The presidency

Role and Functions of the President

The Office of President is quasi-ceremonial in nature. Many, but not all, of the roles and functions of the President are enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.


Below are some of the main functions of the President:

  • Head of State
  • Executive authority of Trinidad and Tobago is vested in the President
  • Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces: TT Defence Force (TT Regiment, TT Coast Guard, TT Air Guard, TT Defence Force Reserves)
  • Custodian of all state land and handles leases, after consultation with the Office of the Solicitor General
  • Appointment of the Prime Minister (PM)
  • Appointment of the Leader of the Opposition (LOP)
  • Makes the following appointments, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister:
  • Attorney General
    • Ministers (and allocation of their portfolios)
    • Parliamentary Secretaries (and allocation of their portfolios)

  • Appointment of Senators
    • 16 in accordance with advice of PM
    • 6 in accordance with advice of LOP
    • 9 in his own discretion

  • Assent to Bills passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate before they can become law. When the bill is assented to, it becomes an act.
  • Proclaim certain pieces of legislation
  • Power of pardon, stay of execution, reduced form of punishment, remittance of full/part of sentence expressed through the Mercy Committee or the Advisory Committee on Pardon
  • Proclaim/issue proclamation on commencement of sessions of Parliament
  • Proclaim state of public emergency
  • Hosts National Awards Function annually as Chancellor of the Order. Recommendations made by the PM. National Awards Committee chaired by the Chief Justice.
  • Issue/make Orders
  • Receives Ambassador/High Commissioner-delegates for Presentation of Credentials
  • Appointment of High Commissioners/Ambassadors, in accordance with the advice of the PM. Credentials are signed by H.E. to go to the corresponding receiving Head of State
  • Prorogues/dissolves Parliament in accordance with advice of PM
  • Appointments of Commissions of Enquiry, in accordance with the advice of the PM
  • Is informed by the PM concerning matters of government (tradition of weekly meetings on a Wednesday morning, currently takes place on Tuesday mornings)
  • Is kept abreast by the Chief of Defence Staff as Commander-in-Chief
  • (Informal) Patron to many organizations eg. Chief Scout
  • In the absence of the President, or if the office of President is vacant, the President of the Senate acts temporarily as President. Where the President of the Senate is unable to act, the Speaker of the House acts as President
  • Makes the following appointments, after consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition:
    • Chief Justice
    • Ombudsman
    • Members of the Elections and Boundaries Commission
    • Members of the Environmental Commission
    • Auditor General
    • Members of the Integrity Commission
    • Members of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (JLSC)
    • Members of the Law Reform Commission
    • Members of the Police Service Commission (subject to affirmative resolution by the Parliament)
    • Members of the Public Service Commission
    • Members of the Salaries Review Commission
    • Members of the Teaching Service Commission
    • Members of the Equal Opportunity Commission
    • Members of the Public Service Appeal Board
    • Law Reform Commission
    • Environmental Commission
    • Police Service Commission (subject to affirmative resolution by the Parliament)

  • Makes the following appointment, after consultation with the Chief Justice:
    • President of the Industrial Court

  • Makes the following appointments, in accordance with the advice of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission:
    • Justices of the Appeal and Puisne Judges
  • Appointment of the Advisory Committee on the power of pardon
  • Appointment of Tribunals
  • Appointment of Statutory and other boards, such as:
    • Statutory Authorities Appeal Board
    • National Insurance Appeals Tribunal
    • Registration, Recognition and Certification Board
    • Mediation Board

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Oath of Office to Mr. Nizam Mohammed, Mr. Addison Masefield Khan, Mr. Martin Anthony George, Mrs. Jacqueline Cheeseman and Mr. Kenneth Michael Parker as Members of the Police Service Commission.
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