Summertime, Wintertime and Tobago time

summertime_wintertime1Recently the clock in Europe was set from wintertime to summertime. One hour of difference which went quite unnoticed in Trinidad an Tobago. I had to think a few days if I still could call my relatives or if I would wake them up in the middle of the night. Besides from that Tobago time was not influenced at all.

Quite indistinctive of what occasion is timed, Tobago time has it’s own scale and flexibility. It could be shop opening times, the start of a family day or the scheduled time of a bus. Tobago time always has a margin. The margin tends to be bigger with starting times and quite strict with closing times. This however goes for business related times and not for parties (limes, fete’s and everything related) which tend to be the opposite with people staying way after foreseen closing timing. A rough estimate of the real Tobago time is scheduled time / geographical time (AST or UST/GMT -4 hours) + 2 hours.summertime_wintertime2

As a result of the Tobago time definition nobody comes to late – which saves quite some stress – and no builder comes to a construction site as planned. The last is only stressful for the person who builds in case he reaches the building site before workers arrive. Altogether a low stress level compared to countries where GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) tends to be leading.

A typical explanation of why Tobago has a more sliding timescale might be a shortage of highways which might cause serious traffic jams if all people tried to reach work in time. Without a formal arrangement this is solved adequately on a daily basis. It has some traffic jams and a rush hour, but the time flexibility allows everybody to spread their transport times to adjust to this. Furthermore a lot of people who own a car that can handle a pothole or two take the ‘back road’ which normally results in shorter travel times.


So in general a formula for Tobago (starting) time would look like (GMT – 4 hours) + (2 (+/- rnd(x)) / LOS. Where LOS stands for level of seriousness (in non-business situation LOF – level of fun – can be used as an estimate). The formula for ending time in business situations is normally more predictable and tends to be around GMT – 4 hours and can even be before this time. For non-business situations a formula is not found as yet.

Note : Author does not accept any responsibility for the use of above formulas. For proper calculations several other factors need to be taken into account :

  • People carrying food or beverages tend to be later
  • Free, Harvest and food related events speed up processes.
  • Tobago itself has different time-zones. Proper geographical information and the direction of travel (from country or to country, where anything outside Scarborough or Crown Point tends to be country) need to be taken into account.
  • LOS and LOF change according to type of industry, prices of beverages and several other factors.
  • The state of the ferries to and from Trinidad is a major contributor: A ferry on three engines and even rough seas can play a major role in all timed events.
  • The effect of trains, trams and metro is to be regarded as minor which makes these formulas quite simple.

The more detailed formulas to calculate the above factors – and others  – can be obtained for a price of TTD 1.500,-. Courses or evening classes will be given once scheduling of dates is finalized.



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