, is a sovereign state on the northern coast of South America
that is culturally part of the Anglophone Caribbean
. Guyana was a former colony of the Dutch and (for over 200 years) of the British. It is the only state of the Commonwealth of Nations
on mainland South America, and it is also a member of the Caribbean Community
(CARICOM), which has its secretariat headquarters in Guyana's capital, Georgetown
, is a sovereign state on the northern coast of South America
that is culturally part of the Anglophone Caribbean
. Guyana was a former colony of the Dutch and (for over 200 years) of the British. It is the only state of the Commonwealth of Nations
on mainland South America, and it is also a member of the Caribbean Community
(CARICOM), which has its secretariat headquarters in Guyana's capital, Georgetown
. Guyana is one of the very few Caribbean
nations that is not an island. Guyana achieved independence from the United Kingdom
on 26 May 1966, and became a Republic
on 23 February 1970.
Historically, the region known as "Guiana" or "Guayana" comprised the large shield landmass north of the Amazon River
and east of the Orinoco River known as the "Land of many waters". Historic Guyana is made up of three Dutch colonies: Essequibo
, and Berbice
. Modern Guyana is bordered to the east by Suriname
, to the South and southwest by Brazil
, to the west by Venezuela
, and on the north by the Atlantic Ocean
At 215,000 km2, Guyana is the third-smallest independent state on the mainland of South America (after Uruguay
). Its population is approximately 770,000 (2002 demographic data
) of which the majority are of East Indian decent (43.5%) and African descent (30.2%).
EtymologyThe name "Guyana" is derived from Guiana, the original name for the region that now includes Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and parts of Venezuela and Brazil. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the name comes from an Amerindian word meaning "land of many waters".
HistoryGuyana was inhabited by the Arawak and Carib tribes of Native Americans
. Although Christopher Columbus
sighted Guyana during his third voyage (in 1498), the Dutch
were the first to establish colonies: Essequibo
(1627), and Demerara
(1752). The British
assumed control in the late 18th century, and the Dutch formally ceded the area in 1814. In 1831 the three separate colonies became a single British colony known as British Guiana
Since Independence in 1824, Venezuela has claimed the area of land to the west of the Essequibo river. Letters from Simon Bolivar
warned the British government about the Berbice and Demerara settlers settling on land the Venezuelans claimed was theirs. In 1899, an international tribunal, ruled the land belonged to Great Britain.
on 23 February 1970, remaining a member of the Commonwealth
. The US State Department
and the US Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA), along with the British government, played a strong role in influencing political control in Guyana during this time. The American government supported Forbes Burnham
during the early years of independence because Cheddi Jagan
was a self-declared Marxist. They provided secret financial support and political campaign advice to Burnham's People's National Congress
to the detriment of the Jagan-led People's Progressive Party
, mostly supported by Guyanese of Indian descent.
In 1978, Guyana received considerable international attention when 918 members, almost entirely American, (more than 300 of whom were children) of the Jim Jones
-led Peoples Temple
died in a mass murder/suicide in Jonestown
a settlement created by the Peoples Temple. An attack by Jim Jones' bodyguards at a small remote airstrip close to Jonestown resulted in the murder of five people, including Leo Ryan
, the only congressman
ever murdered in the line of duty in US history.
In May 2008, President Bharrat Jagdeo
was a signatory to The UNASUR Constitutive Treaty of the Union of South American Nations. Guyana has ratified the treaty.
GeographyThe territory controlled by Guyana lies between latitudes 1°
, and longitudes 56°
The country can be divided into five natural regions; a narrow and fertile marshy plain along the Atlantic coast (low coastal plain) where most of the population lives; a white sand belt more inland (hilly sand and clay region), containing most of Guyana's mineral deposits; the dense rain forests (Forested Highland Region) in the southern part of the country; the desert savannah
in the southern west; and the smallest interior lowlands (interior savannah) consisting mostly of mountains that gradually rise to the Brazilian border.
Some of Guyana's highest mountains are Mount Ayanganna
(2042 metres (6,699 ft)), Monte Caburaí
(1465 metres (4,806 ft)) and Mount Roraima (2810 metres (9,219 ft) – the highest mountain in Guyana) on the Brazil-Guyana-Venezuela tripoint
border, part of the Pakaraima range. Mount Roraima and Guyana's table-top mountains (tepui
s) are said to have been the inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 1912 novel The Lost World
. There are also many volcanic escarpments and waterfalls, including Kaieteur Falls
. North of the Rupununi River lies the Rupununi savannah
, south of which lie the Kanuku Mountains
at 1010 kilometres (628 mi) long, the Courantyne River
at 724 kilometres (450 mi), the Berbice
at 595 kilometres (370 mi), and the Demerara
at 346 kilometres (215 mi). The Courantyne river forms the border with Suriname. At the mouth of the Essequibo are several large islands, including the 145 km (90 mi) wide Shell Beach
lies along the northwest coast, which is also a major breeding area for sea turtle
s (mainly Leatherbacks
) and other wildlife.
The local climate
and generally hot and humid, though moderated by northeast trade winds along the coast. There are two rainy seasons, the first from May to mid-August, the second from mid-November to mid-January.
Guyana has one of the largest unspoiled rainforest
s in South America, some parts of which are almost inaccessible by humans. The rich natural history of Guyana was described by early explorers Sir Walter Raleigh
and Charles Waterton
and later by naturalists Sir David Attenborough
and Gerald Durrell
. In 2008, the BBC
ran a three-part programme called Lost Land of the Jaguar which highlighted the huge diversity of wildlife, including undiscovered species and rare species such as the giant otter
and harpy eagle.
