Protecting Intellectual Property & Environmental Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Trinidad & Tobago







news release


Editor’s Instructions: - For further information please contact ; (868) 353-7339


Issued:  7th February, 2019                                                            For Release: Immediately



 Indigenous Peoples Training Workshop on Intellectual Property & Environmental Rights


The University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine Campus, Faculty of Law (FOL), International Human Rights Clinic (FOL IHRC), will be hosting a Training Workshop on Protecting the Intellectual Property and Environmental Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Trinidad and Tobago. This is the fourth event of the FOL IHRC, Human Rights Project entitled 'Strengthening Trinidad and Tobago’s Human Rights Capacity through Innovative Legal Education Delivery', and it will take place on Saturday 23rd February, 2019 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Social Sciences Conference Lounge, The UWI, St. Augustine Campus. 


It is now widely acknowledged that the indigenous peoples of our world have a unique and valuable approach to existence, which demonstrates creativity, conservation and utility, prioritizing harmony with the environment and even a spiritual connection with the land. This is exhibited particularly in their agricultural, manufacturing and cultural practices, methods and products. Many of these important resources of indigenous peoples, tangible or intangible, have either been lost through plunder and exploitation, or remain vulnerable to extinction because of a failure to protect them for the benefit of mankind.

Like indigenous peoples of other lands, the First Peoples of Trinidad and Tobago have unique resources which include, inter alia, medicinal plants, ornamental plants, agricultural products and materials that could be used for construction and craft. They have also identified and designed a range of innovative conservation practices which can help to preserve our environment.

The workshop attempts to harness the traditional knowledge bases of our First Peoples by providing them with concrete tools of law, in particular, intellectual property rights and environmental rights, to better protect and preserve their own interests and resources. The intellectual property dimension will address the ways in which the First Peoples can effectively protect and exploit their creations. This will involve explanations of copyright, trademark, patent and traditional knowledge laws. In addition, the national and international legal principles of environmental rights will be examined, both as stand-alone rights and to locate the natural connection with the intellectual property of the First Peoples, given the growing realization of the ways in which natural resources contribute to the economic, cultural and spiritual well-being of these communities. Other practical, complementary skills to facilitate the development of small enterprises will also be taught.

This workshop also hopes to reach broader stakeholders in order to deepen their understanding of issues pertaining to the intellectual property rights and environmental rights of indigenous groups, with the overall intention of supporting Trinidad and Tobago’s indigenous communities in their efforts to protect these rights and improve their quality of life.

Importantly, the Workshop addresses the gap left from the inadequate effort placed on protecting and leveraging the intellectual property and environmental rights of the country’s indigenous peoples so that natural resources can contribute more meaningfully and sustainably, not only to their livelihoods and cultures, but also to the national landscape. It hopes to promote the ways in which the useful resources of our First Peoples can be utilized for the benefit of the country and the wider region.


Remarks and presentations will be made by Senator the Honourable Jennifer Baptiste Primus, Minister of Labour and Small Enterprise Development; Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, Dean of the Faculty of Law, The UWI, St. Augustine and Former President and Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, (IACHR) OAS, Washington; Chief Ricardo Hernandez, Chief of the Santa Rosa First Peoples Community; Mr. Roger Belix, President of the Partners For First Peoples Development; Mr. Cristo Adonis who will give a presentation on the traditional medicines and products of the Santa Rosa First Peoples; Dr. Justin Koo on the use of Intellectual Property to commercialize the products of the First Peoples, Dr. Sharon Le Gall on protecting traditional medicine; Dr. Roger Hosein and Ms. Rebecca Gookool on supporting microenterprise development for the First Peoples; Mr. John Knechtle on Environmental conservation and Ms. Elsy Curihuinca, Indigenous Attorney at the Rapporteurship on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of the IACHR, Washington on the Environmental concerns of indigenous peoples.


This workshop is being undertaken under the auspices of the project, ‘Strengthening Trinidad and Tobago’s Human Rights Capacity through Innovative Legal Education Delivery’ which is a project implemented by the Faculty of Law, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus and funded through the Ministry of Education under the European Development Fund.

For further information and to register please contact Ms. Keisha Garcia at email  or telephone (868) 353-7339.





The Faculty of Law, University of the West Indies St. Augustine is currently implementing a 2-year project entitled Strengthening Trinidad and Tobago’s Human Rights Capacity through Innovative Legal Education Delivery. This project is funded by the European Development Fund (EDF), and administered by the Ministry of Education, Trinidad and Tobago. The subject areas of the project include the rights of Indigenous Peoples, Children’s Rights, Gender and the Rights of Migrants, Refugees and Persons Deprived of Liberty. The project’s core objective is to develop the capacity of the Faculty’s newly instituted International Human Rights Clinic to address human rights issues in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider region through a dynamic legal education and outreach model that prioritizes empirical research, activist lawyering and collaboration with practicing attorneys and NGOs.


For more information on the Project ‘Strengthening Trinidad and Tobago’s Human Rights Capacity through Innovative Legal Education Delivery’, contact the Project Manager,

Ms. Keisha Garcia at

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