’s National Movement (PNM) as cited in the 2009 Handsard. However a couple months after the filing, in May 2010, general elections were called, and no action was taken.

        In November , 2013 yet another motion was filed by Senator Drayton. She stated, "Be it resolved that Parliament appoint a Joint Select Committee to propose a legislative framework to govern the financing of election campaigns and to submit its report with recommendations to both Houses of Parliament within six months of its appointment." Her motion came as a result of massive election spending during election time (especially in 2013) where there were four elections namely, the Tobago House of Assembly election, the Changuanas West by-election (contested and won by Jack Warner), the Local Government elections and the St. Joseph by-election.

        A common thread which runs through all three motions was their proximity to the next general elections. In 2006, the next general elections were held in November, 2007 while after the motion in 2009 the next general election, while constitutionally due 2012, was called in May, 2010. The 2013 motion which continued into 2014 leading to the establishment of a Joint Select Committee to consider reform, again a year before the constitutionally due general elections in September, 2015. Indeed, a Joint Select Committee again has been formed in 2014 for the same purpose.

        According to Ragoonath, in all of the cases such proposals were not made by the incumbent government even though the present administration included reforms in its election manifesto.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - Note that these were the individual views of the Member of Parliament in 2006 a Bill was not proposed so as a result the issue was never debated. The issue re-emerged in 2010 and 2013 and moved to a joint select committee. In both cases, it was again not a motion that came to the House of Reprsentatives by way of a Bill.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please list and describe all documented instances of: 1) political finance reforms, including bills passed, executive orders signed, court rulings and any other legal act that had a direct effect on existent political finance regulation, and 2) all legal reform attempts presented to the legislature even if they were not approved. Please describe the political context that produced the reforms or reform attempts.

        Sources

        Interview: Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Political Scientist and Head of the Department of Political Science, University of the West Indies, conducted on 15th August, 2014.

        Interview: Ronald Ramcharan, Treasurer, Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI), conducted on 28th August, 2014.

        The Hansard, Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, 25th February, 2014. http://www.ttparliament.org/hansards/hs20140225.pdf

        The Hansard, Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, 27th October, 2006. http://www.ttparliament.org/hansards/hh20061027.pdf

        The Hansard, Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, 10th March , 2009 http://www.ttparliament.org/hansards/hs20090310.pdf

        Secondary source: Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000) http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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    Third Party Actors

    More about category
    composite
    0
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      Applicability of the Law to Third-Party Actors
      More about category
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        34
        Score
        NO
        In law, third-party actors (foundations, think tanks, unions, political action committees, etc.) report itemized contributions received and expenditures to an oversight authority and the information is made publicly available.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) third-party actors are required to report to the oversight authority itemized contributions received and expenditures related to their support of electoral campaigns, and 2) the information must be publicly available.

        A MODERATE score is earned where third-party actors are required to report itemized contributions received and expenditures related to their support of electoral campaigns, but the information is not required to be publicly available. A MODERATE score is also earned where regulations exist, but only apply to electoral campaigns of one actor (whether political party or individual candidate).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000), http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        35
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent do third-party actors (foundations, think tanks, unions, political action committees, etc.) report itemized contributions received and expenditures to an oversight authority?More about indicator

        Third parties are not required to report this information to the EBC, confirmed Narcis. Masson added that this is not done for the same reason pointed out by Narcis. This was also confirmed by Ragoonath and Ramcharan.

        Narcis also added that in the EBC's consultations with political parties in March 2014, this issue was raised and parties agreed to work towards a political finance framework. A Joint Select Committee was formed on the 26th August, 2014 to consider legislation on Election Campaign Financing.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where all third-party actors report to an oversight authority both itemized contributions received and itemized expenditures.

        A 50 score is earned where third-party actors report to an oversight authority either itemized contributions received or expenditures, but not both. A 50 score is also earned where the reports refer only to one type of third-party actor, but do not cover others.

        A 0 score is earned where third-party actors rarely or never report itemized contributions received or expenditures.

        Sources

        Interview: Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Political Scientist and Head of the Department of Political Science, University of the West Indies, conducted on 15th August, 2014.

        Interview: Ronald Ramcharan, Treasurer, Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI), conducted on 28th August, 2014.

        Interview: Dr. Norbert Masson, Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

        Interview: Mrs. Fern Narcis, Senior Legal Officer of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

        Joint Select Committee- Election Campaign Financing, The Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, 2014. http://www.ttparliament.org/committee_business.php?mid=19&id=208&sid=70

        Secondary source: Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000) http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        0
        In practice, to what extent can journalists and citizens easily access the financial information of third party actors, including the political spending of those actors in support of political parties and individual candidates?More about indicator

        Neither members of the public nor journalists can publicly access the financial information on the contributions of political parties.

