Delimitation of Electoral Districts or Constituencies
The delimitation of electoral districts or constituencies is influenced by the growth and shifts in the population. It is conducted in accordance with Section 72 and the Second Schedule of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in the case of Parliamentary Elections. In regard to elections at the level of the Municipal Corporations and that of the Tobago House of Assembly, the legal instruments by which the Commission is guided are the Elections and Boundaries Commission (Local Government) Act Ch. 25:50 (Act No. 18 of 1967), the Municipal Corporations Act 1990 (Act No. 37 of 1980) and their amendments.
The Commission is obliged to submit reports to Parliament on its recommendations in respect of the number of electoral districts and the descriptions of the boundaries of each district defined for Parliamentary, Local Government and Tobago House of Assembly elections.
These reports and their frequency are as follows:-
- Parliamentary Elections: Not less than two years nor more than five years after the last report was submitted.
- Local Government (Municipal) Elections: Not less than two years nor more than three years after the last report was submitted.
- Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Elections: Not less than two years nor more than four years after the last report was submitted.
Parliamentary Electoral Districts
For the purposes of Parliamentary elections, the country is divided into 41 electoral districts or constituencies: thirty nine (39) in Trinidad and two (2) in Tobago. With respect to the delimitation of constituencies the Constitution provides as follows: “In Trinidad and in Tobago, respectively, the electorate in any constituency shall not be more than one hundred and ten percent nor be less than ninety percent of the total electorate of the island divided by the number of constituencies in that island.”
The forty-one (41) Parliamentary Electoral Districts are:
- Barataria/San Juan
- Caroni Central
- Caroni East
- Chaguanas East
- Chaguanas West
- Couva North
- Couva South
- Diego Martin Central
- Diego Martin North/East
- Diego Martin West
- La Brea
- La Horquetta/Talparo
- Laventille East/Morvant
- Laventille West
- Lopinot/Bon Air West
- Oropouche East
- Oropouche West
- Point Fortin
- Port-Of-Spain North/St. Ann’s West
- Port-Of-Spain South
- Princes Town
- San Fernando East
- San Fernando West
- Ann’s East
- Toco/Sangre Grande
- Tobago East
- Tobago West
Local Government Elections in Trinidad
For the purposes of local government, Trinidad is at present divided into (a) Municipal Corporation Electoral Areas and (b) Regional Municipal Corporation Electoral Areas. Five (5) cities and boroughs are comprised in the former, and nine (9) regional municipalities in the latter.
The names of these electoral areas and the number of electoral districts in each are provided in the following tabulation.
Municipal Corporation Electoral Areas
Cities and Boroughs
|City of Port-of-Spain||– 12 Electoral Districts|
|City of San Fernando||– 9 Electoral Districts|
|Borough of Arima||– 7 Electoral Districts|
|Borough of Point Fortin||– 6 Electoral Districts|
|Borough of Chaguanas||– 8 Electoral Districts|
Regional Municipal Corporation Electoral Areas
|Region of Couva/ Tabaquite/Talparo||– 13 Electoral Districts|
|Region of Diego Martin||– 9 Electoral Districts|
|Region of Mayaro/Rio Claro||– 6 Electoral Districts|
|Region of Penal/Debe||– 9 Electoral Districts|
|Region of Princes Town||– 9 Electoral Districts|
|Region of Sangre Grande||– 8 Electoral Districts|
|Region of San Juan/Laventille||– 12 Electoral Districts|
|Region of Siparia||– 9 Electoral Districts|
|Region of Tunapuna/Piarco||– 14 Electoral Districts|
The legislation governing local government in Trinidad comprises the Municipal Corporations Act, Act 21 of 1990: Chap 25:04 and the Elections and Boundaries Commission (Local Government) Act, Chap. 25:50 op.cit.
The second schedule of Chap. 25: 50 prescribes the rules to be followed in reviewing the number and boundaries of the electoral districts into which an electoral area is divided in order to give effect to rules in the said schedule.
According to Rule 4 of this schedule, the number of electors in an electoral district of the electoral areas of cities and boroughs “… shall be the number obtained by dividing the number of electors in the relevant electoral area by the number of electoral districts in that area, but the Commission in consideration of topographical factors vary such number, subject to the proviso, that in no case shall the number of electors in any one electoral district of an electoral area exceed or be less than the number of electors in any other electoral district of that electoral area by more than twenty-five percent.”
The number of electoral districts in an electoral area of a regional municipality is determined as follows:
“There shall be in every electoral area a basic number of four electoral districts. To this basic number shall be added the number obtained by dividing the electorate of the electoral area by 15,000; but where in any electoral area the electorate is-
- less than 15,000, there shall be five electoral districts;
- more than 15,000, any residual number left after dividing the total electorate by 15,000 shall be treated as if that number were 15,000 and one electoral district shall be added in respect of such residual number.”
In the division of the electoral districts of the electoral areas of regional municipalities “…natural boundaries such as major highways and rivers shall be used wherever possible.”
Electoral Districts in the Electoral Area of Tobago in relation to Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Elections
Section 141 A (1) of Chapter 11 A of the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago states “There shall be an Assembly for Tobago to be called “the Tobago House of Assembly”…” The relevant enabling legislation is Act No. 37 of 1980, its purpose being to make “…better provision for the administration of the Island of Tobago and the matters connected therewith.” The Assembly is a body corporate consisting of twelve (12) elected members called Assemblymen and three (3) Councillors.
For the purposes of the Tobago House of Assembly Elections the relevant legislative provision is Section 4 of the Elections and Boundaries Commission (Local Government) Act, Chap. 25:50 op.cit, as amended by the Elections and Boundaries Commission (Local Government and Tobago House of Assembly) (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2008 : Act 27 of 2008. Thereby, Tobago is divided into twelve electoral districts. In delimiting electoral districts the number of electors in any such district may be varied “…provided that in no case shall the number of electors in any one electoral district of an electoral area exceed or be less than the number of electors in any other electoral district of that electoral area by more than twenty-five percent.”
The twelve (12) Electoral Districts are:
- Bacolet/Mount. St. George
- Belle Garden/Goodwood
- Bethel/Mt. Irvine
- Black Rock/Whim/Spring Garden
- Buccoo/Mount Pleasant
- Canaan/Bon Accord
- Lambeau/Signal Hill
- Parlatuvier/ L’Anse Fourmi/Speyside
- Plymouth/Golden Lane
- Providence/ Mason Hall/Moriah
- Scarborough/ Calder Hall
Submission of Reports to Parliament
As stated previously the Commission is mandated by law to submit reports on the review of the boundaries for Parliamentary, Local Government, and Tobago House of Assembly elections within certain specified periods. Such Parliamentary reports are by law required to be submitted to the Prime Minister and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives; and, in respect of Local Government and Tobago House of Assembly elections, to the Minister responsible for Local Government.
Soon after such a report is submitted, the relevant Minister “…lays before the House of Representatives for its approval the draft of an Order by the President for giving effect, whether with or without modification, to the recommendations contained in the report….”