Regions and Neighbourhood CouncilsGuyana is divided into 10 regions:
|No||Region||Area km²||Population|| Population
Barima-Waini is a region of Essequibo, Guyana, a territory in dispute by Guyana and Venezuela, located in the northwest of the country. It covers an area of 20,339 km²...
Pomeroon-Supenaam is a region in Guyana, bordering the Atlantic Ocean to the north, the region of Essequibo Islands-West Demerara to the east, the region of Cuyuni-Mazaruni to the south and the region of Barima-Waini to the west...
|3|| Essequibo Islands-West Demerara
Essequibo Islands-West Demerara
Essequibo Islands-West Demerara is a region of Guyana, split in two by the Essequibo River. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, the region of Demerara-Mahaica to the east, the region of Upper Demerara-Berbice to the south and the regions ofIt contains the towns of Parika, Schoon Ord...
Demerara-Mahaica is a region of Guyana, bordering the Atlantic Ocean to the north, the region of Mahaica-Berbice to the east, the region of Upper Demerara-Berbice to the south and the region of Essequibo Islands-West Demerara to the west....
Mahaica-Berbice is a region of Guyana, bordering the Atlantic Ocean to the north, the region of East Berbice-Corentyne to the east, the region of Upper Demerara-Berbice to the south and the region of Demerara-Mahaica to the west....
|6|| East Berbice-Corentyne
East Berbice-Corentyne is one of ten regions in Guyana covering the whole of the east of the country. It borders the Atlantic Ocean to the north, Suriname to the east, Brazil to the south and the regions of Mahaica-Berbice, Upper Demerara-Berbice, Potaro-Siparuni and Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo...
Cuyuni-Mazaruni is a region of Esequiban Guyana, a territory in dispute by Guyana and Venezuela, bordering the regions of Barima-Waini, Essequibo Islands-West Demerara and Pomeroon-Supenaam to the north, the region of Upper Demerara-Berbice to the east, the region of Potaro-Siparuni and Brazil to...
Potaro-Siparuni is a region in Guyana, bordering the region of Cuyuni-Mazaruni to the north, the regions of Upper Demerara-Berbice and East Berbice-Corentyne to the east, the region of Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo to the south and Brazil to the west.The main towns in the region are Kangaruma,...
|9|| Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo
Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo
Upper Takutu-Upper Esequibo is a region of Guyana in the Zona de Reclamación by Venezuela, bordering the region of Potaro-Siparuni to the north, the region of East Berbice-Corentyne to the east and Brazil to the south and west. It contains the towns Lethem, Isherton, Good Hope and Surama. It is...
|10|| Upper Demerara-Berbice
Upper Demerara-Berbice is a region of Guyana, bordering the regions of Essequibo Islands-West Demerara, Demerara-Mahaica and Mahaica-Berbice to the north, the region of East Berbice-Corentyne to the east, and the regions of Potaro-Siparuni and Cuyuni-Mazaruni to the west.It contains Guyana's...
The regions are divided into 27 neighbourhood councils.
with both Suriname
, which claimed the land east of the Corentyne River in southeastern Guyana, and Venezuela which claims the land west of the Essequibo River, once the Dutch colony of Essequibo
as part of Venezuela's Guayana Essequiba. The maritime component of the territorial dispute with Suriname was arbitrated by the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea, and a ruling was announced on September 21, 2007. The ruling concerning the Caribbean Sea
north of both nations found both parties violated treaty obligations and declined to order any compensation to either party.
When the British surveyed British Guiana in 1840, they included the entire Cuyuni River
basin within the colony. Venezuela did not agree with this as it claimed all lands west of the Essequibo River. In 1898, at Venezuela's request, an international arbitration tribunal
was convened, and in 1899 they issued an award giving about 94% of the disputed territory to British Guiana.
Venezuela and Great Britain
accepted the award by treaty in 1905, but Venezuela raised the issue again at the time of Guyana's independence and continues to claim Guayana Esequiba.
Venezuela calls this region "Zona en Reclamación" (Reclamation Zone), and Venezuelan maps of the national territory routinely include it, drawing it in with dashed lines.
Specific small disputed areas involving Guyana are Ankoko Island
with Venezuela; Corentyne River with Suriname; and New River Triangle with Suriname.
Environment and biodiversity
More than 80% of Guyana is still covered by forests, ranging from dry evergreen and seasonal forests to montane and lowland evergreen rain forests. These forests are home to more than a thousand species of trees. Guyana's tropical climate, unique geology, and relatively pristine ecosystems support extensive areas of species-rich rain forests and natural habitats with high levels of endemism. Approximately eight thousand species of plants occur in Guyana, half of which are found nowhere else.
Guyana has one of the highest levels of biodiversity
in the world. Guyana, with 1,168 vertebrate
species, 1,600 bird
species, boasts one of the richest mammalian fauna assemblages of any comparably sized area in the world. The Guiana Shield region is little known and extremely rich biologically. Unlike other areas of South America, over 70% of the natural habitat remains pristine.
The rich natural history of British Guiana was described by early explorers Sir Walter Raleigh
and Charles Waterton
and later by naturalists Sir David Attenborough
and Gerald Durrell
In February 2004, the Government of Guyana issued a title to more than 1 million acres (4,046.9 km²) of land in the Konashen Indigenous District declaring this land as the Konashen Community-Owned Conservation Area (COCA), to be managed by the Wai Wai. In doing so Guyana created the world's largest Community-Owned Conservation Area.