        Ragoonath states that whatever information is access is informal data based on interactions with members of political parties. Masson states that the generally there is no knowledge of such information in the public domain. Narcis also confirmed that such information is not publicly available.

        Ramcharan, notes that it is also difficult for citizens and journalists to have a true figure of the expenditure of third parties and states that some political funding may, according to widespread speculation, originate in company coffers. This position was also mentioned by Masson, but there is no official evidence.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) all relevant financial information is freely available online or in hard copy at the cost of photocopying, 2) it can be obtained within two days of requesting it, and 3) it is in a machine readable format (for example in csv or xml format).

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) information is available but in some cases is incomplete or lacking detail, 2) obtaining complete information takes up to a month, or 3) it's not necessarily in machine readable format.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the information is not publicly available, or 2) obtaining it takes more than three months, or 3) the cost of obtaining it is prohibitive for the regular citizen.

        Sources

        Interview: Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Political Scientist and Head of the Department of Political Science, University of the West Indies, conducted on 15th August, 2014.

        Interview: Ronald Ramcharan, Treasurer, Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI), conducted on 28th August, 2014.

        Interview: Dr. Norbert Masson, Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

        Interview: Mrs. Fern Narcis, Senior Legal Officer of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

        Secondary source: Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000) http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        Open Question: Please describe how third party-actors (even if they are not regulated by your country's laws) obtain contributions and spend in support of political parties and/or individual candidates.More about indicator

        There are a number of third party groups within Trinidad and Tobago, including local trade union associations such as the Federation of Independent Trade Unions and Non-Governmental Organisations (FITUN), along with other trade unions like the National Union of Government and Federated Workers, in addition to civil society actors like the Highway Re-Route Movement. All of these organizations seek to get the attention of government. However, as stated by Ragoonath and Ramcharan, it is very unclear to what extent, if any, they assist in funding political parties.

        Trade Unions are important to campaigns since they represent a substantial bloc of voters while pressure groups and civil society organisations are able to mobilize the local community. But there is no evidence as to whether these organisations fund political parties, a viewpoint that was also echoed by Narcis.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - There are a number of third parties who are alleged to be party financiers. These include various chambers of commerce, religious organizations, NGOs, business men, the Syrian and other ethnic communities. However, these organizations do not publicly or otherwise reveal their political interests or political funding. What emerges however, is that after the elections the members of these communities may be placed on state boards or committees or they may be awarded large contracts.

        Scoring Criteria

        To answer this question please: 1) list the types of third-party actors that exist in your country and describe how they work to influence campaigns, 2) explain how important such actors are or not in the context of campaigns, including whether their expenditures are substantial in relation to that of political parties and individual candidates, and 3) if documented evidence indicates they circumvent laws intended to regulate political finance, please explain how and include references to the evidence.

        Sources

        Interview: Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Political Scientist and Head of the Department of Political Science, University of the West Indies, conducted on 15th August, 2014.

        Interview: Ronald Ramcharan, Treasurer, Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI), conducted on 28th August, 2014.

        Interview: Mrs. Fern Narcis, Senior Legal Officer of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

        Secondary source: Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000) http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

        Reviewer's sources: Joel Julien, "NGOs pushing politics, says the AG," Trinidad Express, April 2, 2014. http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/NGOs-pushing--politics-says-AG-253673431.html

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    Monitoring and Enforcement

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      Monitoring Capabilities
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        MODERATE
        In law, political finance information is monitored by an independent oversight authority.More about indicator

        Article 71(1) of the Constitution states that "there shall be an Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago". While the Constitution ensures that the EBC shall be established, its duties, powers and functions functions are captured in the Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000), stating that, "the Commission shall exercise general direction and supervision over the administrative conduct of elections and enforce on the part of all Election Officers fairness, impartiality and compliance with this Act. And that, (2) There shall be a Chief Election Officer who shall, subject to any general or special directions of the Commission, perform such functions and duties and exercise such powers of the Commission in such manner as the Commission may from time to time direct, including any of the following duties: (a) to make such arrangements and do such things as are necessary for the initiation and maintenance of the unit and central registers in accordance with this Act, and for that purpose to make arrangements for the preparation and issue of the necessary forms and instruments and for the collection and keeping of such records as may be necessary; (b) to issue to Election Officers such instruction as he may, from time to time, deem necessary to ensure the effective execution of the provisions of this Act; and (c) to execute and perform all other powers and duties that by this Act or by the Commission are conferred or imposed on him.

