Religion in Trinidad and Tobago

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Trinidad and Tobago is a multi-religious nation. The largest religious groups are the Protestant Christians (including Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodist, Evangelicals, Pentecostals and Baptist), Roman Catholic Christians, Hindus, and Muslims. Two Afro-Caribbean syncretic faiths, the Shouter or Spiritual Baptists and the Orisha faith (formerly called Shangos, a less than complimentary term) are among the fastest growing religious groups. The fastest growing groups are a host of American-style Evangelical and Fundamentalist churches usually grouped as "Pentecostal" by most Trinidadians (although this designation is often inaccurate). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (known as "Mormons") has also expanded its presence in the country since the late 1970s.[1]

According to the 2011 Census, 33.4% of the population was Protestant (including 12.0% Pentecostal, 5.7% Anglican, 4.1% Seventh-day Adventist, 3.0% Presbyterian or Congregational, 1.2% Baptist, and 0.1% Methodist), 21.5% was Roman Catholic, 14.1% was Hindu and 8% were Muslim. A small number of individuals subscribed to traditional Caribbean religions with African roots, such as the Spiritual Baptists (sometimes called Shouter Baptists) (5.7%); and the Orisha (0.1%). The smaller groups were Jehovah's Witnesses (1.5%) and unaffiliated (2.2%). There is also a small Buddhist community on the island.[2]

Afro-Caribbean syncretic groups[edit]

  • Spiritual Baptist
    • National Evangelical Spiritual Baptist
    • West Indies Spiritual Sacred Order
    • Royal Priesthood Spiritual Baptist Archdiocese of Trinidad and Tobago and the Western Hemisphere (under the Leadership of the Archbishop & Founder Addelon Braveboy, the Episkopos Bishop of all the Churches of the Royal Priesthood)
    • King of Kings Spiritual Baptist, Faith Ministries International Church of the Royal Priesthood
    • Solomon Healing Temple, Church of the Royal Priesthood.
    • St Francis Divine Healing Temple, Church of the Royal Priesthood
    • St Philomena Mystical Court, Church of the Royal Priesthood
  • Santería
  • Orisha also known as Shango or Ifá
    • Ojubo Orisa Omolu - Ose'tura Ifa Temple of Light.
  • Rastafari

Baháʼí Faith[edit]

The Baháʼí Faith in Trinidad and Tobago begins with a mention by `Abdu'l-Bahá, then head of the religion, in 1916 as the Caribbean was among the places Baháʼís should take the religion to.[3] The first Baháʼí to visit came in 1927[4] while pioneers arrived by 1956[5] and the first Baháʼí Local Spiritual Assembly was elected in 1957[6] In 1971 the first Baháʼí National Spiritual Assembly was elected.[7] A count of the community then noted 27 assemblies with Baháʼís living in 77 locations.[8] Since then Baháʼís have participated in several projects for the benefit of the wider community and in 2005/10 various sources report near 1.2% of the country,[9] about 10[10]–16,000[11] citizens, are Baháʼís.

Hindu groups[edit]

The Hanuman Temple at Carapichaima.

Islamic groups[edit]

A Mosque in Montrose, Chaguanas.

Jewish groups[edit]

Jewish settlement in Trinidad and Tobago dates back to the 17th century when a number of Jewish merchants from Suriname settled in the 1660s, when the island was still under Spanish control. By the 1790s, when it passed into British hands, the community had disappeared from record.[12]

In the 19th century a small number of Sephardi Jewish families from Curaçao settled in Trinidad but left no trace of an organised community.[13] In the late 1930s an estimated six hundred East European Jews settled in Trinidad, mainly Port of Spain, escaping the growth of Nazism in the region. The settlers established synagogues in rented houses in the capital and consecrated a Jewish cemetery. After World War Two the majority of Trinidadian Jews migrated to the United States, Israel, and Canada. In 2007 an estimated 55 Jews lived in Trinidad and Tobago.[14]

Seventh-day Adventists[edit]