This important event followed a request made by the Wai Wai community to the government of Guyana and Conservation International Guyana (CIG) for assistance in developing a sustainable plan for their lands in Konashen. The three parties signed a Memorandum of Cooperation which outlines a plan for sustainable use of the Konashen COCA’s biological resources, identifies threats to the area’s biodiversity, and helps develop projects to increase awareness of the COCA as well as generate the income necessary to maintain its protected status.
Such incredible diversity of plants supports even more impressive diversity of animal life, recently documented by a biological survey organised by Conservation International. The clean, unpolluted waters of the Essequibo
watershed support a remarkable diversity of fish and aquatic invertebrates, and are home to giant river otters, capybaras, and several species of caimans.
On land, large mammals, such as jaguars, tapirs, bush dogs, giant anteaters, and saki monkeys are still common. Over 400 species of birds have been reported from the region, and the reptile and amphibian faunas are similarly rich. The Konashen COCA forests are also home to countless species of insects, arachnids, and other invertebrates, many of which are still undiscovered and unnamed.
The Konashen COCA is relatively unique in that it contains a high level of biological diversity and richness that remains in nearly pristine condition; such places have become rare on earth. This fact has given rise to various non-exploitative, environmentally sustainable industries such as ecotourism, successfully capitalizing on the biological wealth of the Konashen COCA with comparatively little enduring impact.
World Heritage Site statusMany countries interested in the conservation and protection of natural and cultural heritage sites of the world accede to the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage that was adopted by UNESCO
in 1972. Guyana signed the treaty in 1977, the first Caribbean State Party to do so. In the mid-1990s, Guyana seriously began the process of selecting sites for World Heritage nomination, and three sites were considered: Kaieteur National Park
, Shell Beach
and Historic Georgetown. By 1997, work on Kaieteur National Park was started, and in 1998 work on Historic Georgetown was begun. To date, however, Guyana has not made a successful nomination.
, to UNESCO as its first World Heritage Site nomination. The proposed area and surrounds have some of Guyana's most diversified life zones with one of the highest levels of endemic species found anywhere in South America. The Kaieteur Falls is the most spectacular feature of the park, falling a distance of 226 metres. The nomination of Kaieteur Park as a World Heritage Site was not successful, primarily because the area was seen by the evaluators as being too small, especially when compared with the Central Suriname Nature Reserve that had just been nominated as a World Heritage Site (2000). The dossier was thus returned to Guyana for revision.
Guyana continues in its bid for a World Heritage Site. Work continues, after a period of hiatus, on the nomination dossier for Historic Georgetown. A Tentative List indicating an intention to nominate Historic Georgetown was submitted to UNESCO in December 2004. There is now a small committee put together by the Guyana National Commission for UNESCO to complete the nomination dossier and the management plan for the site. In April 2005, two Dutch experts in conservation spent two weeks in Georgetown supervising architecture staff and students of the University of Guyana
in a historic building survey of the selected area. This is part of the data collection for the nomination dossier.
and the Kanuku Mountains
. The Iwokrama Rain Forest, an area rich in biological diversity, has been described by Major General (Retired) Joseph Singh as “a flagship project for conservation.” The Kanuku Mountains area is in a pristine state and is home to more than four hundred species of birds and other animals.
There is much work to be done for the successful nomination of these sites to the World Heritage List. The state, the private sector and the ordinary Guyanese citizens each have a role to play in this process and in the later protection of the sites. Inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage will open Guyana to more serious tourists thereby assisting in its economic development.
Guyana exhibits two of the World Wildlife Fund's Global 200
eco-regions most crucial to the conservation of global biodiversity, Guianan moist forests and Guiana Highlands moist forests and is home to several endemic species including the tropical hardwood Greenheart
: One of the tallest wooden church structures in the world and the second tallest wooden house of worship after the Todaiji Temple in Japan.
Demerara Harbour Bridge
: The world's fourth-longest floating bridge.
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Building
: Houses the Headquarters of the largest and most powerful economic union in the Caribbean.
: Situated sat on Providence on the north bank of the Demerara River
and built in time for the ICC World Cup 2007, it is the largest sports stadium in the country. It is also near the Providence Mall, forming a major spot for leisure in Guyana.
Guyana International Conference Centre: Presented as a gift from the People's Republic of China to the Government of Guyana. It is the only one of its kind in the country.
: A large cast-iron colonial structure that looked like a statue was located next to the Demerara River.
: A beautiful wooden structure also from the colonial era.
: Top secondary school in the country.
(production of rice and Demerara sugar
mining, timber, shrimp fishing and minerals. Chronic problems include a shortage of skilled labour and a deficient infrastructure
. In 2008, the economy witnessed a 3% increase in growth amid the global economic crisis and is expected to grow further in 2009.
Until recently, the government was juggling a sizable external debt against the urgent need for expanded public investment. Low prices for key mining
and agricultural commodities combined with troubles in the bauxite
industries had threatened the government's tenuous fiscal position and dimmed prospects for the future. However, the Guyanese economy has rebounded slightly and exhibited moderate economic growth since 1999, thanks to an expansion in the agricultural
sectors, a more favorable atmosphere for business initiatives, a more realistic exchange rate, fairly low inflation
, and the continued support of international organizations.