        While candidates and agents are required to submit returns to the EBC, suggesting that the Commission has the mandate to monitor political finance, no powers of audit and investigatory are defined in the law.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. In law, the EBC has no auditing powers.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) an independent oversight authority is mandated to monitor political finance information, and 2) the authority has investigation and audit powers.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the independent oversight authority is mandated to monitor political finance information, but doesn't have investigation or audit powers.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago 1976 Article 71 (1) http://www.ttparliament.org/documents/1048.pdf

        Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000), Article 3 (1,2), 52 http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        MODERATE
        In law, high-level appointments to the oversight authority are based on merit.More about indicator

        The members of the Elections and Boundaries Commission, the sole oversight authority, are appointed based on section 71 of Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago which states that the process for appointing the Commissioners of the EBC shall be as follows:

        “71. (1) There shall be an Elections and Boundaries Commission for Trinidad and Tobago (in this Part referred to as “the Commission”). (2) The members of the Commission shall be a Chairman and not less than two nor more than four other members. (3) The Chairman and other members of the Commission shall be appointed by the President, after consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. (4) A person shall not be qualified to hold office as a member of the Commission who is a Minister, a Parliamentary Secretary, a member of the House of Representatives, a Senator, a temporary member of the Senate, or a public officer.”

        It does not specifically state any special qualifications members of the Commission should have and possess. The law does not specify any other vetting process to ensure that the appointees to the EBC do not have conflicts of interest prior to taking office. This is not exceptional in Westminster/Whitehall systems of government.

        It should be noted that the Chief Election Officer (CEO) and other staff members are public officers who are hired by the Public Service Commission, a politically independent Commission for recruiting public officials. According to the Public Service Regulations, the appointment of the CEO and other members of the EBC Department should be based on merit as well as seniority. The regulations, however, are prescriptive, and are worded in such a way that public, competitive appointment processes are not guaranteed. The regulations state: "14. Whenever it is in the opinion of the Commission it is possible to do so and it is in the best interest of the particular service within the public service, appointments shall be made from within the particular service by competition, subject to any Regulations limiting the number of appointments that may be made to any specified office in the particular service. 15. Where the Commission considers either that there is no suitable candidate already in the particular service available for the filling of any vacancy or that having regard to qualifications, experience, and merit, it would be advantageious and in the best interest of the particular service that the services of a person not already in that service be secured, the Commission may authorise the advertisement of such vacancy."

        In sum, the law suggests that appointments are based on merit in a process that is mostly accessible to the public, but there are no firm, comprehensive prohibitions against conflicts of interest.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. While the Chairman and members of the Board of the EBC are selected by the President, as stated in the prescribed legislation, the administrative arm of the EBC is composed of public servants appointed by the Service Commissions Department. There are no prescriptions with respect to conflicts of interest.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) high-level appointments must be based on merit in a public appointment process; and 2) appointees must be free of conflicts of interest due to personal loyalties, family connections, political party affiliations, business partners or other biases.

        A MODERATE score is earned where high-level appointments must be based on merit in a public appointment process, but the regulations don't forbid appointments involving conflicts of interest or other biases.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, 1976 Article 71 (1-3) http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/Laws2/Constitution.pdf

        Public Service Regulations of Trinidad and Tobago, 2006. http://www.mpa.gov.tt/diamond/sites/default/files/Public%20Service%20Commission%20Regulations_0.pdf

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        50
        In practice, to what extent are high-level appointments to the oversight authority based on merit?More about indicator

        The process for appointing Commissioners is done by the President after consulting the Prime Minister and the Leader of Opposition. However, the constitution does not specify what qualifications Commissioners should possess. This of course raises the question of merit. Ragoonath observed that none of the Commissioners have a background in Political Science. The present Chairman for example is a qualified Engineer.

        Ramcharan also expresses a similar position as Ragoonath whether appointments are in fact based on merit.

        The recruitment and selection of the staff of the EBC is conducted by the Public Service Commission which is free from political interference, stated both Masson and Narcis. The process of appointment of Commissioners is not a public process. However, the recruitment of high-level staff in the EBC Department is advertised publicly. There are no documented accounts of conflicts of interest either of Commissioners or the staff of the EBC.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) there is an advertised competition and public vetting process, 2) candidates with the most merit and without conflicts of interest or other biases are appointed.

        A 50 score is earned where the public competition is usually advertised and the vetting process public, but exceptions exist. A 50 score is also earned where candidates with the most merit and without conflicts of interest or other biases are appointed but exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where there's rarely or never a public competition, or appointees are rarely selected on merit or without conflicts of interest or other biases.

