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Trinidad & Tobago - Ministry of National Security

The Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force was formed in 1962 and comprises a unit of land forces called the Regiment, a naval unit called the Coast Guard, and an air unit calle the Air Wing or Air Guard. The force is civilian controlled and has as its controlling body, the Defence Council. This body is charged with the command, administration and discipline of the force.

The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) falls under the Ministry of National Security. The TTPS functions in accordance with the Police Service Act Chapter 15:01. Over 6,500 police officers (in varying ranks) and special reserve police support the mandate of the Act. The TTPS is organized into nine divisions and 18 branches, squads, and units: Community Police, Police Complaints, Special Branch, Guard and Emergency Branch, Criminal Investigation Division and Criminal Records Office, Organized Crime and Narcotics Unit, Homicide, Fraud Squad, Court and Process, Police Band, Mounted and Canine Branch, Police Training College, E-999, Traffic and Highway Patrol Branch, Transport and Telecom, Criminal Gangs Intelligence Unit (CGIU), and the Cybercrime Unit.

In 1959 The Ministry of National Security was first known as the Ministry of Home Affairs. This Ministry evolved from the Colonial System of Government and was inaugurated in June 1959. The Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force was established in 1962 under the Defence Force Act 14:01 and was given the following responsibilities:

  1. To defend the sovereign good of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
  2. To cooperate with and assist the civil power in maintaining law and order
  3. To assist the civil authorities in times of crisis or disaster
  4. To perform ceremonial functions on behalf of the State
  5. To provide Search and Rescue services in keeping with national requirements and under international agreements to:
    • assist in the prevention of trafficking of narcotics and other illegal goods
    • monitor the safety of shipping in national waters
    • assist in the development of the national community

The TTDF is one of the largest Military forces in the English speaking Caribbean.

The Ministry of National Security was first known as the Ministry of Home Affairs. This Ministry evolved from the Colonial System of Government and was inaugurated in June 1959. The Ministry of Home Affairs was given the responsibility for the administration of:

  • The Police Service
  • The Social Services Department (Public Assistance, Old Age, the Co-operative Department and Community Development)
  • The Immigration Service
  • The District Administration Services
  • The Cadet Corps Movement
  • The Government Printery

In 1961, fllowing the 1961 General Elections, the portfolios assigned to the Ministry of Home Affairs were amended to include:

  • The Maintenance of law and order and the administration of the Police Force (now the Police Service)
  • The administration of the Probation and the Prison Services
  • The administration of the Immigration Services
  • The administration of the Cadet Corps Movement
  • The issue of Marriage Licences and Missionary Permits
  • Advising the Governor General on the exercise of Mercy.

The Ministry was no longer responsible for:

  • The Social Services Department (Public Assistance, Old Age, the Co-operative Department and Community Development)
  • The District Administration Services
  • The Government Printery

In 1962 the attainment of Independence served as a catalyst for the Organisation to focus on the following new services as dictated by the Constitution:

  • The Defence Force:
  • The Trinidad and Tobago Regiment
  • The Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard
  • The Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service

In 1970 the Probation Department was removed from the aegis of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry was renamed the Ministry of National Security. The Ministry of National Security now included the following Divisions:

  • General Administration
  • Immigration Division
  • Strategic Services Agency
  • Trinidad and Tobago Cadet Force
  • Trinidad and Tobago Forensic Science Centre
  • National Emergency Management Agency
  • Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force
  • Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service
  • National Security Council Secretariat
  • Trinidad and Tobago Police Service
  • Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service

In 1979 the Joint Services Staff College was established in recognition of the need to upgrade the efficiency of the Protective Services in the context of the rapidly changing social and political environment and was added to the Ministry of National Security portfolio. In 2001 the Joint Services Staff College was removed from the Ministry of National Security.

The Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Headquarters is the Co-ordinating Centre for the units that make up the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force, which include the Regiment, Coast Guard and the Volunteers. The Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Headquarters (HQ) is based at Airways Road, Chaguaramas, Trinidad, West Indies.

The Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Steel Orchestra was formed in June 1995, under the guidance of Warrant Officer Class 1 Earl Wright (deceased) and on the initiative of the former Chief of Defence Staff, Brigadier Carl C.A. Alfonso. The first leader of the steel orchestra was, Sergeant Cecil James (retired). The first major undertaking was in July of the same year, when the band participated in the National Pan Ramajay Competition, placing fifth out of ten finalist.

In 1996 the orchestra entered the ‘Pan Is Beautiful’ Music Festival as a conventional band, and did quite well, winning the prize for the best calypso and placing third overall. The rest of the year was spent doing charity engagements both for service personnel and civilians. The year 1997 started off very successfully for the orchestra, with a first attempt at the National Panorama; competition for traditional steel orchestras, it placed first playing "Mirror Mirror", a tune composed by calypsonian "Crazy" and arranged by Eddie Qualees, a renowned musical arranger. In June of that year the orchestra was invited by the 33rd Regiment French Forces in the Antilles, to perform at their 1st anniversary celebrations in Martinique, this was the first in what has now become an annual event for the orchestra, having returned in 1998, 1999 and 2000.

Between the years 1997 to 1999 the band participated in the St. Peter's Day competition in the Traditional Band category and achieved a hat-trick playing ‘Amazing Grace’, ‘What a Friend we have in Jesus’ and ‘Blessed Assurance’ respectively, all songs arranged by Robert Tobitt, a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Steel Orchestra. As a result of the bands"' outstanding performance they were invited to perform at the internationally acclaimed Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 1997. The orchestra became the only marching military steel orchestra in the world, performing nightly before an audience of over ten thousand. The outcome was an outstanding success.

The band also became the first steel orchestra to lead an armed contingent of troops on a ceremonial parade, when on it's return from Scotland it made it's first appearance on the annual Independence Anniversary Parade. More success came in 1998 when the orchestra having entered the Music Festival for a second time as a conventional band, emerged joint winners. In November 1999 the orchestra was invited to perform at the Anzac Military Tattoo in Sydney Australia, where it rendered another creditable performance.

In the year 2000 the orchestra placed first in the National Panorama competition, again in the Traditional bands category, when it rendered ‘A Tribute to Aldwin Roberts’ The Lord Kitchener, a sure sign that the orchestra is indeed a force to recon with. In January 2002 the orchestra was invited to perform in Bremen Germany. There they performed before thousands with outstanding success. In 2002 the orchestra entered into the World Steelband music Festival where they placed fourth in the world.





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