The sugar industry, which accounts for 28% of all export earnings, is largely run by the company Guysuco, which employs more people than any other industry. Many industries have a large foreign investment. For example, the mineral industry is heavily invested in by the American company Reynolds Metals
and the British-Australian Rio Tinto's
Rio Tinto Alcan subsidiary; the Korean/Malaysian Barama Company has a large stake in the logging industry.
The production of balatá
) was once big business in Guyana. Most of the balata bleeding in Guyana took place in the foothills of the Kanuku Mountains in the Rupununi. Early exploitation also took place in the North West District, but most of the trees in the area were destroyed by illicit bleeding methods that involved cutting down the trees rather than making incisions in them. Uses of balatá included the making of cricket
balls, the temporary filling of troublesome tooth cavities, and the crafting of figurines and other decorative items (particularly by the Macushi people of the Kanuku mountains).
Major private sector
organizations include the Private Sector Commission (PSC) and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce & Industry (GCCI);
The government initiated a major overhaul of the tax code in early 2007. The Value Added Tax
(VAT) was brought into effect, replacing six different taxes. Prior to the implementation of the VAT, it had been relatively easy to evade sales tax, and many businesses were in violation of tax code. Many businesses were very opposed to VAT introduction because of the extra paperwork required; however, the Government has remained firm on the VAT. By replacing several taxes with one flat tax rate, it will also be easier for government auditors to spot embezzlement
. While the adjustment to VAT has been difficult, it may improve day-to-day life because of the significant additional funds the government will have available for public spending.
President Bharrat Jagdeo
has made debt relief
a foremost priority of his administration. He has been quite successful, getting US$800 million of debt written off by the International Monetary Fund
(IMF), the World Bank
and the Inter-American Development Bank
(IDB), in addition to millions more from other industrial nations. Mr. Jagdeo was lauded by IDB President Moreno for his strong leadership and negotiating skills in pursuing debt relief for Guyana and several other regional countries.
Cost of livingThe cost of living in Guyana is high. This is because most of the items used in daily life are imported with high transportation costs involved. Monopoly in some business sectors also causes higher profit booking and further raising of prices. For example, approximate prices (as of January, 2010) of gasoline (petrol) is US$ 5 per gallon, and electricity prices are close to US$ 0.33 per unit. A domestic gas bottle (or gas cylinder) is slightly over US$ 20. Rent for average family accommodation may exceed US$ 100 per month in safe urban locations,but most people have their own homes and do not rent, and personal income tax, which is 33.33% (one third) of total taxable income makes the cost of living higher. An employee's salary is normally paid in Guyanese dollars (1 US Dollar = 200 Guyanese Dollars approx.) and income tax is deducted by the employer.
DemographicsThe population of Guyana is approximately 770,000, of which 90% reside on the narrow
coastal strip (approximately 10% of the total land area of Guyana). Guyana's coastal strip ranges from between 10 to 40 mi (16.1 to 64.4 ) in width.
The present population of Guyana is racially and ethnically heterogeneous, composed chiefly of the descendants of immigrants who came to the country as either enslaved or indentured labourers respectively, from Africa
. The population therefore is made up of groups with ethnic backgrounds from India
, with Aboriginal
. These groups of diverse nationality backgrounds have been fused together by a common language, i.e., English
and Creole. There has been racial tension between the majority Indo-Guyanese and Afro-Guyanese .
The largest ethnic group is that of the descendants of immigrants from India
also known as East Indians
(Indo-Guyanese), comprising 43.5% of the population in 2002. They are followed by people of African
heritage (Afro-Guyanese) (30.2%). The third in number are those of mixed heritage (16.7%), while Aboriginals (Arawak, Wai Wai, Carib, Akawaio, Arecuna, Patamona, Wapixana, Macushi
) are fourth making up close to 10% of the population. The smallest groups are the Europeans (including Portuguese
), who number at 1,600 individuals, and the Chinese
, who number at 1,400 persons. A small group (fewer than 1%) were unable to be classified.
The population distribution in 2002 was determined by ethnic background. The distribution pattern has been similar to those of the 1980 and 1991 census
es, but the share of the two main groups has declined. Indo-Guyanese made up 51.9% of the total population in 1980, but by 1991 this had fallen to 48.6%, and then to 43.5% in the 2002 census. Those of African descent increased slightly from 30.8% to 32.3% during the first period (1980 and 1991) before falling to 30.2% in the 2002 census. With small growth in the population, the decline in the shares of the two larger groups has resulted in the relative increase of shares of the multiracial and Amerindian groups.
The Amerindian population rose by 22,097 people between 1991 and 2002. This represents an increase of 47.3% or annual growth of 3.5%. Similarly, the multiracial population increased by 37,788 persons, representing a 43.0% increase or annual growth rate of 3.2% from the base period of 1991 census. The European and Chinese populations which declined between 1980 and 1991 regained in numbers by the 2002 census by 54.4% (168 persons) and 8.1% (105 persons) respectively. However, because of their relatively small sizes, the increase has little effect on the overall change. The number of Portuguese (4.3% of the population in 1891) has been declining constantly over the decades.
Most Indo-Guyanese are descended from Bhojpuri-speaking Bihari
and Uttar Pradesh migrants. Many Indo-guyanese are also Tamil
speaking Tamils from Tamil Nadu
, and Telugus of Andhra Pradesh
of South India
is the official language of Guyana and used in its schools. In addition, Cariban languages
, Wai-Wai, Arawak and Macushi
) are spoken by a small minority, while Guyanese Creole (an English-based creole with African and/or East Indian syntax whose grammar is not standardised.) is widely spoken.
