Trinidad and Tobago has ratified Cultural Agreements with the following countries: China Costa Rica India Venezuela Nigeria (joint commission)







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Trinidad and Tobago

The artist’s place in society

Many artists are involved in other forms of gainful employment. Approximately 60% - 70% of artists need to combine jobs.

The other forms of employment the artists are most gainfully employed in are: the teaching service; the police service; other sectors of the public services; private enterprises; media, advertising and other skilled and unskilled jobs.


Trinidad and Tobago has ratified Cultural Agreements with the following countries: • China

• Costa Rica • India • Venezuela

• Nigeria (joint commission)

Governmental bodies in charge of: a) Cultural affairs:

The Division of Culture which is usually a part of a ministry, has overall responsibility for cultural affairs in Trinidad. The Division of Culture in the Tobago House of Assembly deals with cultural affairs in Tobago.

b) Cultural policy-making:

The Cabinet of government ministers approves the proposals that the Division of Culture submits to it through a cabinet note. In Tobago, the members of the Tobago House of Assembly decide what the policy should be.

c) Working conditions of artists including disabled artists:

The National Carnival Commission sometimes considers the working conditions of artists, although its general function is to facilitate the annual staging of Carnival.

d) Continuing training of artists and cultural workers:

The continuing training for artists and cultural workers is carried out by the various departments of the Division of Culture including:

- The National Carnival Commission (NCC);

- The Best Village Section and the section that deals with the National Open School for the Arts.

e) Cultural research:

The Carnival Institute, the Central Statistical Office and the Ministry of Tourism are the main agencies that carry out Cultural Research.

f) Tax policies and taxation in the field of culture

The Board of Inland Revenue deals with all aspects of taxation in the country including polices and taxation in the field of culture.


Cultural policies

Policies aimed at promoting the arts

The Social and Economy Policy Framework 2004: Charting the Course to 2020; the main objectives identified are the preservation and development of the national cultural heritage, provision of a supportive environment that facilitates and nurtures the creativity and development of all citizens and the promotion of viable culture based industries. The key initiatives will include Preparation of a Strategic Plan for the Development of the Culture and Arts and the Development of a cultural policy (p. 54). The Medium Term Policy Framework 2002-2004 of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago indicates that the Preservation of Culture is perhaps the key to social cohesion in a plural society: "Equity and cultural freedom must be integral to the promotion and preservation of our cultural heritage."

The government views culture as a vital force in the society, thus it supports the promotion of the arts and artists (p. 42). The government seeks " to promote the highest values within society, culture and the arts will be placed at the heart of the education system and community life ....", targeting school children, community groups and the youth population (p. 90-91).

Indicators used to evaluate the outcomes of cultural policies

No analysis is carried out to evaluate the outcomes of cultural polices, creativity and the status of artists.

Existing structures enabling artists to be involved in cultural policy-making at local and national levels

The Ministry responsible for Culture usually works very closely with the different national organizations representing artists, thereby sometimes allowing the artists to be involved in the cultural policy making at local and national levels.

Cultural Policy Provisions Cultural policy provides

(i) the allocation of public funds for art work through different approaches. (ii) the governrnent disbursing annual_subventions to the following_cultural

groups: National Parang Association of Trinidad and Tobago; National Drama Association of Trinidad and Tobago; National Dance Association of Trindad and Tobago; Sanskritic Sangam Association; Secondary Schools Drama Association; The Trinidad Unified Calypsonians Organisation;The Trinidad Theatre Workshop; San Fernando Arts Council; Santa Rosa Carib Community and Trinidad Arts Society and other institutions,

(iii) the government provides financial and other forms of support for the organization of local events including Carnival; Borough Day celebrations; Festivals; and regionally it also strongly supports Carifesta

(iv) there was the establishment of a fond (Sport and Culture Fund) years ago, to support the Arts.

Existing structures enabling artists to be involved in cultural policy-making at local and national levels:

Measures to improve the infrastructure for the spread of the arts include the improvement of the museums, the construction of the new National Library, the


reconstruction of Queens Hall in the capital city of Port of Spain, the renovation of the Naparima Bowl at San Fernando and the proposed restoration of the Little Carib Theatre and the House of NU. Biswas.

Legal framework

Laws and regulations governing the work of artists a) Employment and working conditions:

There are no specific conditions.

b) Social welfare (health insurance, occupational accidents, disability, unemployment and pensions):

There are no specific conditions. c) Training:

There are no specific requirements nor conditions for training.


Professional status for artists and work permit

There are no specific arrangements for work permit and professional status for the local artists. However, some artists achieve professional status by practicing their occupation full time and are able to obtain a reasonable livelihood.

Those artists, who are considered as professionals are able to secure some of the more lucrative opportunities and also command higher returns for their creations or services. Health care system

There is a national health care system, which requires all workers to pay regular contributions in the form of a Health Surcharge, which is a small percentage of their salary/ income. However, all citizens of Trinidad and Tobago are entitled to health care through the health care facilities provided by the state.

Private Health Care Scheme

Many private health care schemes are available but individual artists must determine if they want to access them.