The Caribbean Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church recognizes 620 churches holding a membership of 236, 257 Adventists in Trinidad and Tobago, as of October 3, 2016.[15] Because Seventh-day Adventists consider spiritual well-being to be holistic, there are notable contributions to the healthcare system, such as the Community Hospital of Seventh-day Adventists in Port of Spain, Trinidad.[16] The University of the Southern Caribbean (formerly Caribbean Union College) is a Seventh-day Adventist educational facility providing Christian education to undergraduate and graduate students on the island of Trinidad.[17]

Freedom of religion[edit]

The constitution of Trinidad and Tobago establishes the freedom of religion and prohibits religious discrimination. An anti-blasphemy law is part of the legal code but is not enforced.[18]

Religious groups may register with the government in order to be able to perform marriages, sponsor missionaries, or accept tax-exempt donations.[18]

Voluntary religious instruction is available as part of the public school curriculum. The government subsidizes religious private schools affiliated with Christian, Muslim, and Hindu groups.[18]

In 2017, Trinidad and Tobago set a uniform minimum marriage age of 18 years. Previously, different age limits were enforced for different religious groups. While many organizations (and particularly religiously affiliated women's organizations) welcomed this change, some religious organizations such as the orthodox Hindu organization Sanatan Dharma Maha Saba stated that they would oppose the law on the grounds that it infringes on religious freedom.[18]

The government of Trinidad and Tobago hosts the Inter-Religious Organization, an interfaith coordinating committee with representatives from 25 religious groups, including Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Orisha and Baháʼí groups. Chaplains from the various religious denominations present in Trinidad Tobago are able to provide religious services to inmates in prisons.[18]

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago provides substantial subventions to religious groups. In 2003 [1] the government provided TT$ 420,750 to religious groups.


  1. ^ United States Department of State
  2. ^ 2011 census
  3. ^ Abbas, `Abdu'l-Bahá; Mirza Ahmad Sohrab; trans. and comments (April 1919). Tablets, Instructions and Words of Explanation.
  4. ^ Universal House of Justice (1986). In Memoriam. The Baháʼí World. XVIII. Baháʼí World Centre. pp. 733–736. ISBN 0-85398-234-1.
  5. ^ "The Guardian's Message to the Forty-Eighth Annual Baha'i Convention". Bahá'í News. No. 303. May 1956. pp. 1–2.
  6. ^ "First Local Spiritual Assembly…". Bahá'í News. No. 321. November 1957. p. 8.
  7. ^ "A Year of Progress in Trinidad". Bahá'í News. No. 480. March 1971. pp. 8–9.
  8. ^ "Outstanding Achievements, Goals". Bahá'í News. No. 484. July 1971. p. 3.
  9. ^ "International > Regions > Caribbean > Trinidad and Tobago > Religious Adherents". 2010. Retrieved 2013-06-13.
  10. ^ "The History of the Bahá'í Faith in Trinidad and Tobago". The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahai´s of Trinidad and Tobago. 2010. Retrieved June 8, 2013.
  11. ^ "Most Baha'i Nations (2005)". 2005. Retrieved 2008-12-04.
  12. ^ Siegel, Alisa (2015). "Judaism - Trinidad". In Taylor, Patrick (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Caribbean Religions. University of Illinois Press. pp. 459–461. ISBN 9780252094330.
  13. ^ Arbell, Mordehay (2002). The Jewish Nation of the Caribbean: The Spanish-Portuguese Jewish Settlements in the Caribbean and the Guianas. Gefen Publishing House. pp. 314–316. ISBN 9789652292797.
  14. ^ Luxner, Larry (16 September 2007). "Trinidad's Jews stick together". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  15. ^ "Caribbean Union Conference - Adventist Online Yearbook". Seventh-day Adventist Church - Office of Archives, Statistics and Research. General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  16. ^ "Community Hospital of Seventh-day Adventists - Adventist Organizational Directory". Seventh-day Adventist Church - Office of Archives, Statistics and Research. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  17. ^ "Home". University of the Southern Caribbean. University of the Southern Caribbean. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  18. ^ a b c d e International Religious Freedom Report 2017 Trinidad and Tobago, US Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.