        Sources

        Interview: Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Political Scientist and Head of the Department of Political Science, University of the West Indies, conducted on 15th August, 2014.

        Interview: Dr. Norbert Masson, Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

        Interview: Mrs. Fern Narcis, Senior Legal Officer of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

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        YES
        In law, the independence of high-level appointees is guaranteed.More about indicator

        Article 71 (8-10 and 12) of the Constitution speaks to the independence of the Commission in that it "may regulate its own procedures"(subArticle 8), be provided with adequate staff to carry out and discharge its functions (subArticle 9), salaries for staff to come out of the Consolidated Fund, and are not subject to the direction or control of any person (subArticle 12).

        However, the Constitution is not clear on the removal of Commissioners, stating only in 71(5) that, a member of the Commission shall vacate his office— (a) at the expiration of five years from the date of his appointment, but is eligible for reappointment; or (b) where any circumstances arise that, if he were not a member of the Commission, would cause him to be disqualified for appointment as such.

        Section 25 of the ROPA speaks to the authority of appointees to the EBC to review cases and make decisions. Further, the staff are recruited and appointed by the Public Service Commission, which is enshrined in the Constitution as an Indepenedent body which secures tenure for its employees and the PSC also is responsible for the termination of and discipline of public officers. As such, appointees have the authority to review cases and issue decisions, there is some measure of security of tenure, and the PSC oversees disciplinary procedures.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) appointees have the authority or mandate to review cases and issue decisions, 2) the law establishes security of tenure, and 3) removal or disciplinary actions are based on due process conducted by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A MODERATE score is earned where appointees have the authority or mandate to review cases and issue decisions, BUT one of the second two conditions mentioned in the YES criteria is not met.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago 1976 Article 71 (5,8,9,10,12) http://www.ttparliament.org/documents/1048.pdf

        Public Service Regulations of Trinidad and Tobago, 2006. http://www.mpa.gov.tt/diamond/sites/default/files/Public%20Service%20Commission%20Regulations_0.pdf

        Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000), Section 25 http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        75
        In practice, to what extent is the independence of high-level appointees guaranteed?More about indicator

        "The staff of the Commission are assured tenure as public officers recruited by the central Public Service Commission. Additionally, Commissioners are not subject to political influence during their term of office," states Narcis. As the Chair of the EBC, Masson indicated that the Commission aims to maintain the strictest sense of integrity. Both Masson and Narcis indicated that in order to maintain this level of neutrality, they both do not vote at elections, but this is not prohibited by law .

        While the independence of EBC appointees is guaranteed, there have been question about the limits of this independence. For example, the Commission is subject to the Public Service Commission for staff, stated Masson in the interview. He went on to say that the EBC has very little control of its staff due to this arrangement and the competencies of the staff recruited are not at the level that the EBC requires to perform optimally.

        Masson is also quoted in commenting on the fact that the EBC's budget is controlled by the Government, ""The budget of the EBC is subject to the dictates of the Public Service,” Masson argued in his written submission. “Further, it is subject to the laws of delay that bedevil human resource recruitment through the Public Service machinery. As is being proposed for the Parliament, it is recommended that the department of the EBC be de-linked from the Public Service.” cited in the Newsday Editorial of 26th May, 2013.

        Bagoo also cited from the EBC's submission where Masson stated that, "“The Commission is of the view that the most realistic and practical way of reflecting and reinforcing its independence and impartiality is to have it directly accountable to Parliament, its contact with that body being through the chairman of, say, a standing committee of the House of Representatives.... In this way, the standing committee could, with oversight from, say, the Comptroller of Accounts and the Auditor General, set the Commission’s annual budget and review its development plans. Apart from its reports on boundaries and on elections which are submitted to the prime minister and others, the EBC should be required to submit annual reports on its performance to Parliament.”

        Commissioners are appointed and therefore are subject to the President's approval for re-election. However, the staff of the EBC Department enjoy security of tenure since they are governed by the Public Service Commision. There have been no documented cases of staff being disciplined or transferred without due process.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where all of the following conditions are met: 1) appointees review cases and issue decisions without fear or favor from other branches of government, and 2) appointees are granted security of tenure and 3) no appointees are removed, disciplined or transferred without due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A 50 score is earned where any of the following conditions apply: 1) appointees generally operate without fear or favor from other branches of government but exceptions exist, or 2) some but not all appointees are granted security of tenure, or 3) appointees are occasionally removed, disciplined or transferred without due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A 0 score is earned where at least one of the following conditions apply: 1) appointees operate with fear or favor from other branches of government, or 2) are not granted security of tenure, or 3) are usually removed, disciplined or transferred without observing due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        Sources