Disabled artists

Disabled artists are not usually offered any special considerations. They are considered as any other individuals in the Society.

Administrative inspections of working conditions

Some working conditions are subjected to administrative inspections. Health and safety concerns are very important factors especially where there are large gatherings.

These inspections cover the safety considerations of the spaces and venues, in relation to the condition, capacity and exits of buildings. They also deal with other le al requirements including dance hall, bar and noise pollution licenses.

Governmental body in charge or labour inspections

The organizations that carry out these inspections include: the Police Service, the Fire Service and the Environmental Management Authority.



Breach of the regulations can result in the curtailment of the specific function, closure of the establishment and the offending persons being charged and brought before the courts.

SOCIAL WELFARE Insurance schemes

There is a National Insurance System that caters for all locally employed workers. This scheme provides benefits to cover illness, maternity, disability, retirement, etc

Social coverage is compulsory for all types of workers, who must faithfully make their financial contributions to the scheme.

Complementary insurance schemes

Most artists resort to complementary insurance schemes to ensure they have adequate coverage.

Administration of contributions

(i.) The state supervises the National Insurance Scheme. (ii.) The relevant firms administer the personal insurance plans.

(iii.) Some special interest groups have been attempting to develop Group Coverage for their members.


Minimum level of remuneration

Market forces dictate the level of payment to the various artists, although there exists a National Minimum Wage for workers in specific industries.

Payment System

Most artists are paid directly by the persons who secured their services, however, for special events (festivals), they sometime obtain their remuneration through their relevant professional organizations.

UNEMPLOYMENT Unemployment insurance

No Unemployment Insurance Scheme for artists is available.

ILLEGAL WORK Scale of illegal work

The most prominent problem relating to illegal work involves Copy Rights issues. This is a very widespread activity throughout the island.


Penalties and sanctions

There is a lackadaisical approach to law enforcement in dealing with this serious phenomenon. Some penalties include the seizure of the products and the equipment used in the illegal operations.


The Copy Right Organisation of Trinidad and Tobago (COTT) and the police organize periodical raids on the lawbreakers. Those found guilty can be charged as much as $100,000 (TT) and also be confined to jail along with confiscation of their equipment.

TAX STATUS AND TAX ADVANTAGES Particular tax status for artists

Artists do not enjoy any particular tax status. Royalties and tax system

Royalties are also considered as taxable income.

Exemptions for temporary import duties on cultural products

Local recording artists are exempted from paying Value Added Tax on recordings they have produced overseas and are importing into this country.

This arrangement expires in November 2004.

There are neither exemption nor special provisions regarding import duties on equipment and materials required for cultural production.

Tax regime for the marketing, import and export of cultural products

Companies can claim an allowance of 150% of the cost of production or sponsorship for Art and Culture. The maximum allowance is $1,000,000 (Sect. l0k.CTA, chap. 75, 02). No other special tax regime is in place for the marketing, import and export of cultural products.

Regional and interregional customs duties agreements

The Caricom Certifying Authority based in Barbados must certify the cultural products of all Caricom citizens. These products must consist of a certain percentage of local raw materials / input in order to qualify for the exemptions of certain duties.

Provisions on inheritance tax

There are no special provisions on inheritance tax for works of arts.

INTERNATIONAL MOBILITY OF ARTISTS Measures to encourage the mobility of artists a) Recognition of foreign diplomas

There is official recognition of foreign diplomas in the artistic professions. b) Fellowships and financial aid to promote the mobility of artists:

The state does provide on a case-by-case basis fellowships and financial aid to promote the mobility of artistic professions.


c) Fellowships and financial aid to promote the mobility of works

Fellowships and financial aid to promote the mobility of works are sometimes provided by the state.

Network Catering for Foreign Artists

Networks catering for foreign artists are facilitated through cultural exchanges of artists. Visas and Residence Permits for foreign artists

Persons in the Arts can obtain visas for many missions abroad, while the Freedom of Movement for Artists (Caribbean Single Market Economy) facilitates residence permits for Caribbean artists.

Social welfare for artists working temporarily abroad

The artists and the producers and impresarios are required to work out the arrangement in maters of social welfare for the artists working temporarily abroad.

Provisions made by national laws with regard to foreign artists (reception facilities, working conditions)

Artists from outside of the Caribbean region are required to obtain work permits and they must pay the estimated taxes (Pay As You Earn) before their departure from the country.

Provisions aiming at protecting national artists

There are no laws or provisions aimed at protecting the national artists through any quota system or otherwise.


The Trade Union Act Chapter 88: 02 is the main legal provision in place to protect the trade union freedom.

Main prerogatives recognized by law

The main trade union prerogatives recognized by law include the representation of members, the establishment of a political fond, the ownership of property, the authority to invest and to seek the general welfare of its members.

State consultation with trade unions

Some artists are members of organizations that are not true trade unions but the state sometimes consults these organizations before introducing reforms that affect the working practices of the artists, these organisations include Pan Trinbago, National Carnival Bandleaders Association (NCBA), and Trinbago Unified Calypsonian Organisation (TUCO).

