(Reuters) - Trinidad and Tobago’s economy is booming on the back of energy exports, but rising crime levels are a growing worry and there are fears the economy is overheating.
Following are key facts about the twin island Caribbean state.
- The population of 1.3 million is almost evenly divided between descendants of African slaves and those of Indian indentured servants.
- The ruling party is the People’s National Movement, dominated by ethnic Africans and led by Prime Minister Patrick Manning.
- The IMF expects the economy to have grown by about 12.5 percent in 2006, the second double-digit growth in four years.
- The energy sector makes up about 40 percent of GDP. Trinidad and Tobago supplies about 70 percent of the rapidly growing U.S. demand for liquefied natural gas.
- Unemployment is at historic lows, hitting 5.9 percent in the third quarter of 2006.
- Annual inflation hit double digits last October, rising to 10 percent, the fastest pace in 12 years. Food prices shot up 26 percent from a year earlier, with vegetable prices rocketing 63.4 percent.
- There were nearly 400 murders in each of the past two years, triple the number in 2001. The rising murder rate and a rash of kidnappings has been blamed on the growing influence of the South American drug trade and weak policing.
(Sources: IMF, Trinidad government ministries)
Compiled by Stuart Grudgings in Port of Spain