ReligionData from a 2002 census on religious affiliation indicates that approximately 57% of the population are Muslim
. Approximately 28% are Christian
, 9% are Hindu
. An estimated 4% of the population does not profess any religion.
Most Guyanese Christians are either Protestants or Roman Catholics and include a mix of all races. Hinduism
is dominated by the Indians who came to the country in the early 19th century, while Islam
varies between Indo-Guyanese and Afro-Guyanese.
Government and politics
takes place in a framework of a semi-presidential
, whereby the President of Guyana is the head of government
, and of a multi-party system
. Executive power
is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government
and the National Assembly of Guyana
Historically, politics are a source of tension in the country, and violent riots have often broken out during elections. During the 1970s and 1980s, the political landscape was dominated by the People's National Congress.
In 1992, the first "free and fair" elections were overseen by former United States President Jimmy Carter
, and the People's Progressive Party has led the country since. The two parties are principally organised along ethnic lines and as a result often clash on issues related to the allocation of resources.
(GDF), which includes Ground Forces, Coast Guard, and Air Corps.
There are a total of 116 miles (187 km) of railway, all dedicated to ore transport. There are 4,952 miles (7,970 km) of highway, of which 367 miles (590 km) are paved. Navigable waterways extend to 669 miles (1,077 km), including the Berbice, Demerara, and Essequibo rivers.
There are ports at Georgetown, Port Kaituma, and New Amsterdam
. There is 1 international airport (Cheddi Jagan International Airport
, Timehri); 1 regional airport (Ogle Airport
); and about 90 airstrips, 9 of which have paved runways. Guyana and Suriname
are the only two countries in South America which drive on the left.
ElectricityThe electricity sector in Guyana is dominated by Guyana Power and Light
(GPL), the state-owned vertically integrated utility. Although the country has a large potential for hydroelectric and bagasse
-fueled power generation, most of its 226 MW of installed capacity correspond to inefficient thermoelectric diesel-engine driven generators.
Several initiatives are in place to improve energy access in the hinterland. Please visit the article Hinterland energy in Guyana
Water supply and sanitationKey issues in the water
sector in Guyana are poor service quality, a low level of cost recovery and low levels of access. A high-profile management contract with the British company Severn Trent
was cancelled by the government in February 2007. In 2008 the public utility Guyana Water Inc implemented a Turnaround Plan (TAP) to reduce non-revenue water
and to financially consolidate the utility. NRW reduction is expected to be 5% per annum for the three-year period of the plan, A mid term review is now due to examine the success of the TAP.
- Telephones : 110,120 main telephone lines (2005)
- Telephones – mobile cellular: 281,400 (2005)
- Domestic: microwave radio relay network for trunk lines; fixed-line teledensity is about 15 per 100 persons; many areas still lack fixed-line telephone services; mobile-cellular teledensity reached 37 per 100 persons in 2005
- International: country code – 592; tropospheric scatter to Trinidad; satellite earth station – 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Guyana Telephone & Telegraph (GT&T) is the main mobile phone provider
Television broadcast stationsTelevision broadcast was officially introduced to Guyana in 1991.
- 15 (1 public station (channel 11); 14 private stations which relay on US satellite services) (1997)
Of which are;
L.R.T.V.S-Little Rock Television Station channel 10 (New Amsterdam, Berbice)
H.G.P-Halagala General Productions television (Beterverwagting Village, Demerara)
- Internet country code: .gy
- Internet hosts: 6,218 (2008)
- Internet users: 225,129 (2010)
Service deliveryThe delivery of health services is provided at five different levels in the public sector:
- Level I: Local Health Posts (166 in total) that provide preventive and simple curative careCurative careCurative care or curative medicine is the kind of health care traditionally oriented towards seeking a cure for an existent disease or medical condition...
for common diseaseDiseaseA disease is an abnormal condition affecting the body of an organism. It is often construed to be a medical condition associated with specific symptoms and signs. It may be caused by external factors, such as infectious disease, or it may be caused by internal dysfunctions, such as autoimmune...
s and attempt to promote proper health practices. Community health workerCommunity health workerCommunity health workers are members of a community who are chosen by community members or organizations to provide basic health and medical care to their community...
s staff them.
- Level II: Health Centres (109 in total) that provide preventive and rehabilitative care and promotion activities. These are ideally staffed with a medical extension worker or public health nurse, along with a nursing assistant, a dental nurse and a midwife.
- Level III: Nineteen District Hospitals (with 473 beds) that provide basic in-patient and outpatient care (although more the latter than the former) and selected diagnostic services. They are also meant to be equipped to provide simple radiological and laboratory services, and to be capable of gynecology, providing preventive and curative dental care. They are designed to serve geographical areas with populations of 10,000 or more.
- Level IV: Four Regional Hospitals (with 620 beds) that provide emergency services, routine surgery and obstetrical and gynecological care, dental services, diagnostic services and specialist services in general medicine and pediatrics. They are designed to include the necessary support for this level of medical service in terms of laboratory and X-ray facilities, pharmacies and dietetic expertise. These hospitals are located in Regions 2, 3, 6 and 10.
- Level V: The National Referral Hospital (937 beds) in Georgetown that provides a wider range of diagnostic and specialist services, on both an in-patient and out-patient basis; the Psychiatric Hospital in CanjeČanjeČanje is a settlement in the hills above Blanca in the Sevnica municipality in central Slovenia. The area is part of the historical region of Lower Styria. The municipality is now included in the Lower Sava statistical region....
