Trinidad and Tobago

Name of law: The Freedom of Information Act First adopted: 1999 Last modified: n/a RTI Rating last updated: n/a


Trinidad's law has several strengths, including a broad scope and somewhat effective promotional mechanism. However its biggest structural weakness is that, rather than a specialist body, appeals against refusals are channeled to the Ombudsman. This institution lacks the structural framework to effectively perform this function. The Ombudsman's unease in this role is reinforced by their website, which repeatedly urges users to try and handle matters themselves rather than coming to them with a complaint. Other problems with the law include vague rules surrounding fees and the fact that many exceptions are not harm tested. It bears mentioning that we were unfortunately unable to obtain help from a local expert for this country, however our reviewer conducted supplemental research and was able to locate further information, including the Ombudsman Act, and as a result we remain fairly confident in the accuracy of this result.