        Andre Bagoo, "EBC Chairman Calls for own Budget and Wider Powers," Trinidad and Tobago Newsday, 19th May, 2013 http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,177875.html

        "More Money for EBC, Editorial," Trinidad and Tobago Newsday, 26th May, 2013 http://www.newsday.co.tt/editorial/0,178250.html

        Interview: Dr. Norbert Masson, Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

        Interview: Mrs. Fern Narcis, Senior Legal Officer of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

        Secondary source: Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000) http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        Open Question: How does decision-making work in the oversight authority?More about indicator

        The Composition of the Commission is 5 members, including a Chairman. It is supported by staff, including the Chief Elections Officer, whose roles and functions are specified in the ROPA. The structure of the Commission is also set out in section 3 of the Act. Based on demands, such as an approaching election period or outside of an election period, the Commission may meet frequently or less frequently, stated Masson.

        The decision making process of the Commission is usually by consensus and considers matters before it as captured in the Act and the Constitution stated Narcis.

        The law does not provide for any particular formula for decision making on particular matter and as a result, the Chair uses his discretion based on the matter.

        Ragoonath is also not aware of any special decision making process for the Commission.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - The Chief Elections Officer carries out his legal obligations. According to ROPA, this means that he directs elections and carries out all duties connected to that.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe: 1) the composition of the decision-making body within the oversight authority, 2) the type of decisions it's allowed to make and makes in practice, and 3) in which cases majority is required. If there have been well substantiated complaints about the decision-making process being ineffective or politicized please explain.

        Sources

        Interview: Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Political Scientist and Head of the Department of Political Science, University of the West Indies, conducted on 15th August, 2014.

        Interview: Dr. Norbert Masson, Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

        Interview: Mrs. Fern Narcis, Senior Legal Officer of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

        Secondary source: Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000) http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

        Reviewer's sources: Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000), Chapter 2 http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        In practice, to what extent does the authority have sufficient capacity to monitor political finance regulations?More about indicator

        According to Dr Masson, the EBC Chairman, "the EBC’s Department does not have the expertise to either review and audit such statements or to investigate any violations."

        He further emphasized that the EBC was lacking general capacity. "Thus far I have drawn attention to deficiencies militating against transparency in the ROP as they relate to campaign expenditure and in this regard, to attributes very likely to strengthen current legislation, namely: i. Full disclosure both by political parties and candidates of the sources and flow of finance in the conduct of their administration and management of election campaigns; ii. Inclusion in the provisions relating to disclosure requirements of potent sanctions for either non-compliance or wilful submission of incorrect information; and iii. Auditing by appropriately-qualified independent professionals of all financial statements submitted by political parties and candidates and the publication of the findings of such audits and of any investigation associated therewith.

        Supporting the statements made by Masson, Ramcharan also stated that the EBC had no capacity to monitor and review political finance effectively, and that the staff had a limited understanding in the field especially in the absence of robust regulations.

        Ramcharan also noted that the comments from the EBC focused on 'what regulations should exist rather than what currently exist and how they can work within the present framework. Ragoonath also agreed that the EBC had no such capacity to monitor political finance.

        On the other hand, the EBC has been lauded for good performance in monitoring the election campaigns, efficiently producing election results, as stated in the Express Editorial, "At a time of much hand-wringing about the capacities and accomplishments of national institutions, the commission has risen to the challenge. Not only has the conduct of the elections proceeded without any major mishaps, but citizens have even commended the professionalism and politeness of the persons chosen to staff polling stations on election day. Moreover, the EBC has also taken in stride the organisation and management of the brand-new system of proportional representation, with aldermen posts to be announced soon."

        This demonstrated that the focus of the EBC is not in regulating political finance and monitoring the financial reports submitted by candidates but on election management.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) the authority has sufficient budget to monitor all incoming reports, and 2) it has sufficient staff to review all incoming reports.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the authority has insufficient budget to monitor all incoming reports, or 2) its staff can only review half of all incoming reports.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the authority can't fulfill most of its essential functions due to budget constraints, or 2) its staff only has the capacity to review 25% or less of all incoming reports.

        Sources

        Interview: Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Political Scientist and Head of the Department of Political Science, University of the West Indies, conducted on 15th August, 2014.

        Interview: Ronald Ramcharan, Treasurer, Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI), conducted on 28th August, 2014.

