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TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Senate

Modules:
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE PARLIAMENTARY CHAMBER

Parliament name Parliament
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Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name Senate
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) House of Representatives
Affiliation to the IPU Yes
Affiliation date(s) 2011 -
LEADERSHIP
President Timothy Hamel-Smith (M) 
Notes Appointed on 18 June 2010.
Secretary General Nataki Atiba-Dilchan (F) 
COMPOSITION
Members (statutory / current number) 31 / 31
PERCENTAGE OF WOMEN


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Women (current number) 6 (19.35%)
Mode of designation appointed 31
Notes Appointed by the Head of State.
Term 5 years
Last renewal dates 18 June 2010
(View details)
CONTACT INFORMATION
Address The Senate
Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
Levels G-7
Tower D
The Port of Spain International Waterfront Centre
1A Wrightson Road
Port of Spain
Trinidad and Tobago
(Export mailing lists)
Phone (1868) 623 8366
Fax (1868) 625 4672
E-mail natiba@ttparliament.org
lguevara@ttparliament.org (Inter-Parliamentary Affairs Officer)
Website
http://www.ttparliament.org/

ELECTORAL SYSTEM

Parliament name Parliament
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name Senate
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) House of Representatives
LEGAL FRAMEWORK
Electoral law 1 January 1900
Mode of designation appointed 31
Constituencies (not applicable)
Voting system : Vacancies arising between general renewals are filled by appointment.
Voter requirements (not applicable)
CANDIDATES
Eligibility - age: 25 years
- Trinidad & Tobago citizenship
- ineligibility: allegiance to a foreign State, undischarged bankruptcy, insanity, sentence of death or imprisonment exceeding 12 months, election-connected offence
Incompatibilities - certain public offices and posts connected with administration of elections
- the President or Deputy President of the Senate may not be a Minister or Parliamentary Secretary
Candidacy requirements (not applicable)

LAST ELECTIONS

Parliament name Parliament
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name Senate
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) House of Representatives
BACKGROUND
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 18 June 2010
Timing and scope of renewal (not applicable)
(not applicable)
STATISTICS
Voter turnout
Distribution of votes
Distribution of seats
Distribution of seats according to sex
Men

Women

Percent of women
23

8

25.81%
Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
Comments
Source: Parliament (21.06.2010, 11.12.2012, 01.01.2014)

PRESIDENCY OF THE PARLIAMENTARY CHAMBER

Parliament name Parliament
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name Senate
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) House of Representatives
APPOINTMENT AND TERM OF OFFICE
Title President of the Senate
Term - duration: 5 years (term of House)
- reasons for interruption of the term: resignation, death, dissolution
Appointment - elected by all the Senators
- the election is held at the first sitting of the newly elected Senate or when a vacancy occurs
- before the Members are sworn in
Eligibility - any Senator (except a Minister or a Parliamentary Secretary) can be a candidate
- candidatures must be submitted by a third party who is himself a Senator
- candidatures must be seconded by another Senator
Voting system - if only one candidature is submitted : the candidate is elected without a vote or debate
- if several candidatures are submitted : a secret ballot is taken for each candidates in the order of their registration until one of them is elected.
Procedures / results - the Clerk presides over the Senate during the voting
- the Clerk announces the results without any delay
STATUS
Status - ranks 4th after the Head of State, the Prime minister and the Chief Justice
- the President of the Senate has precedence over the Speaker of the House of Representatives
- represents the Senate with the public authorities
- represents the Senate in international bodies
- in the absence of the President, the Vice-President can assume his/her role and functions
Board
Material facilities NA (no information received)
FUNCTIONS
Organization of parliamentary business - convenes sessions
- establishes and modifies the agenda
- organises the debates and sets speaking time
- examines the admissibility of bills and amendments
- can appoint committees and their presidents
Chairing of public sittings - can open, adjourn and close sittings
- ensures respect for provisions of the Constitution and Standing Orders
- makes announcements concerning the Senate
- is responsible for discipline within the Senate: if necessary, takes disciplinary measures and lifts such measures
- establishes the list of speakers, gives and withdraws permission to speak
- establishes the order in which amendments are taken up
Special powers - takes part in establishing the budget of the Senate
- supervises the services of the Senate
- is responsible for relations with foreign Parliaments
- is responsible for security and in this capacity can call the police in the event of disturbance in the Senate
Speaking and voting rights, other functions - takes part in voting only in the event of tie

