Business and Departments of Government under the OPM

The Office of the Prime Minister is responsible for the following Business and Departments of Government: 

Cabinet

According to the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago the Cabinet consists of the Prime Minister who is appointed by the President, and other Ministers (of whom one shall be the Attorney

General) chosen from among the members of the House of Representatives and the Senators appointed by the President acting in accordance with advice of the Prime Minister. The Cabinet has the general direction and control of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and

Tobago and is collectively responsible to Parliament.

The Cabinet is serviced by a Cabinet Secretariat which provides specialized administrative support as well as support to certain Sub committees of Cabinet. The Secretariat receives submissions from all Ministers of Government in the form of Cabinet Notes for consideration by Cabinet. The Cabinet Secretariat records the decisions of Cabinet and transmits those decisions to the relevant public authorities in the form of Cabinet Minutes for implementation.  

Central Administrative Services, Tobago (CAST)

The Office of the Prime Minister (Tobago Affairs) – Central Administrative Services Tobago (OPM-CAST) has as its responsibility the co-ordination of matters related to Tobago, according to the Sixth Schedule of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Act. Simply put, the matters for which the Assembly shall not be responsible such as:

  • The President
  • National Security
  • Foreign Affairs
  • Civil Aviation
  • Meteorology
  • Immigration
  • Legal Affairs including the registration of documents
  • The Judiciary
  • Auditor General
  • Ombudsman
  • Service Commissions
Citizen Facilitation

The Citizen’s Facilitation Unit was established to facilitate greater support to the citizens, in particular the elderly, in obtaining assistance between them (the citizens) and the various Government Agencies, departments, institutions and private organisations.

The unit’s mandate consists of the following:

  • To help resolve disputes
  • To ensure that the citizens receive the attention they deserve
  • To act on behalf of many of their issues
  • To assist the poor and needy by directing them with the help of a letter and phone call to the right departments and persons who will assist
  • To mediate with the appropriate persons/organisations/offices
  • To keep citizens informed of their rights (e.g. of new developments which may affect them in some way)
Civil Society Engagement

Engaging with civil society promotes sustainable development and the principles and practises of good governance.

Commissions of Enquiry

A Commission of Enquiry is appointed to investigate a matter of national importance and concern. Each Commission is presented with clear terms of reference as well as a time limit in which to submit a report inclusive of their findings and recommendations. 

Constitutional Matters

The Office of the Prime Minister is responsible for constitutional matters. This includes any issue involving the interpretation, protection or enforcement of the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago.

Ecclesiastical Affairs

The Prime Minister has controls over the external affairs of religious institutions in the State, particularly matters relating to religious protocols and ritual traditions.

Economic Advisory Board

This Board is established to advise the Prime Minister on matters of economic policy and spearhead the economic development of strategies, plans, programmes and policies towards the implementation of an economic development framework.

Foreign Policy Oversight

The Prime Minister determines the strategy in dealing with other nations. The foreign policy of Trinidad and Tobago is pursued through the activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Freedom of Information

The policy of the Office of the Prime Minister is to respond to all requests for information both oral and written. To facilitate prompt handling of a request, such a request must be addressed to the Designated Officer in the Office of the Prime Minister. The Office of the Prime Minister is required to furnish only copies of documents in its possession or which can be retrieved from storage, either in the National Archives or another storage centre.

Gender and Child Affairs

The mandate of the Gender Affairs Division is to effectively promote Gender Equity and Gender Justice through the process of Gender mainstreaming in all Government Policies, Programmes and Projects.

 

The Gender Affairs strategic objectives are:

  • To improve the quality of life of men and women and boys and girls, at all levels of society through the promotion of gender equity and equality;
  • Research and disseminate information on gender specific issues;
  • Promote change in gender discriminatory social consciousness and traditions;
  • Build consultative mechanisms within government, international and regional agencies, academia, NGOs and private sector partners in advancing gender equality;
  • Develop gender policies to promote the equitable advancement of women and men, and boys and girls in all spheres of development and
  • Prevent, punish and eradicate gender based violence.

 

Similarly, the Child Affairs Division is responsible for several duties including the:

  • Implementation of strategies of  the UNICEF  Convention on the Rights of the Child  at a national level;
  • Provision of guidance to transitioning State Homes;
  • Provision of a secure and nurturing environment for all children; and
  • Development of comprehensive, coherent  & harmonized initiatives to promote, protect & respect child rights

 

For more information on the Gender and Child Affairs Division, visit their website: http://www.opm-gca.gov.tt/

Government Communications Oversight

The Government is responsible for the coordination, monitoring, and guiding of policies and standards throughout Government Ministries and agencies and facilitating access to public information for citizens and the media.

The Ministry of Public Administration and Communication leads Government communications.

National AIDS Coordinating Committee (NACC)

The National AIDS Coordinating Committee (NACC)is a multi-sectoral body established to co-ordinate the national response to HIV and AIDS.  The establishment of the committee was approved by Cabinet in February of 2016 following the decision to return the responsibility for co-ordination of the national response to the Office of the Prime Minister.