        Chairman’s Presentation, Dr. Norbert Masson, Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission presented at Transparency's Annual Anti-Corruption Conference, 14th March, 2014 http://www.transparency.org.tt/Speeches2014/Nobert_Masson.pdf

        "EBC rises to the Challenge, Express Editorial," Trinidad Express, 22nd October, 2013 http://www.trinidadexpress.com/commentaries/EBC-rises-to-the-challenge-228858351.html

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        In practice, to what extent does the authority conduct investigations or audits when necessary?More about indicator

        No investigations or audits were conducted over the period. This was confirmed by both Ragoonath and Ramcharan. Further, Masson stated that, "Unfortunately however, the EBC’s Department does not have the expertise to either review and audit such statements or to investigate any violations."

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where the authority conducted at least three investigations or audits during the most recent electoral campaign.

        A 50 score is earned where the authority conducted at least one investigation or audit during the most recent electoral campaign.

        A 0 score is earned where the authority didn't conduct any investigation or audit during the most recent electoral campaign.

        Sources

        Interview: Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Political Scientist and Head of the Department of Political Science, University of the West Indies, conducted on 15th August, 2014.

        Interview: Ronald Ramcharan, Treasurer, Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI), conducted on 28th August, 2014.

        Chairman’s Presentation, Dr. Norbert Masson, Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission presented at Transparency's Annual Anti-Corruption Conference, 14th March, 2014 http://www.transparency.org.tt/Speeches2014/Nobert_Masson.pdf

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        In practice, to what extent does the authority publish the results of investigations or audits?More about indicator

        The EBC never conducted any investigations or audits, stated Narcis and Masson. Ragoonath concurs that audits and investigations related to campaign finance have never been conducted.

        Narcis notes however, that candidates have never exceeded the spending limits. On most occasions, candidates or their agents produce reports that are just under the limits applied.

        Masson goes further to state that the EBC accepts the financial reports submitted, publishes a summary report in the daily news paper are required by law but does not have the capacity to review or audit statements submitted in election returns.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where the authority publishes reports of all its investigations or audits a month or less after their conclusion.

        A 50 score is earned where reports are available to the public more than a month after the conclusion of the investigation or audit.

        A 0 score is earned where reports are not available to the public or they become available after six months or more after conclusion of the investigation or audit. A 0 score is also earned where only summaries of the reports are publicly available.

        Sources

        Interview: Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Political Scientist and Head of the Department of Political Science, University of the West Indies, conducted on 15th August, 2014.

        Interview: Dr. Norbert Masson, Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

        Interview: Mrs. Fern Narcis, Senior Legal Officer of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

        Secondary source: Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000) http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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      Enforcement Capabilities
      More about category
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        47
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        YES
        In law, there are sanctions in response to political finance violations.More about indicator

        The law specifies both violations and sanctions to be applied. From ROPA:

        1. Where any person knowingly provides money for any payment which is contrary to this Act, or for any expenses incurred in excess of any maximum amount allowed by this Act, or for replacing any money expended in any such payment or expenses, except where the payment or the incurring of the expenses may have been previously allowed in pursuance of Article 149 to be an exception, that person is guilty of an illegal payment.
        2. A person who makes any payment, advance or deposit in contravention of Article 45(1) or (3) or provides any money for any such payment, advance or deposit is guilty of an illegal practice.
        3. (1) Subject to subArticles (2) and (3), if any person incurs, or aids, abets, counsels or procures any other person to incur, any expenses in contravention of Article 47 or knowingly makes a declaration required by Article 47(3) falsely, he is guilty of a corrupt practice, and if a person fails to send any declaration or return as required by Article 47, he is guilty of an illegal practice. (2) The Court by whom a person is convicted under this Article may, if it thinks it just in the special circumstances of the case, mitigate or entirely remit any incapacity imposed by virtue of Article 148(2). (3) A candidate shall not be liable and his election shall not be avoided for a corrupt or illegal practice under this Article committed by an agent without his consent or connivance. (4) Where an act of an association or body of persons, corporate or unincorporate, is an offence declared to be a corrupt or illegal practice by this Article, any person who at the time of the act was a director, general manager, secretary or other similar officer of the association or body, or was purporting to act in any such capacity, is deemed to be guilty of that offence, unless he proves that the act took place without his consent or connivance and that he exercised all such diligence to prevent the commission of the offence as he ought to have exercised having regard to the nature of his functions in that capacity and to all the circumstances.
        4. Any candidate or election agent who knowingly makes any payment or incurs any expense in contravention of Article 48 is guilty of an illegal practice.
        5. (1) Subject to subArticle (2), an election agent who pays a claim in contravention of Article 49(1) or makes a payment in contravention of Article 49(2) is guilty of an illegal practice. (2) Where the Court at the conclusion of the trial of a representation petition certifies that it has been proved to the Court by the candidate that any payment was made by an election agent without the sanction or connivance of the candidate, the election of the candidate shall not be void, nor shall he be subject to any incapacity under this Act by reason only of the payment having been made in contravention of Article 49.
        6. Subject to Article 56, if a candidate or election agent fails to comply with the requirements of Article 52 or Article 53, he is guilty of an illegal practice.
        7. If a candidate or election agent knowingly makes a declaration required by Article 53 falsely, he is guilty of a corrupt practice.

        Article 100, outlines the penalties for a corrupt practice as, 100. (1) Except as otherwise specifically provided, a person guilty of a corrupt practice other than personation is liable—(a) on summary conviction to a fine of fifteen thousand dollars and to imprisonment for six months; or (b) on conviction on indictment to a fine of thirty thousand dollars and to imprisonment for twelve months. (2) A person who commits the offence of personation or of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of the offence of personation is liable on conviction on indictment to a fine of thirty thousand dollars and to imprisonment for five years.

        While Article 148 refers to the sanction restricting the offender from participating in elections and voting for a specified period, 148. (1) Subject to Article 149, if a candidate who has been elected or his election agent is guilty of any corrupt or illegal practice his election is void. (2) Subject to Article 150, but in addition to any punishment as provided by Article 69, 71, 100 or 101— (a) a person convicted of a corrupt practice is incapable during a period of seven years from the date of his conviction— (i) of being registered as an elector or voting at any election; and (ii) of being elected a member of the House of Representatives or a Municipal Council or the Tobago House of Assembly, or if elected before the conviction, of retaining his seatas such member; (b) a person convicted of an illegal practice is incapable during a period of five years from the date of his conviction— (i) of being registered as an elector or voting at any election; and (ii) of being elected a member of the House of Representatives or a Municipal Council or the Tobago House of Assembly, or if elected before the conviction, of retaining his seat as such member.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) the law clearly defines violations of political finance laws, and 2) there are clearly defined sanctions for specific violations.

        A MODERATE score is earned where violations are clearly defined but sanctions for specific violations are not.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000), Articles 77-83, 100, and 148 http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        In law, the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions.More about indicator

        The Elections and Boundaries Commission has the power to impose sanctions such as stated in Article 148 of ROPA, banning candidates from voting and being registered as an elector and from being a candidate in all elections for offenses such as corrupt practice and illegal practice. The EBC is also empowered to refer matters to the High Court for breaches in the legislation that warrant criminal proseuction.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions, and 2) it can directly prosecute violators before the courts or is independent to send cases to public prosecution.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions, but it can't directly prosecute violators before the courts or is not independent to send cases to public prosecution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Representation of the People Act, 1967 (last amended in 2000), Articles 100 and 148 http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/2.01.pdf

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        In practice, to what extent do offenders comply with sanctions imposed?More about indicator

        Masson and Narcis stated that no sanctions have ever been imposed related to election finance. Masson states that much needs to be changed in the legislation but until such changes are made the EBC continues to follow the existing rules with very little capacity to enforce them.

        Ragoonath also agrees that sanctions related to election finance have never been imposed.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) offenders comply with the sanctions imposed without exception, and 2) they are not repeat offenders.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) offenders usually comply with the sanctions imposed but exceptions exist, or 2) most are not repeat offenders but some exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) offenders rarely comply with the sanctions imposed, or 2) most are repeat offenders.

        Sources

        Interview: Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Political Scientist and Head of the Department of Political Science, University of the West Indies, conducted on 15th August, 2014.

        Interview: Dr. Norbert Masson, Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

        Interview: Mrs. Fern Narcis, Senior Legal Officer of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

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        Open Question: How strong is enforcement, and what impedes more effective enforcement?More about indicator

        The EBC is unevenly focused on the management of elections rather than on acting as an oversight body for campaign finance. Consequently most of the resources of the EBC are focused on registering candidates, overseeing the entire election process and maintaining the integrity of elections.

        One of the major challenges to enforcement at the EBC is its capacity. Masson gives an example that there is no qualified accountant tasked with reviewing returns by candidates. Narcis goes further to explain that the primary function of the accounts department of the EBC relates to the payment of salaries and other expenses and not as an oversight department.

        The reform debates over the last two years have included a number of measures expressed by various polticians, senators and opinion leaders. Below is a summary of these positions:

        Senator Helen Drayton: "campaign financing legislation included proper accounting, a code of conduct for political parties and giving independent and fledgling parties a fairer chance at contesting elections. New laws should also define permissible and impermissible donors, she said. Based on international laws, impermissible donors include foreigners, foreign governments, state enterprises, contractors performing public service, banks, non-governmental organisations which receive government funding and trade unions."

