Trinidad and Tobago Human Rights
In January the government tabled a working document on constitutional reform before Parliament. Proposed changes included replacing the UK-based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice as the country’s highest court, and the creation of a Ministry of Justice.
Violence against women and children
In October the Leader of Government Business in the Senate announced that there had been a four-fold increase in deaths as a result of domestic violence between 2004 and 2008 and a 60 per cent increase in complaints of domestic violence over the same period. Women’s organizations acknowledged that the rise in the number of complaints may have been linked to improved police responses to reports, but noted that the government needed to do more to support survivors of domestic violence, including increasing the number of shelters.
At least 11 people were sentenced to death in 2009; no executions took place.
In July the authorities moved to execute Ronald Tiwarie, despite the fact that his appeal was pending before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. His case was deferred after his lawyers filed a constitutional motion to the High Court; the motion was pending at the end of 2009. Ronald Tiwarie remained on death row at the end of the year, despite the fact that in August his death sentence became eligible for commutation under a 1993 ruling of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council which deemed that more than five years under sentence of death would constitute inhuman and degrading treatment.