Strengthening Civil Society Support Mechanisms in the Hydrocarbons Sector in Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago derives significant income from oil and natural gas. Based on abundant reserves of natural gas combined with government incentives, Trinidad and Tobago has become the largest supplier of liquefied natural gas to the United States, at the same time developing an important petrochemical industry. Subsequently the EITI process was launched on 12 January 2005 by Christine Sahadeo, Minister of Finance and Eric Williams, Minister of Energy and Energy Industries. However, allegations of corruptions in the country related to the energy sector have slowed discussion of how to move ahead with the EITI process, and as the government has failed to account for its use of resources, new energy projects continue to come on line.

In recognition of the needs of civil society to engage in public policy formulation as it pertains to promoting transparency of the hydrocarbon sector of Trinidad and Tobago, RWI has engaged the Sustainable Development Network in a project to create and enhance transparency drivers in the public domain and strengthen civil society participation in decision making processes. The objective of the project is to contribute to: building civil society awareness, monitoring capacities, access to informed, non partisan information and analysis, and participation in the national development process, and to create a body of tools to support SDN and its partners in this process. The primary activities will focus on research and the creation of a hydrocarbon sector public information mapping, with the objective of cataloguing the availability of baseline information on the hydrocarbon industry, opening up debate on the policies and transparency of this sector, and creating an ongoing public discussion forum within the national arena on energy initiatives being undertaken by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.