; and the Geriatric Hospital in Georgetown. There is also one children’s rehabilitation centre.
This system is structured so that its proper functioning depends intimately on a process of referrals. Except for serious emergencies, patients are to be seen first at the lower levels, and those with problems that cannot be treated at those levels are referred to higher levels in the system. However, in practice, many patients by-pass the lower levels.
The health sector is currently unable to offer certain sophisticated tertiary services and specialised medical services, the technology for which is unaffordable in Guyana, or for which the required medical specialists are not available. Even with substantial improvements in the health sector, the need for overseas treatment for some services might remain. The Ministry of Health provides financial assistance to patients requiring such treatment, priority being given to children whose condition can be rehabilitated with significant improvements to their quality of life.
There are 10 hospitals belonging to the private sector and to public corporations, plus diagnostic facilities, clinics and dispensaries in those sectors. These ten hospitals provide for 548 beds. Eighteen clinics and dispensaries are owned by GUYSUCO.
The Ministry of Health and Labour is responsible for the funding of the National Referral Hospital in Georgetown, which has recently been made a public corporation managed by an independent Board. Region 6 is responsible for the management of the National Psychiatric Hospital. The Geriatric Hospital, previously administered by the Ministry of Labour, became the responsibility of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of Guyana in December 1997.
Health conditionsOne of the most unfortunate consequences of Guyana's economic decline in the 1970s and 1980s was that it led to very poor health conditions for a large part of the population. Basic health services in the interior are primitive to non-existent, and some procedures are not available at all. The US State Department
Consular Information Sheet warns "Medical care is available for minor medical conditions. Emergency care and hospitalization for major medical illnesses or surgery is limited, because of a lack of appropriately trained specialists, below standard in-hospital care, and poor sanitation. Ambulance service is substandard and may not routinely be available for emergencies." Many Guyanese seek medical care in the United States, Trinidad and Tobago
Maternal and Child Health Care
In June 2011, the United Nations Population Fund
released a report on The State of the World's Midwifery. It contained new data on the midwifery workforce and policies relating to newborn and maternal mortality for 58 countries. The 2010 maternal mortality rate per 100,000 births for Guyana is 270. This is compared with 143.1 in 2008 and 162.3 in 1990. The under 5 mortality rate, per 1,000 births is 36 and the neonatal mortality as a percentage of under 5's mortality is 60. The aim of this report is to highlight ways in which the Millennium Development Goals
can be achieved, particularly Goal 4 – Reduce child mortality and Goal 5 – improve maternal death. In Guyana the number of midwives per 1,000 live births is unavailable and 1 in 150 shows us the lifetime risk of death for pregnant women.
Compared with other neighbouring countries, Guyana ranks poorly in regard to basic health indicators. In 1998, life expectancy at birth was estimated at 66.0 years for Guyana, which is much less than surrounding countries. Although Guyana's health profile falls short in comparison with many of its Caribbean neighbours, there has been remarkable progress since 1988, and the Ministry of Health is working to upgrade conditions, procedures, and facilities.
The leading causes of mortality for all age groups are cerebrovascular diseases (11.6%); ischemic heart disease (9.9%); immunity disorders (7.1%); diseases of the respiratory system (6.8%); diseases of pulmonary circulation and other forms of heart disease (6.6%); endocrine and metabolic diseases (5.5%); diseases of other parts of the Digestive System (5.2%); violence (5.1%); certain condition originating in the prenatal period (4.3%); and hypertensive diseases (3.9%).
The ten leading causes of morbidity for all age groups are, in decreasing order: malaria; acute respiratory infections; symptoms, signs and ill defined or unknown conditions; hypertension; accident and injuries; acute diarrhoeal disease; diabetes mellitus; worm infestation; rheumatic arthritis; and mental and nervous disorders.
This morbidity profile indicates that it can be improved substantially through enhanced preventive health care, better education on health issues, more widespread access to potable water and sanitation services, and increased access to basic health care of good quality. A number of non-governmental organisations, including Health and Educational Relief for Guyana (HERG, INC) and Guyana Medical Relief (GMR, INC) are currently working to address these issues by improving healthcare access and educational infrastructure.
Guyana has experienced an upswing in violent crime and homicide in 2007 while the numbers of murders reported actually dropped in 2007 over the previous few years, with a murder rate of 15.1 people for each 100,000, in contrast to 2008 (up to the end of July) that number has risen to 26 per 100,000 similar to the rate experienced in 2003.
Guyana suffers from the highest suicide rate of any South American country. Guyana Health Minister Leslie Ramsammy estimates that at least 200 people commit suicide each year in Guyana, or 27.2 people for each 100,000 people each year.
The educational system does not sufficiently focus on the training of Guyanese in science and technology, technical and vocational subjects, business management, nor computer science
s. The Guyanese education system is modeled after the former British education system. Students are expected to write NGSA[National Grade Six Assessment] for entrance into high school in grade 7. They write CXC at the end of high school. Recently they have introduced the CAPE exams which all other Caribbean countries have introduced. The A-level system left over from the British era has all but disappeared and is offered only in a few schools.
