Monday 24 June, 2019

11 rights we all have in Trinidad and Tobago

Photo by Oladimeji Odunsi on Unsplash.

Photo by Oladimeji Odunsi on Unsplash.

On December 10, 2018, the United Nations commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

As a member of the United Nations, several of these basic human rights have been enshrined within the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago.

The Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago is the supreme law of Trinidad and Tobago - any other law that is inconsistent with this Constitution is void to the extent of the inconsistency.

Here are 10 rights and freedoms which all Trinidad and Tobago citizens share, according to the Constitution:

 

1. Right to life and liberty

Under Section 4 (a) of the Constitution, all citizens have the right to "liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law".

 

2. Right to equality before the law

Under Section 4 (a) of the Constitution, all citizens have the right 'to equality before the law and the protection of the law'.

 

3. Right to respect for private and family life

Under Section 4(c) of the Constitution, all citizens have the right to respect for his/her private and family life.

 

4. Right to equal treatment from state institutions

Under Section 4(d) of the Constitution, all citizens have the right to equality of treatment from any public authority in the exercise of any functions. 

 

5. Right to expression of political views

Under Section 4(e) of the Constitution, all citizens have the right to join political parties and to express political views.

 

6. Right to education 

Under Section 4(f) of the Constitution, all parents/guardians have the right 'to provide a school of his own choice for the education of his child or ward'.

 

7. Right to freedom of movement

Under Section 4(g) of the Constitution, all citizens have the right to freedom of movement.

 

8. Right to freedom of religion

Under Section 4(g) of the Constitution, all citizens have the right to 'freedom of conscience and religious belief and observance'.

 

9. Right to freedom of expression

Under Section 4(i) of the Constitution, all citizens have the right to 'freedom of thought and expression'.

 

10. Right to freedom of assembly

Under Section 4(j) of the Constitution, all citizens have the right 'freedom of association and assembly'.

 

11. Right to freedom of the press

Under Section 4(k) of the Constitution, all citizens have the right to 'freedom of the press'.

 

Except as otherwise stated in the Chapter, and Section 54 of the Constitution, no law may 'abrogate, abridge or infringe or authorise the abrogation, abridgment or infringement of any of the rights and freedoms hereinbefore recognised and declared'.

Under Section 5(2), Parliament may not impose 'cruel and unusual treatment or punishment' or authorise or effect the 'arbitrary detention, imprisonment or exile' of any person. 

Citizens also have the right to be 'promptly' informed of the reason for being arrested or detained (S5(2)(c)(i), and the right to a legal adviser of his/her own choice (S5(2)(c)(ii)).

Citizens have the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty and the right to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal. 

If the person does not speak English, he has the right to the assistance of an interpreter in any proceedings in which he is involved (S5(2)(g).

However, Section 6 of the Constitution says nothing in Section 4 and 5 will invalidate an existing law, any enactment to an existing law, or an enactment which alters an existing law but does not detract from any of the fundamental rights listed above. 

For the full document see here: https://bit.ly/2Eok1gp

How well do you know T&T's Constitution?

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: