Amnesty International Report 2015/16 - The State of the World's Human Rights - Trinidad and Tobago

Violence and discrimination continued towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, and women and girls. Abuse of children was a concern. Trinidad retained the mandatory death penalty for murder.


General elections took place in September resulting in a new administration. Violent crimes remained a key concern with 329 murders reported by the police between January and September 2015, a similar rate to the same period in 2014.

Excessive use of force

Serious concerns remained about excessive use of force by the police. The Police Complaints Authority lacked staff and sufficient powers to effectively investigate all alleged misconduct by police officers.

Children’s rights

High levels of sexual and other physical abuse of children remained a serious concern. A new Children’s Act came into force in May, increasing penalties for abuse of children and raising the age of consent for sexual relations to 18. A Children’s Authority was established and received 1,500 reports of child abuse within its first three months. Despite progress in this area, civil society groups reported that insufficient action had been taken by the authorities to prevent child abuse and cases were still poorly investigated and handled.

Activists raised concern that the Childrens Act decriminalized sex between children of the opposite sex (unless exploitative), yet criminalized consensual same-sex sexual activity for those aged under 21 with a potential penalty of life imprisonment, in contravention of the rights of the child.

Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people

Consensual same-sex sexual activity remained a crime. Local civil society groups continued to receive reports of violence and discrimination towards LGBTI people. Some LGBTI people did not report these crimes or seek access to justice, for fear of further victimization from law enforcement officials or exposure of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Some youths reported being pushed out of their homes or experiencing domestic violence due to discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Social services and shelters were not equipped to respond to the needs of homeless LGBTI people, according to local NGOs.

Parliament failed to act on a 2014 recommendation from the Equal Opportunities Commission that “sexual orientation” be included as a protected ground in the Equal Opportunities Act.

A transgender woman ran as an independent candidate in the elections – the first known transgender candidate to run for public office.

Violence against women and girls

High levels of gender-based violence, including domestic violence, continued.

Death penalty

Mandatory death sentences continued to be imposed for murder. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council substituted a conviction for murder with one for manslaughter in the case of a man with a mental disability, and reduced his death sentence to a term of imprisonment.