        • Most opinion leaders agree that political parties need to be defined in law and regulated.

        • The EBC should have control if its budget and staffing

        • Ramcharan insists that there must be adequate training and competent staff to conduct investigations and monitor election finance.

        Masson in his Presentation at the Transparency Conference stated: - “Full disclosure both by political parties and candidates of the sources and flow of finance in the conduct of their administration and management of election campaigns; - Inclusion in the provisions relating to disclosure requirements of potent sanctions for either non-compliance or wilful submission of incorrect information; and - Auditing by appropriately-qualified independent professionals of all financial statements submitted by political parties and candidates and the publication of the findings of such audits and of any investigation associated therewith.”

        The above are the general recommendations which have been raised out the current reform of Trinidad and Tobago political finance system.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - One of the most important impediments against effective enforcement and the introduction of legislation for campaign financing perhaps is the lack of political will over time by each government from 1956 to 2014.

        It should be noted that although the issue of campaign financing was raised on numerous occassions it has never been presented as a Bill for consideration by either the House of Representatives or the Senate. The culture of the society is perhaps also important since little emphasis has been placed on the lack of proper accounting mechanisms whether by political parties or otherwise.

        The civil society has also not been agitating vociferously for campaign finance reforms. Legislation needs to be introduced to firstly, define what is a political party and include them under the ROPA 1967.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please provide a general explanation of the effectiveness of enforcement, describing: 1) any conditions that may prevent effective enforcement, and 2) explain what are the most urgent areas of reform in the country's political finance system.

        Sources

        Chairman’s Presentation, Dr. Norbert Masson, Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission presented at Transparency's Annual Anti-Corruption Conference, 14th March, 2014 http://www.transparency.org.tt/Speeches2014/Nobert_Masson.pdf

        Y. Baboolal, "Drayton wants Campaign Reform ... $300 million spent in 6 elections," Trinidad Guardian Newspaper, 27th November, 2013 http://www4.guardian.co.tt/news/2013-11-27/300m-spent-6-elections

        Interview: Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Political Scientist and Head of the Department of Political Science, University of the West Indies, conducted on 15th August, 2014.

        Interview: Dr. Norbert Masson, Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

        Interview: Mrs. Fern Narcis, Senior Legal Officer of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, conducted on 11th September, 2014.

        Reviewer's sources: Professor Ann Marie Bissessar, Inaugural Lecture "Regulation, the Regulatory State, Agency and Autonomy: The Case of Anti-Money Laundering Regulation in a Small State.” February 2011.

Trinidad and Tobago is a twin-island Republic (republican status was attained in 1976). It operates under the Westminster/Whitehall model of government. It has a bi-cameral legislature comprised of two houses or chambers, namely the upper house which is called the Senate and the lower house, which is termed the House of Representatives. When the two houses meet they are called the Parliament.

Unlike the Westminster model in the United Kingdom, in nearly all the Anglophone countries of the Caribbean, the modified Westminster model of Government has a written Constitution which is the supreme Law of the Land. The Head of State is the President who is nominated by the secret ballots of an electoral college comprising members from both the Senate ( the upper house) as well as members from the House of Representatives ( the lower house). While some suggest that the office of President is a 'titular position' the President has numerous powers including the power of 'veto' for Acts of Parliament. In addition he is the Commander of the Armed Forces.

The Head of Government is the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is the leader of the party or coalition that controls the majority of members in the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives, curently comprised of forty one members of Parliament, is one in which members are elected on the basis of a First-Past-The-Post system of voting.

Within the forty one constitutencies or districts within the country, any person who attains the majority of the votes cast will serve as a Member of the House of Representatives and also may be selected by the Prime Minister to serve as a Minister/Junior Minister/or Parliamentary Secretary. Senators, on the other hand are nominated. Sixteen members are selected by the Government, six by the Leader of the Opposition and nine 'independent' candidates are selected by the President of the country.

While Bills are debated in the House of Representatives, they cannot become laws unless they are debated and agreed to in the Senate. If for some reason, the Senate is unable to agree to the proposal or if they suggest changes, this must be returned to the House of Representatives for amendments. If members of the Senate agree, the Bill is then sent to the President for his "Assent."

In the General Elections of 2010, the United National Congress which formed a coalition with a number of poltical parties, including the Congress of the People, the Movement for Social Justice and the National Joint Action Committee and the Tobago Organization of the People, won twenty nine seats and formed the Government. The Party is referred to as the People's Partnership. The Opposition Party, the People's National Movement, won twelve of the forty one seats. The current President is Anthony Carmona.