Trinidad and Tobago: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Trinidad and Tobago, petroleum based economy, La Brea tar pits, exports.



Increasing racial and labor unrest has marred Trinidad and Tobago's relative stability. Black power groups have become active, and a guerrilla group, the National Union of Freedom Fighters (NUFF) maintains a running battle with the Government. Although the incumbent People's National Movement is largely black, the guerrillas (also black) insist that the real power is in the hands of the white foreign investors who control the principal sources of national wealth--oil, insurance, banking, natural gas, sugar. Bank holdups and raids on police stations for arms have become common. In addition, East Indians complain of job discrimination, believing that government and private hiring policies favor blacks.

The economy is dominated by petroleum, which accounts for 80% of all exports. Considerable oil is also imported, to be refined in Trinidad's vast refinery complex. Amoco, Tesoro, Shell, and Texaco dominate the oil industry along with British Petroleum.

Pitch Lake, near La Brea on Trinidad, is 105 acres of warm gray tar, the result of an oil seepage. Trinidad exports the natural asphalt formed there without visibly depleting the supply. Visitors can walk on the yielding surface of the lake--an eerie experience as it gives slightly beneath one's feet.

Angostura Bitters, one of Trinidad's most famous exports, has been produced by the same family since its invention in 1824. The secret recipe, known to only 4 people, was for years relayed orally. At last written out for safety's sake, the sheet was torn in 2 and the halves placed in separate banks. The 4 who share the secret never travel together in the same conveyance, and only they may enter the secret room where the formula is mixed once a week. The U.S. imports half of all the Bitters produced.

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