There is a compulsory school for children aged 5 to 12 years. Primary and secondary school is free. The primary school is 6 years old. High school is 5 or 7 years old. There are several colleges and the West Indian University with headquarters in Jamaica has faculties in the country. There are also a number of private colleges.
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Manning won the parliamentary elections in October 2002 – the third victory in less than 2 years. The election gave PNM 20 of the 36 seats while Panday got 16.
Maxwell Richards was inducted as president in March 2003, after being nominated by the Electoral College.
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In August 2003, 8,000 workers lost their jobs when the state-run sugar factory Caroni was closed. It was one of the largest in the country.
In February 2004, an initiative was launched to make the Port of Spain bilingual. The city is a candidate to become the headquarters of the American Free Trade Initiative, and 18 of the 34 countries on the American continent have Spanish as their main language.
In September 2005, Manning asked for help from the London Metropolitan Police in the United Kingdom and the FBI in the United States to fight and resolve a wave of homicides in the country. In October, at least 10,000 people participated in a so-called death march against the rising number of homicides in the country.
Trinidad and Tobago flag source: Countryaah.com
Former Prime Minister Panday was sentenced in April 2006 to two years in prison for concealing information about his own bank accounts abroad while serving as Prime Minister.
In July 2007, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL) published a report on the economic predictions for the region in 2008. According to The report says growth in Trinidad and Tobago will be the highest in the Caribbean with 8%. Oil and petrochemical products continue to be the mainstay of the country’s economy, and the contribution from this sector will begin to decline in 2018 at the earliest.
Prime Minister Manning declared elections in October 2007, and in the November elections, his PNM won 26 of Parliament’s 41 seats.