Trinidad and Tobago has had two Constitutions. The environment or the natural resources were not mentioned in any constitution, including the amendments.
The Environmental Management Act, 2000 sets in its Preamble that “management and conservation of the environment and the impact of environmental conditions on human health constitute a shared responsibility and benefit for everyone in the society requiring co-operation and co-ordination of public and private sector activities” and that “the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is committed to developing a national strategy for sustainable development, being the balance of economic growth with environmentally sound practices, in order to enhance the quality of life and meet the needs of present and future generations.”
Fourth Article of the Act refers to its objects:
(a) “promote and encourage among all persons a better understanding and appreciation of the environment;
(b) encourage the integration of environmental concerns into private and public decisions;
(c) ensure the establishment of an integrated environmental management system in which the Authority, in consultation with other persons determines priorities and facilitates co-ordination among governmental entities to effectively harmonize activities designed to protect, enhance and conserve the environment;
(d) develop and effectively implement written laws, policies and other programmes for and in relation to –
(i) the conservation and wise use of the environment to provide adequately for meeting the needs of present and future generations and enhancing the quality of life;
(ii) the Government’s commitment to achieve economic growth in accordance with sound environmental practices;
(iii) the Government’s international obligations; and
(e) enhance the legal, regulatory and institutional framework for environmental management”.
More information about environmental legislation of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is available on the Environmental Commission of Trinidad and Tobago’s website.