Trinidad and Tobago is a multicultural nation with two main ethnicities comprising over 60% of the population (East Indian 34.5% and African 34.2%) (CIA Factbook 2021). The debate around issues of diversity and multiculturalism in the country is dominated by these two ethnic groups, and often marginalizes other smaller groups. Key policy debates in this area focus on the issues of national representation and equality in decision-making. However, other national issues such as the allocation of social services and funding to social and cultural organizations within the two major groups sometimes take precedence (Taylor 2012).
Trinidad and Tobago is one of the few developing countries, and the first Caribbean state to adopt an official multicultural policy. This was institutionalized through the creation of the Ministry of the Arts and Multiculturalism (Taylor 2012). However, this policy has been brought down to negate issues of funding and was not successful in engaging the population in a meaningful debate around issues of integration, and diversity.
Trinidad and Tobago have achieved an overall ICDI score of 0.53. Scores above 0.7 in the components of attitudes, inclusion, freedom, and rights contribute to a relatively favourable opportunities dimension. Scores at and above 0.4 in the components of multiculturalism and anti-discrimination contribute to a moderate legislative dimension. In contrast, lower scores in the components of social contact and access to communication relate to a relatively weaker structural dimension. A score of 0 in the component of social contact reflects an absence of intergroup contact and cultural participation.
Current Situation and Outlook
Compared to a relatively positive situation around its opportunities dimension, Trinidad and Tobago have lower scores in relation to its legislative and structural dimensions. These particularly relate to the components of social contact, access to communication and multiculturalism. Trinidad and Tobago’s ICDI score could improve with more attention to creating platforms for social contact which encourage intergroup contact and intercultural participation. It could also focus on strengthening its multicultural acts and policies to strengthen its legislative dimension further, which could aid in preserving existing indigenous and immigrant languages.