PARLIAMENTARY MANDATE

Parliament name Parliament
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name Senate
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) House of Representatives
NATURE
Nature of the mandate Free representation
Start of the mandate · When the results are declared
Validation of mandates · Validation by the High Court only in case of challenge (S. 52 (1) (a) of the Constitution of 29 March 1976, as amended up to 5 August 1995)
· Procedure (S. 106 to 129 of the Representation of the People Act)
End of the mandate · On the day when the legal term of the House ends - or on the day of early dissolution (S. 43 (1) of the Constitution; for dissolution, see Art. 68 of the Constitution)
Can MPs resign? No
Can MPs lose their mandate ? Yes (a) Loss of mandate for not attending sittings of Parliament (S. 43 (2) (a) of the Constitution, SO 77 (2) of the Standing Orders of the Senate; see also Participation in the work of Parliament)
(b) Loss of mandate for incompatibilities (S. 43 (2) (b) of the Constitution)
(c) Loss of mandate for loss of eligibility (S. 43 (2) (c) and (d), (3) to (6) in connection with S. 41 and 42 of the Constitution)
(d) Declaration, by the President, of a seat to be vacant (S. 43 (2) (e) of the Constitution)
STATUS OF MEMBERS
Rank in hierarchy
Indemnities, facilities and services · Diplomatic passport for the President, official passport for the other Senators
· Basic salary:TTD 4,000 per month, (TTD 8,000 for the President, TTD 5,700 for the Vice-President)
· No exemption from tax
· Special pension scheme only for the President
· Other facilities:
(a) Official housing
(b) Official car
(c) Postal and telephone services
(d) Travel and transport
(e) Others
Obligation to declare personal assets Yes
Parliamentary immunity - parliamentary non-accountability · The concept does exist (S. 55 (1) and (2) of the Constitution, S. 3 in connection with S. 1 (2) of the House of Representatives (Powers and Privileges) Act).
· Parliamentary non-accountability is limited to words spoken or written by MPs and votes cast within Parliament.
· Derogations: offence or insult (SO 35 (4) to (5), 43 (3), and (9) to (12) of the Standing Orders of the Senate, see Discipline)

Parliamentary immunity - parliamentary inviolability · The concept does exist (S. 4 in connection with S. 1 (2) of the House of Representatives (Powers and Privileges) Act).
· It applies only to civil proceedings, covers only civil debts with the exception of a debt the contraction of which constitutes a criminal offence, and protects MPs only from arrest.
· No derogations are foreseen.
· Protection is provided only whilst going to, attending at, or returning from a sitting of the Senate or a committee.
· Parliamentary immunity (inviolability) cannot be lifted.
EXERCISE OF THE MANDATE
Training · There is a training/initiation process on parliamentary practices and procedures for MPs. It consists of occasional in-house seminars, tour studies and attachments organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, and training and briefing of new MPs by the Clerk of the Senate.
· Handbook of parliamentary procedure:
- Standing Orders of the Senate
Participation in the work of the Parliament · It is not compulsory for MPs to be present at plenary sittings or committee meetings (but see SO 77 (1) of the Standing Orders of the Senate).
· Penalties foreseen in case of not attending sittings of Parliament (S. 43 (2) (a) of the Constitution, SO 77 (2) of the Standing Orders of the Senate): loss of mandate
Discipline · The rules governing discipline within Parliament are contained in SO 35 (4) and (5), 41, and 43 of the Standing Orders of the Senate.
· Disciplinary measures foreseen:
- Direction to discontinue the speech (SO 43 (1) of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
- Decision not to hear a Senator (SO 43 (2) of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
- Order to withdraw words and to apologise (SO 43 (3) (b) of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
- Order to withdraw for the remainder of the day's sitting (SO 43 (3), and (9) to (12) of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
- Naming, eventually with suspension and loss or remuneration (SO 43 (4) to (12), and (14) of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
- Adjournment of the Senate, suspension of the sitting (SO 43 (13) of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
- Other measures (SO 43 (15) of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
· Specific cases:
- Offence or insult (SO 35 (4) to (5), 43 (3), and (9) to (12) of the Standing Orders of the Senate): order to withdraw words and to apologise, order to withdraw for the remainder of the day's sitting
· Competent body to judge such cases (SO 41 of the Standing Orders of the Senate):
- Direction to discontinue the speech, order to withdraw words and to apologise, order to withdraw for the remainder of the day's sitting, naming, adjournment of the Senate, suspension of the sitting, offence or insult: the President
- Decision not to hear a Senator, suspension and loss of remuneration, other measures: the Senate
The President is competent to enforce the rules of order (see SO 43 (10) and (11) of the Standing Orders of the Senate).
· Procedure:
- Direction to discontinue the speech (SO 43 (1) of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
- Decision not to hear a Senator (SO 43 (2) of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
- Order to withdraw words and to apologise, order to withdraw for the remainder of the day's sitting, offence or insult (SO 35 (4) to (5), and 43 (3), and (9) to (12) of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
- Naming, eventually with suspension and loss of remuneration (SO 43 (4) to (12), and (14) of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
- Adjournment of the Senate, suspension of the sitting (SO 43 (13) of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
- Other measures (SO 43 (15) of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
Code (rules) of conduct · This concept does exist in the country's juridical system (Code of Ethics for Parliamentarians including Ministers) but is only applicable to MPs (see House of Representatives - Code of conduct). However, there are some relevant provisions (SO 78 of the Standing Orders of the Senate, and S. 13 in connection with S. 1 (2) of the House of Representatives (Powers and Privileges) Act).
· Penalties foreseen for violation of the rules of conduct: fine of ten thousand dollars and forfeiture of amount or value of bribe (S. 13 (2) in connection with S. 1 (2) of the House of Representatives (Powers and Privileges) Act; prohibition to receive bribe)
· Competent body to judge such cases/to impose penalties: the Attorney General (S. 14 in connection with S. 1 (2) of the House of Representatives (Powers and Privileges) Act; prohibition to receive bribe)
· Procedure (S. 14 in connection with S. 1 (2) of the House of Representatives (Powers and Privileges) Act, prohibition to receive bribe).
Relations between MPs and pressure group · There are no legal provisions in this field.

This page was last updated on 31 January 2014
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