Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago
- Speaker - House
- President - Senate
- 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
- June 2010-Present
- Speaker of the House of Representatives
- Chairman of the Public Accounts Enterprises Committee (PAEC)
- Chairman of a Joint Parliamentary Committee to inquire into the operations, administration and management of Ministries, Statutory Authorities, State Enterprises and Public Utilities
- Member of several Parliamentary Committees including Finance and General Purpose, and Legislative
- Government delegate to major Commonwealth Conference organised by CAPAM and held in Malaysia
- Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate
- Vice-President of the Senate, also acted as President on several occasions
- Acted as Ministers of National Security, Health, Agriculture, Lands and Marine Resources, Tobago Affairs
- Minister of Public Administration
- Leader of Government Business in the Senate
- Minister of Public Administration and Information
- Member of the National Security Council and the Defence Council
- Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate
- Design, implement and facilitate workers education programmes for the Bank and General Workers Union
- Education and Research Officer, Bank and General Workers Union
- Administrative Officer, Ministry of Health
- Examiner at the Registration, Recognition and Certification Board
- Trustee of the Trinidad and Tobago Labour Congress
- Assistant Secretary of the National Trade Union Centre
- Chairman of the Public Sector Negotiations Committee
- Monitoring salary and wage levels in the Public Sector
- Editor of the Bank and General Workers Union’s Newsletter (Labour Insight)
- Chairman of a Social Compact Committee comprising of government, business and labour
- Business Administration (MBA) Programme (Pursuing final course in Management Accounting), University of the West Indies, Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business
- Strategic Human Resources Management in a contemporary Public Service organized by the UNDP and the Ministry of Public Administration, 1999
- Leading reform in the Public Service, Commonwealth Advanced Seminar, Auckland, New Zealand, 1996
- Training of Trainers Course, International Training Institute, Turin, Italy, 1990
- Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in Economics and Politics (Honours), University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, 1979
- Member of Economics Association of Trinidad and Tobago
- Member of Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA)
- Member of Global Organization for Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC)
- Joint President of the Local Chapter of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA)
- Regional Chairman of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA)
- History and Development of the Trade Union Movement in Trinidad and Tobago (1838-1985)
- Author of a Mimeograph entitled The History and Development of the Trade Union Movement in Trinidad and Tobago (1838-1985)
- Involved in a number of charitable ventures which includes, distribution of food and clothing for the poor/needy, assist youths throughout the country as well as providing counseling and advice to youths.
- Patron of the Marabella Family Crisis Centre
- Feb. 2015 – Present – President of the Senate – Office of the Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
- Sept. 2013 – Feb. 2015 – Senator, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and Minister of State, Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development
- 2013 – 2014 – Member of the Child Protection Task Force
- 2012 – 2013 – Agency Manager, Sagicor Life Inc. Trinidad
- 2010 – 2011 – Chair, CARAIFA Foundation, Caribbean Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors – Charity Arm
- 2008 – 2012 – Sunday News Anchor, IBN TV Channel 8
- 2007 – 2009 – President, Trinidad and Tobago Association of Insurance and Financial Advisers
- 2006 – 2007 – Senator, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
- 2005 – Present – Managing Director, Portfolio Serve Ltd
- 2005 – 2010 – Executive Marketing Consultant – Colonial Life Insurance Co. Trinidad
- 2004 – 2008 – Registered Financial Consultant, International Assoc. of Insurance and Financial Advisors, USA
- 2004 – 2011 – Board Member – Caribbean Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors
- 2003 – 2008 – Columnist, Sunday Guardian: Money Matters
- 2004 – President, South Chapter, Trinidad and Tobago Assoc. Of Insurance and Financial Advisers
- 1999 – 2004 – Agency Manager, CLICO
- 2002 – 2003 – Radio Talk Show Host – UNC’s It’s My Party
- 2001 – Senator, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
- 2000 – 2002 – President, Madinah House for Battered Women
- 1997 – 2001 – Columnist with the Sunday Guardian: Money Matters
- 1993 – 1999 – Sales Consultant, CLICO
- 1986 – 1993 – Administrative Officer, Insurance Medical Services
- 2006 – Master Business Administration, MBA, University of the West Indies, Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business
- 2006 – Certificate in Mediation I + II; University of the West Indies
- 2003 – 2008 – IARFC, Registered Financial Consultant, RFC, Ohio, USA
- 1999 – Certified Financial Planner – Education Certificate, The American College, Pennsylvania, USA
- 1992 – Diploma, Customer Service, ACS, LOMA, Atlanta, USA
- 1990 – FLMI, Life Office Management Assoc. Fellow Life Insurance Management, Diploma
- 1979 – University of the West Indies, Bachelor of Science, YR 1, 2. Mona, Jamaica
- 1968 – 1975 – GCE O-Level & A-Level, Certificates, Iere High School, Siparia, Trinidad
- 2008 – Life Member Million Dollar Round Table, Top of the Table and Court of the Table – 13 years a member
- 1999-2001 – National Life Underwriters Assoc. of Trinidad and Tobago (LUATT) Top Female Producer
- 1994 – 1996 & 1998 – 1999 – Top Female Producer, CLICO
- 1994 – Rookie and Top Female Producer, Colonial Life Insurance
- 1976 – Trinidad Tesoro Scholarship – Undergraduate Studies
- 1975 – Iere High School, Valedictorian, Iere Gold Medal – Most Outstanding Student
- Design of Social Welfare Programmes
- Mediation & Domestic Violence Issues
- Legislation in Gender Affairs
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|
Office of the Parliament
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.
