THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF TRINIDAD
Publication No. 278.
A Report on the Cabildo by Philip Langton, St. Hilaire Begorrat
and John Black. Angust, 1804.
Source :-Public Record Office. State Papers Colonial.
Published by the courtesy of the Master of the Rolls and the
Deputy Keeper of the Public Records.
The revenue of the Cabildo derives from the following ;-
I. Licences to sell Spirituous Liquors, $o1 a month.
There are now 50 in town.
2. Licences for billiard tables. $12-16 a month.
3. Rents at the public flesh and fish markets. About
$i,6oo a year.
4. From the Islets of the Bocas rented to cotton planters.
At 4-6 reaux a quarree making about $300 a year.
They are called Monos, Huevos, the Perroquets,
Martin Diego and Pato. They were given to the
Town by the Spanish Government.
5. The rents of lots on Marine Square and the Grass
Market. About Si,8oo to $2,ooo a year.
6. The rent of lots at the western extremity of the Town
called Puerto Cacao and granted to it by Governor
Picton. At $I a month each.
7. The rent of the Coconut walk granted to the Town
by His Catholic Majesty. It was formerly rented
at about $300-500 a year. Since the war it has
been without a tenant.
8. The of one per cent. granted by His Catholic
Majesty to the Town. This amounted to
$2,500-3,ooo00 a year.
9. The rent of new lots east and west of the mole forming
a new part of the Town. This was granted by
Picton. The street was 150 feet wide and these lots
extended the whole extent of the Town on the sea
side. Several were let at a rent of $50-160 according
o1. Payments for the use of the public well, pump and
acqueduct for the convenience of shipping. This
gave about $1,ooo a year.
i1. From fines imposed upon delinquents in the adminis-
tration of'Justice. This amount varies very much.
12. From a tax on carts at $2 a month each. This is
farmed out at $i,ooo a year.
13. From a duty on foreign liquors; rum, brandy,
geneva. A variable amount. The total revenue of
the Cabildo usually amounts each year to about
$14,ooo a year.
The expenditure of the Cabildo covers the following :-
i. Repairs to the public mole and wharf. About
$1,6o00-,800. Now requires about S5,000 to be
2. The maintenance of slaves employed upon works of
3. The maintenance of prisoners who have no means
1. The rent and expenses of the Town Hall where the
(: oi'ts of Justice and the Cabildo meet.
5. Repairs to streets.
6. The cost of Printing.
7. The rent of a public jail. About S2,ooo a year. The
new jail costing S2o,ooo is not vet finished.
8. The expenses of the police and the overseers of
9. The expenses of the festival of St. Joseph, the titular
Saint of the City, and of Corpus Christi, an ancient
Any excess of revenue is required by law to be invested
in fixed property so as to increase the revenue. In 1802-3
this was done by building flesh and fish markets.
The owners of houses in Port-of-Spain voluntarily pay a
tax for the establishment and support of fire engines. This is
collected by the Alcadcs de Barrio and paid over to the
Director. This was formed by Governor Picton and the
present director is Vincent Patrice.
In the Cabildo the Governor has no vote except a casting
vote when equal. No person who is not a member of the
Cabildo has the right to sit at the board or to be present at
its deliberations. The members are sworn to secrecy.
An appeal against the decisions of the Cabildo lies to the
Governor who can upset or veto any decision and can even
give effect to the minority view.
The members of the Cabildo elect the Alcaldes in Ordinary.
the Alcalde Provincial and the Syndic and the Governor has
no power to interfere. The position of Regidor, Alfercz Real
and Alguazil Mayor are sold bv the Crown or nominated.
Purchasers of these posts when confirmed by the King, hold
their positions for life.
The Cabildo may address the King through the Governor.
If their representations are against the actions of the Governor
himself, they are required to obey the orders of the Governor
but may petition for redress to the King.
The duties of the Cabildo include the swearing in of the
Governor, Lieutenant Governor and all persons holding public
office ; the inspection and approval of the qualifications of
Physicians, Surgeons and Apothecaries and to guard against
contagious and epidemic diseases.
In 1786 the Town was divided into 4 Barrios; after the
conquest 8 Barrios were established. The Alcaldes de Barrio
were elected annually by the freeholders of the Barrio.