 

The committee comprises of representatives from government ministries, persons living with HIV/AIDS, civil society, faith based organisations, academic and research institutions, trade unions, private sector, youth, the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) and UN organisations.  The NACC will be operational for an initial period of two years and will be supported by a Secretariat in the Office of the Prime Minister.

 

The mandate of the NACC inter alia is to:

  • Build and deepen multi-sectoral partnership with the public, private and non-government sectors to achieve national commitment, support and ownership of the response to HIV and AIDS
  • Determine the future evolution of the NACC into a statutory body
  • Co-ordinate and support activities pursuant to the reduction of the people’s susceptibility to HIV and AIDS
  • Establish goals and targets of the priority strategic areas
  • Monitor and evaluate the implementation and attainment of national goals, objectives and targets with respect to HIV and AIDS as identified in the national strategic plan
  • Define a national HIV policy and provide guidance on sectoral policies
  • Champion and accelerate the legislative agenda required to support HIV and AIDS responses, programmes and plans
  • Undertake multidisciplinary research on issues related to the social, economic and psychological antecedents and impacts of HIV and AIDS on individuals, families, communities, businesses and other sectors
  • Build the capacity of stakeholders to mount an effective response
  • Co-ordinate and provide guidance on the activities of HIV co-ordinators in the various ministries
  • Approve budgets and funding required

 

The goals of the National Strategic Plan 2013 to 2018 are: to reduce the incidence of HIV infections in Trinidad and Tobago; to mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS on persons living with and affected by HIV and AIDS  and to reduce HIV and AIDS related stigma and discrimination in Trinidad and Tobago.

National Awards Committee

National Awards are presented annually to commemorate the anniversary of the independence of Trinidad and Tobago. It is overseen by a National Awards Committee who selects persons nominated by members of the public, deemed suitable for National Awards based on selection criteria. The Committee then presents a shortened list to the honourable Prime Minister for his consideration.

National Security Council

The National Security Council (NSC) consists of the Prime Minister as Chairperson, the Attorney General, the Minister of National Security, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Energy and Energy Affairs, the Minister of the People and Social Development and one other

Minister appointed at the discretion of the Prime Minister. Senior members of the Protective Services can be co-opted to attend meetings of the NSC.

The National Security Council is charged with the responsibility of monitoring matters relating to defence and national security and is serviced by a Secretariat comprising staff employed to assist the Council in the execution of its duties.

Parliamentary Affairs

The Prime Minister is the leader in the House of the party which commands the support of the majority of members of that House. He is expected, along with other ministers, to ensure the passage of bills through the legislature.

Protocols of the State

The Prime Minister is advised on the application of conventions, formalities, courtesies and roles of official protocol and etiquette in respect of state, official and social occasions.

It involves the planning, arranging and execution of programmes for visiting Heads of State, Heads of Government and other High Ranking Officials.

Public Holidays

Public holidays are authorised by law and limit work or official business on those dates.  Therefore all government offices, banks, and most businesses are closed on public holidays in Trinidad and Tobago.

At the discretion of the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, any other date may also be declared a public holiday.

Sport and Culture Fund

The Sport and Culture Fund was established by Act No. 31 of 1988 with amendments articulated in Act. No. 25 of 1993.

The purpose of the Fund, as stated in Section 4 of the Act is as follows:

    1. To facilitate the provision of sporting and cultural facilities;
    2. To enable grants and loans to be made to deserving individuals, groups and organisations according to criteria prescribed by the Board;
    3. To undertake any other activity related to Sport and Culture; and
    4. To undertake or do all such things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the above purposes

The goals and objectives of the Fund are:

  1. To encourage and to facilitate the promotion of excellence in Sport and Culture by individuals and organisations involved in activities related thereto;
  2. To assist in the nurturing and development of human and technical resource capabilities in Sport and Culture;
  3. To encourage self-reliance of groups, associations and individuals;
  4. To facilitate the provision and upgrading of facilities for sporting and cultural activities; and
  5. To facilitate the promotion or research and development and to determine the feasibility of undertaking projects relating to Sport and Culture.

The Board will from time to time determine priority areas which it may wish to pursue in the development of Sport and Culture. Such priority areas include but are not limited to:

  1. Groups
    • Community Development – Cultural and Sporting activities beneficial to wider community
    • Training and Development in areas of Sport and Culture
    • Facilities – Construction of buildings to facilitate Sporting and Cultural activities
  1. Individuals
  • Education
  • Youth
  • National Development

Assistance will be given solely in the form of grants as deemed appropriate by the Board. Funding is received from the Instant Lottery Surplus of the National Lotteries Control Board, a Board established under Section 3 of the National Lotteries Act. The Instant Lottery Surplus is the amount realised after defraying all the expenses and payments of prize money from the proceeds received from each instant lottery – Scratch game.