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The National Flag

 “.......Your National Flag has been hoisted, to the strains of your National Anthem, against the background of your National Coat of Arms, and amidst the beauty and profusion of your National Flower.....

“Our National Flag belongs to all our citizens. Our national Coat of Arms, with our National Birds inscribed therein, is the sacred trust of all our citizens. So it is today. Please, I urge you, let it always be so. Let us always be able to say, with the Psalmist, behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”

Prime Minister, Dr. Eric Williams’s Broadcast to the Nation Independence Day,

August 31, 1962.



On May 28, 1962 the historic Independence Conference between the British Government and the delegations representing the Colony of Trinidad and Tobago took place at Malborough House in London.

On June 8, 1962 the Right Honourable the Secretary of State for the Colonies announced from London that it had been decided at the Conference that the Colony was to be granted Independence on August 31, 1962.

This new status of nationhood meant that Trinidad and Tobago would need to have its distinctive national emblems, a National Flag and Coat of Arms by which it would be identified universally.

A committee which had been appointed by Government to advise on the design of the Flag and the Coat of Arms of the new Nation, to choose a Motto for it, and to consider suggestions from the public on these matters, submitted its report on June 26. Cabinet immediately approved the report, and a picture of the National Flag was published.


The national flag was designed by the Independence Committee and selected to be used as the National Flag in 1962. Its colours are Red, White and Black.

Meaning of the Flag

Red is the colour most expressive of our country. It represents the vitality of the land and its people; it is the warmth and energy of the sun, the courage and friendliness of the people.

White is the sea by which these lands are bound: the cradle of our heritage; the purity of our aspirations and the equality of all men and women under the sun.

The Black represents for us the dedication of the people joined together by one strong bond. It is the colour of strength, of unity, of purpose and of the wealth of the land.

The colours chosen represent the elements Earth, Water and Fire which encompass all our past, present and future and inspire us as one united, vital, free and dedicated people.


The official description of the Flag reads as follows:

“On a Red Field, a Bend Dexter Sable bordered Silver; that is to say, there is on the Red Field a diagonal from left to right in Black bordered with White. The width of the Black and White bands joined side by side at the upper dexter corner of the Flag is one-fifth of the width of the White and Black bands together. The width of the Black is therefore four-sixths of the total width of the White and Black”.

The Black and White diagonals must always point to the peak of the staff.

“The dimensions of the National Flag shall be in the proportions of five to three (5:3). For flags carried at sea the dimensions shall be two to one (2:1)”.

Special Days for Flying the National Flag

The dates of special significance for this country on which the National Flag may be flown freely by all citizens are as follows:

1. Independence Day 31st August.

2. Republic Day 24th September.

3. Remembrance Day 2nd Sunday in November.

4. Any other date that may be prescribed from time to time.

President’s Residences

1. The President’s Standard is a personal standard and should fly continuously, day and night, as long as His Excellency is in residence.

2. The President’s Standard should be lowered as His Excellency leaves the grounds of Government House only when he is to be away for the night. One such day when His Excellency is to be away for the night, his Standard is, immediately on his departure, replaced by the National Flag between the hours of 6:00am and 6:00pm. On His Excellency’s return, as he enters the grounds, his Standard is hoisted and the National Flag (if flying) lowered.

3. When the National Flag is flown in place of the President’s Standard it should be lowered at 6pm and hoisted again at 6am daily. The National Flag should be flown from the same mast as that used for the President’s Standard.

4. On the special days of national significance listed in section III above the National Flag should be flown together with the President’s Standard to the left of it and at the same height on a separate flagstaff. When the National Flag is flown with the President’s Standard it should be hoisted at 6am and lowered at 6pm.

5. The President’s Standard being a personal standard should never be flown at half-mast except in the event of the death of the President. When occasion demands that a flag be flown at half-mast, the National Flag should be used.

Prime Minister’s Official Residence

The National Flag should be flown daily from 6am to 6pm at the Prime Minister’s official residence.

Government Buildings

The National Flag should be flown daily during working hours on or in precincts of important Government Buildings. On the special days for the display of the Flag listed in section III above, the Flag should be flown from 8am to 6pm.

Educational Institutions

The National Flag should be flown on school days on or in the precincts of all state and state-aided educational institutions from 8am to closing time. On the first day of the term the flag should be ceremonial hoisted and on the last day, ceremonial lowered. In this context the term “ceremonially” should be taken to mean in the presence of all students assembled and with the singing of the National Anthem.

Motor Cars

The undermentioned persons may, besides their own distinctive flags, fly the National Flag on their official or private cars when occupied by them for travelling on official duty: At other times the National Flag on such cars should be removed or sheathed.

1. The Prime Minister

2. The President of the State

3. The Speaker of the House of Representatives

4. Members of Cabinet

5. Heads of the Country’s Permanent Overseas Missions.

The Flag should be on a staff firmly affixed to the right fender of the car, the staff being of sufficient height to ensure that the Flag does not touch the body of the car.


1. The National Flag must not be dipped to any person or thing; this hour will be rendered by the Defence Force Colours or where appropriate by the flags of institutions, organizations, etc.

2. The National Flag should not be used for purposes of adornment or advertising. It should not be printed or embroidered otherwise reproduced on such articles as handkerchiefs, uniforms or clothing of any kind, or furniture, cushions, etc. It should not be printed or otherwise impressed on paper boxes or napkins or anything intended for temporary use and discard. It should not be used as any part of a disguise costume.

3. The Flag should not have placed on it or attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, work, figure, design, picture or drawing. It should not be used as a commercial trade mark. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the National Flag is flown.

4. The Flag should not to be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying or delivering anything.

5. The Flag should not be festooned over doorways, arches, etc., or tied in a bowknot, or fashioned into a rosette, or used as drapings. It should not be drawn back or drawn up in folds but always allowed to fall free.

6. The Flag should not be displayed, used or stored in such a manner as would permit it to be easily torn, soiled or damaged in any way.

7. The Flag should not be used as a covering for a ceiling.

8. The Flag should not be allowed to touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.