Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago

 

Lead pic for TT Parliament e-version

As in most Westminster parliaments, the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago exercises three main functions: legislation, representation and oversight of the executive branch. The Office of the Parliament is a well-established bureaucracy, operating with 11 units and approximately 330 staff members.

Trinidad and Tobago has a bicameral parliament comprised of an elected House of Representatives and an appointed Senate. The head of state is the non-executive president who is elected by the members of both houses for a five-year term. The 41 members of the House of Representatives are directly elected for a five-year term by the first-past-the-post system. The president appoints the 31 senators: 16 on the advice of the prime minister, six on the advice of the leader of the opposition and another nine at the president’s own discretion.

The House of Representatives reflects the electoral districts in Trinidad and Tobago. Members of the House of Representatives can belong to a political party or be independent. In the history of the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago most of the elected representatives have been members of a political party and usually are divided into two groups: those who belong to the Government and those who form the Opposition.

The parliamentary committee system is based on three Joint Select Committees, a Public Accounts Committee and a Public Accounts Enterprise Committee.

Key functions of the Parliament
  • Representation: ensuring that the public’s interest are protected
  • Legislation: to enact or amend laws and bills
  • Monitoring of financial expenditure of the government on the nation’s behalf
  • Legitimising the passing of bills and laws via voting, to ensure ‘fair play’
  • Accountability: convening Parliamentary sessions to allow for transparency and debate, to facilitate both the executive and the opposition to air their opinions in such a manner that the populace understands their positions

19th Sitting of the House of Representatives 2

Office of the Parliament

Mission

To provide Parliamentarians with procedural advice and essential professional support services in order that they may carry out their responsibilities as Legislators in an informed and efficient manner.

The Office of the Parliament provides the administrative and apolitical support services to the Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. The work of the Speaker, MPs and parliamentary committees is facilitated by the Office of the Parliament – a professional secretariat of the Parliament.

Operations of the Office of Parliament are guided by a Corporate Plan, which covers the role of Parliament staff in providing effective services to the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago, to allow the Members of Parliament to fulfil their legislative, oversight and representation functions effectively. The Office functions under the leadership of the Clerk of the House assisted by the Clerk of the Senate, as Deputy Head. The Office also ensures the proper functioning of the Chamber and offers relevant services to the people of Trinidad and Tobago.

The Office of the Parliament has a structure in place that supports the work of the Constituency offices. Most of the interaction is done through Administration Officers, while for some specific issues Constituency office personnel liaise with IT staff, internal audit and Office of the Marshal.

Related to constituency relations, Parliament has 41 constituency offices and 31 sub-constituency offices with a maximum number of personnel at 298 staff. The Office of the Parliament is responsible for providing guidance on the procedures and policies for the operations of constituency offices as may be recommended by the House Committee and approved by the Speaker of the House.

The Clerk of the House as Accounting Officer is responsible for ensuring accountability of the funds expended, in accordance with the Exchequer and Audit Act. The workings and operations of the constituency offices are governed by the Constituency Operations Manual which was approved in 2010 for the 10th Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago.

Parliament Strategic Plan

Implementation Roadmap for Strategic Plan

Standing Orders

Pre-Policy Paper – Ensuring Parliament’s Functional Autonomy

Final Report – Legislative Information Management System

Deliverable 2 – Final Constituency Relations Report

Deliverable 3 – Outreach and Communication Strategy

Committee Baseline Assessment

Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago

Contact Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago

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