The Honourable WADE MARK, MP
In 2010, the Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) initiated discussions to explore the possibility of a project to enhance the public input into the legislative work of the Parliament and to encourage MPs and the Parliament to improve interaction with the electorate. This resulted in a project entitled “Strengthening the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago”. The project commenced with the preparation of a Comprehensive Strategic Development Plan of Parliament and the design of a multi-year project document to support the implementation of the Strategic Plan. In 2013 the Parliament took a major step forward by adopting this Strategic Plan that set forth an exciting and comprehensive change programme for the period to 2018. The purpose of this programme is to revitalize the Parliament for the 21st century and beyond so that it is fully able to fulfill its constitutional mandate. This strategy of Parliament is in effect a commitment on its part to the people to test every aspect of its work including oversight of government, legislative processes, representation of the people, and its capacity to run itself and, where found wanting, to initiate reform.
In an attempt to properly streamline all of the strengthening initiatives being implemented by the Parliament, a Project Management Board has been established which comprises the Speaker of the House, the President of the Senate, the Clerk of the House, the Clerk of the Senate and representatives from the UNDP. The overall purpose of the Project Management Board is to monitor and evaluate the priority projects being implemented by the Parliament. The Project Management Board meets once per month and the Heads of Departments give updates on their respective projects. These projects include activities to strengthen the legislative functioning of Parliament, the implementation of a Legislative Information Management System (LIMS), improving the Legislature’s scrutiny of the annual budget and strengthening the Outreach and Communication of the Parliament.
In 2014 the process of reform commenced. The revised Standing Orders of the House of Representatives was adopted. It established several important new Committees, streamlined the election of the Speaker, and introduced Prime Minister’s Question Time and Urgent Questions. Additionally, a major element of the reform which is aimed at making Parliament functionally independent of the government has been initiated. Independence or autonomy as envisioned will mean the Parliament’s ability, independent of government, to appoint its staff, determine the financial resources it requires and decide on its internal governance. A Joint Select Committee has been established and a Pre-Policy Paper has been prepared and submitted for stakeholders’ comments. The Committee, chaired by the Speaker of the House, has also embarked on a series of public hearings.
Hobbies and interests
Reading, swimming, travelling, research particularly in areas pertaining to legislative and constitutional reform, social and economic policies of various jurisdictions and environmental policies
Senator the Honourable RAZIAH AHMED
Reform of governance structures
A strong and dynamic Parliament is an essential facet of a vibrant democracy. The Strategic Plan of the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago for the period 2013-2018 embodies objectives and activities intended to improve the administrative mechanisms of our Institution with the overarching intent of providing superlative service to our citizenry. The Plan outlines a framework for holistic development of Parliament and recognises that the capacity of both the Members of Parliament and the Staff of the Parliament in modernising the systems and processes used in Parliament.
In order to achieve the vision, by 2018, of being “a modern Parliament that fulfils its constitutional duties to its fullest extent, and effectively serves the people of Trinidad & Tobago”, concerted effort is being made in four broad areas of activity. First, we shall increase the institutional capacity of the Parliament and our Secretariat. Second, we shall improve the legislative process in Parliament to ensure enhanced scrutiny and quality of legislation. Third, we shall improve capacity to provide effective oversight, and fourth, we shall extend the outreach work of Parliament, even as we strengthen the representative role of MPs.
Since 2014, several milestones have been met toward the achievement of these goals.
Office of the Parliament
Levels G-8, Tower D
The Port-of-Spain International Waterfront Centre
1A Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain
Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
Tel: +1 868 624 7275;
Fax: +1 868 625 4672
Mrs Jacqui Sampson-Meiguel
Clerk of the House