Skip to main content

Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

The Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago recognizes access to information and participation within the framework of the freedoms of expression, assembly and association. Constitutional guarantees are provided for in case of infringement of such rights and freedoms. The Constitution also establishes the Ombudsman, tasked with investigating complaints of administrative injustices, among others.

Access to information (article 4 i)

The Constitution recognizes freedom of expression as a fundamental right.

Public participation (commencement and article 4 j)

The Constitution recognizes the right of freedom of association and assembly. 

It also expresses that the People of Trinidad and Tobago have asserted their belief in a democratic society in which all persons may, to the extent of their capacity, play some part in the institutions of the national life and thus develop and maintain due respect for lawfully constituted authority.

Access to justice (articles 5 h, 14(1), 93 and 108)

Parliament may not deprive a person of the right to such procedural provisions as are necessary for the purpose of giving effect and protection to the aforesaid rights and freedoms.

For the removal of doubts it is hereby declared that if any person alleges that any of the provisions of this Chapter has been, is being, or is likely to be contravened in relation to him, then without prejudice to any other action with respect to the same matter which is lawfully available, that person may apply to the High Court for redress by way of originating motion. An appeal to the Court of Appeal shall be as of right from decisions of the High Court in any order or decision which relates to redress for contravention of the provisions for the protection of fundamental rights.

The Constitution also provides for an Ombudsman, whose principal function shall be to investigate any decision or recommendation made, including any advice given or recommendation made to a Minister, or any act done or omitted by any department of Government or any other authority to which this section applies, or by officers or members of such a department or authority, being action taken in exercise of the administrative functions of that department or authority. The Ombudsman may investigate any such matter  where a complaint is duly made to the Ombudsman by any person alleging that the complainant has sustained an injustice as a result of a fault in administration.

Facilitation of access to justice (article 5 g)

Parliament may not deprive a person of the right to the assistance of an interpreter in any proceedings in which he is involved or in which he is a party or a witness, before a Court, commission, board or other tribunal, if he does not understand or speak English.