Further adding to the problems of the educational system, many of the better-educated professional teachers have emigrated to other countries over the past two decades, mainly because of low pay, lack of opportunities and crime. As a result, there is a lack of trained teachers at every level of Guyana's educational system. There are however several very good private schools that have sprung up over the last fifteen years. Those schools offer a varied and balanced curriculum. However, the top government schools have nonetheless continued their dominance in academic performance outshining these private schools over the years.
|1 January|| New Year's Day
New Year's Day
New Year's Day is observed on January 1, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar used in ancient Rome...
|23 February|| Republic Day
Republic Day is the name of a holiday in several countries to commemorate the day when they became republics.-1 January in the Republic of Slovakia:This was the day of creation of the Republic of Slovakia. A national holiday since 1993...
Mashramani, often abbreviated to "Mash", is an annual festival that celebrates Guyana becoming a Republic in 1970. The festival, usually held on 23 February – Guyanese Republic Day – includes a parade, music, games and cooking and is intended to commemorate the "Birth of the...
|March/April|| Good Friday
Good Friday , is a religious holiday observed primarily by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. The holiday is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of...
|March/April|| Easter Monday
Easter Monday is the day after Easter Sunday and is celebrated as a holiday in some largely Christian cultures, especially Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox cultures...
|5 May|| Indian Arrival Day
Indian Arrival Day
Indian Arrival Day is a holiday celebrated on various days around the world, usually commemorating the arrival of people from the Indian subcontinent to that nation.-Guyana:...
|26 May|| Independence Day
An Independence Day is an annual event commemorating the anniversary of a nation's assumption of independent statehood, usually after ceasing to be a colony or part of another nation or state, and more rarely after the end of a military occupation...
|First Monday in July||CARICOM Day|
|1 August|| Emancipation Day
Emancipation Day is celebrated in many former British colonies in the Caribbean and areas of the United States on various dates in observance of the emancipation of slaves of African origin. It is also observed in other areas in regard to the abolition of serfdom or other forms of...
Diwali or DeepavaliThe name of the festival in various regional languages include:, , , , , , , , , , , , , popularly known as the "festival of lights," is a festival celebrated between mid-October and mid-December for different reasons...
|25 December|| Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...
| Boxing Day
Boxing Day is a bank or public holiday that occurs on 26 December, or the first or second weekday after Christmas Day, depending on national or regional laws. It is observed in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and some other Commonwealth nations. In Ireland, it is recognized as...
Guyana, along with Suriname
, French Guiana
, and Brazil
, is one of the four non-Hispanic nations in South America. Guyana's culture is very similar to that of the English-speaking Caribbean, and has historically been tied to the English-speaking Caribbean as part of the British Empire when it became a possession in the nineteenth century. Guyana is a founding member of the Caricom (Caribbean Community) economic bloc and also the home of the Bloc's Headquarters, the CARICOM Secretariat.
Guyana's geographical location, its sparsely populated rain-forest regions, and its substantial Amerindian population differentiate it from English-speaking Caribbean countries. Its blend of Indo-Guyanese (East Indian) and Afro-Guyanese (African) cultures gives it similarities to Trinidad
and distinguishes it from other parts of the Americas. Guyana shares similar interests with the islands in the West Indies, such as food, festive events, music, sports, etc.
Guyana plays international cricket as a part of the West Indies cricket team
, and the Guyana team plays first-class cricket against other nations of the Caribbean. In March and April 2007 Guyana co-hosted the Cricket World Cup 2007. In addition to its CARICOM membership, Guyana is a member of CONCACAF
, the international football federation for North and Central America
and the Caribbean.
Events include Mashramani
(Mash), Phagwah (Holi
), and Deepavali (Diwali
(Guyana is part of the West Indies
as defined for international cricket purposes), softball cricket (beach cricket)
and football (soccer)
. Minor sports include netball
, lawn tennis, basketball
, table tennis
and a few others.
Guyana played host to international cricket matches as part of the 2007 Cricket World Cup
. The new 15,000-seat Providence Stadium
, also referred to as Guyana National Stadium, was built in time for the World Cup and was ready for the beginning of play on March 28. At the first international game of CWC 2007 at the stadium, Lasith Malinga
of the Sri Lankan team took four wickets in four consecutive deliveries.
For international football (soccer)
are part of CONCACAF
- John AgardJohn AgardJohn Agard is an Afro-Guyanese playwright, poet and children's writer, now living in the United Kingdom.-Background:...
- Valerie Amos, British politician and member of the UK House of Lords.
- E. R. BraithwaiteE. R. BraithwaiteEdward Ricardo Braithwaite is a Guyanese novelist, writer, teacher, and diplomat, best known for his stories of social conditions and racial discrimination against black people...
, writer of the novel To Sir, With Love.
- Forbes BurnhamForbes BurnhamLinden Forbes Sampson Burnham was the leader of Guyana from 1964 until his death, first as Premier from 1964 to 1966, then as the Prime Minister from 1966 to 1980 and finally as President from 1980 to 1985....
, Former president of Guyana.
- Horace Edwin Caines, Former Ambassador to U.K. 1961
- Shakira CaineShakira CaineShakira Caine , is a Guyanese-British former fashion model and actress of Indian descent....
, former Miss Guyana and wife of actor Michael Caine.
- Martin CarterMartin CarterMartin Wylde Carter was a Guyanese poet, who has been compared in stature to W. B. Yeats and Pablo Neruda, as well as being called "the most Caribbean of Caribbean poets". Of mixed European, East Indian, and African descent, he began publishing in 1950 in Thunder Martin Wylde Carter (June 7,...
, writer and poet.
- David CaseDavid CaseAir Commodore David Case is the highest ranking black officer in the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom, and as of 2000, at the age of 47, he became the highest ranking black officer ever to serve in Britain's armed forces. He was born in Guyana, and immigrated to Britain at the age of 5...