Collective agreements

No structures for negotiating collective agreements for the artists exist but the relevant organizations periodically make representation for an increase in government's subvention and other forms of financial assistance.


Promotion of social dialogue

Bodies specifically concerned with the promotion of social dialogue include the National representative bodies and some of the religions organizations that sometimes deal with issues they consider to be very important.

CONTINUING TRAINING AND FINANCIAL AID Vocational training for artists

Several opportunities are available for vocational training of artists. The training involves a wide range of levels from a certificate of participation to Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), from UWI certificate to post graduate degrees. The state provides funding for some of these programmes but some organizations are required to raise their own funding. Training is available to enable artists to update their skills in many different areas.

List of vocational schools and institutions providing continuing training: a) Visual arts

Centre for Creative and Festival Arts (University of the West Indies); College of Science Technolagy, and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago (COSTAATT); CCFA7; sorne seconda,ry schools; and the Trinidad Arts Society.

b) Performing Arts

Centre for Creative and Festival Arts (UWIj; Ministry for Culture: National Open School for the Arts, Best Village Workshops and The National Carnival Commission. Private institutions: School of the Necessary Arts and the Trinidad Theatre Workshop, members of the National Draina Association of Trinidad and Tobago and the Secondary Schools Draina Association.

c) Film and Audio Visual Media

Centre for Creative and Festival Arts/ University of the West Indies, COSTAATT. d) Dance and Choreography

Centre for Creative and Festival Arts; Ministry for Culture (see above); member groups of the National Dance Association of Trinidad and Tobago and some primary and secondary schools.

e) Literature

The primary and secondary education system; the University of the West Indies; the Writers Association of Trinidad and Tobago; the Poets of Trinidad and Tobago.

f) Music:

The University of the West Indies; COSATT; Ministry of Education (Pan in schoals/ and other music programmes); the National Parang Association of Trinidad and Tobago,TUCO, Pan Trinbago; Pan Minors, individual steelbands and private institutions.

Training institutions in administration: Administration


Administrative management UWI and the Ministry for Culture.

Career management UWI

Vocational training for disabled artists

The disabled artists are not provided with any special training courses but may be offered financial assistance on a case-by-case basis.

Retraining of artists

Policies or legal provisions do not guarantee the retraining of artists. Training courses dedicated to the retraining of artists

There is no specific training courses dedicated to the retraining of artist, this may be done periodically by different institutions.

Fellowships awarded specifically for training

Fellowship awarded specifically for training: the University of the West Indies and Ministry of Education.

The University of the West Indies offers scholarships and bursaries and the Ministry for Culture assists individuals on the merit of each request.

Promotion of copyright and neighbouring rights

Resources used to promote knowledge of copyright and neighbouring rights among artists consist of Seminars, courses, lectures, press releases, publications and a quarterly news letter for members of the Copyright Organisation of Trinidad and Tobago (COTT).


a) Governmental organizations working in the cultural sector The National Carnival Commission

Regional (local) Carnival Committees (NCC) Tobago House of Assembly, Division of Culture The Tourism Development Company

National Museum and Heritage Trust Sport and Culture Fund (Office P.M) Special Achievers Fund (OPM)

Officeof Intellectual Property, Ministry of Legal Affairs National Library Information Service

b) Ministries, councils and other government bodies in charge of culture Some of the governmental organisations working in the cultural sector are:

The Ministry of Education, The Ministry of Tourism, The Ministry of Finance,

The Ministry of Community Development, Gender Affairs and Culture, The Best Village Division (CDGAC)


The Section for the national Open School for the Arts (CDGAC)

c) Government bodies responsible for the social integration of disabled artists There is no specific government authority responsible for the social integration of disabled artists within the cultural sector. These artists are treated in the saine manner like normal artists.


There is no national register of artists and cultural professionals. However, the following organizations can provide additional information on their membership or clientele:


Emancipation Support Committee National Council of Indian Culture Tobago Cultural Committee

San Fernando Arts Council Sanskritic Sangam Association Santa Rosa Carib Community

Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago Division of Culture, THA

The University of the West Indies : Centre for Creative and Festival Arts:

National Archives

National Museum and Art Gallery

National Library (KALIS): Heritage Section National Carnival Commission:

Copyright Organisation of Trinidad and Tobago (COTT) Recording Industry Association of Trinidad and Tobago The Horticultural Society of Trinidad and Tobago The Tourism Development Company

Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago


- Trinidad Art Society

- Studio 66 Art Support Community - Women in Art


- National Carnival Bandleaders Association

- National Carnival Development Foundation:


The Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation




- National Drama Association of Trinidad and Tobago

- Secondary Schools Drama Association: - The Trinidad Theatre Workshop


Chutney Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago


National Parang Association of Trinidad and Tobago


Pan Trinbago:


- Circle of Poets of Trinidad and Tobago - Liberal Arts, UWI.

- Writers Union of Trinidad and Tobago

Source: National Commission of Trinidad and Tobago for UNESCO, January 2005.





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