Upon gaining independence from Britain in 1962, it was decided that Trinidad and Tobago should have its own National Awards – a departure from the nation’s longstanding involvement in the system of Commonwealth Awards conferred by Her Majesty the Queen of England.The National Awards were first given in 1969.

The President hosts the National Awards Ceremony annually on Independence Day, August 31st.

There is a National Awards Committee, headed by the Chief Justice, which oversees the nomination process and investigates the nominees before making its recommendation to the Prime Minister.

Any person or organization may submit a nomination, to the National Awards Committee, of a citizen for a National Award.

The President confers the awards, “on the advice of the Prime Minister given after consideration of the recommendation of the Advisory Committee.”

The awards are made “by Instrument signed by the President and sealed with the Seal of the Order.”