, the highest ranking black officer in the British Armed Forces.
- Shivnarine ChanderpaulShivnarine ChanderpaulShivnarine "Shiv" Chanderpaul is a cricketer, and former captain of the West Indies cricket team. He is the first Indo-Caribbean in the West Indies team to play 100 Tests for the West Indies and has captained them in 14 Tests and 16 One Day Internationals...
, professional cricketer for the West Indies Cricket Team
- Bernie GrantBernie GrantBernard Alexander Montgomery Grant , known simply as Bernie Grant, was a politician in the United Kingdom, and was Labour member of Parliament for Tottenham at the time of his death....
, British politician and Member of Parliament
- Laura CreavalleLaura CreavalleLaura Cordelia Creavalle is an IFBB professional female bodybuilder, originally from Guyana.-Background:Creavalle was born on January 25, 1959 in Essequibo, Guyana. Laura was one of the most successful female bodybuilders of the 1990s. Creavalle earned her pro card by winning the heavyweight...
, an IFBB pro female bodybuilder
- CuffyCuffy (person)Cuffy, or Kofi , was an Akan person who was captured in his native West Africa and sold into slavery to work in the plantations of the Dutch colony of Berbice in present-day Guyana. He became famous because in 1763 he led a revolt of more than 2,500 slaves against the colony regime...
, Leader of the Berbice Slave Uprising.
- Dwayne De RosarioDwayne De RosarioDwayne Anthony De Rosario is a Canadian soccer player who currently plays for D.C. United in Major League Soccer. He also plays for the Canadian national team.-Early career:...
, Professional soccer player on MLS-Toronto FC team
- Charley Charles, born Hugh Glenn Mortimer Charles, 1945. Drummer of The BlockheadsThe BlockheadsThe Blockheads are an English rock and roll band. Originally fronted by vocalist Ian Dury as Ian Dury and the Blockheads, the band has continued to perform since Dury's death in 2000. Current members include Chaz Jankel , Norman Watt-Roy , Mick Gallagher , John Turnbull and Davey Payne...
- Clotilda Parks Caines, Writer, Women's leader activist for the farmers of Pomeroon-Supernaam
- Eddy GrantEddy GrantEdmond Montague "Eddy" Grant is a musician, born in Plaisance, Guyana.- Life and career :When he was still a young boy, his parents emigrated to London, UK, where he settled. He lived in Kentish Town and went to school at the Acland Burghley Secondary Modern at Tufnell Park...
- Wilson HarrisWilson HarrisSir Theodore Wilson Harris is a Guyanese writer. He initially wrote poetry, but has since become a well-known novelist and essayist. His writing style is often said to be abstract and densely metaphorical, and his subject matter wide-ranging.Wilson Harris was born in New Amsterdam in what was then...
, writer (The Palace of the Peacock, 1960).
- Ezekiel Jackson, professional wrestler.
- Cheddi JaganCheddi JaganCheddi Berret Jagan was a Guyanese politician who was first elected Chief Minister in 1953 and later Premier of British Guiana from 1961 to 1964, prior to independence. He later served as President of Guyana from 1992 to 1997.- Biography :The son of ethnic Indian sugar plantation workers, Jagan...
, President from 1992–97.
- Rohit Jagessar, Film director, Broadcast Personality.
- Clive LloydClive LloydClive Hubert Lloyd CBE AO is a former West Indies cricketer. He captained the West Indies between 1974 and 1985 and oversaw their rise to become the dominant Test-playing nation, a position that was only relinquished in the latter half of the 1990s...
, former West Indies cricket Captain.
- Rohan KanhaiRohan KanhaiRohan Bholalall Kanhai is a former West Indian Cricket player of Indo-Guyanese descent. He is widely considered as one of the best batsmen of the 1960s. Kanhai featured in several great West Indian teams, playing with, among others, Sir Garfield Sobers, Roy Fredericks, Lance Gibbs, and Alvin...
, former West Indies cricket Captain.
- Edgar MittelholzerEdgar MittelholzerEdgar Mittelholzer was a Guyanese novelist. Born in New Amsterdam, the country's second largest town, he was the son of William Austin Mittelholzer and his wife Rosamond Mabel, née Leblanc...
- Grace NicholsGrace NicholsGrace Nichols is a Guyanese poet. She was born in Georgetown, Guyana, in 1950. After working in Guyana as a teacher and journalist, she emigrated to the UK in 1977. Much of her poetry is characterised by Caribbean rhythms and culture, and influenced by Guyanese and Amerindian folklore.Her first...
- CCH PounderCCH PounderCarol Christine Hilaria Pounder , known professionally as C. C. H. Pounder , is a Guyanese-American film and television actress...
, an Emmy nominated actress and activist
- Walter RodneyWalter RodneyWalter Rodney was a prominent Guyanese historian and political activist, who was assassinated in Guyana in 1980.-Career:...
, a Pan-Africanist and socialist politician.
- Ivan Van SertimaIvan van SertimaIvan Gladstone Van Sertima was an associate professor of Africana Studies at Rutgers University in the United States....
, an Afro-centric historian
- Lloyd Sewrattan, Professor at the University of Toronto (U of T) and a real estate agent.
- Peter DavisonPeter DavisonPeter Davison is a British actor, best known for his roles as Tristan Farnon in the television version of James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small and the fifth incarnation of the Doctor in Doctor Who, which he played from 1982 to 1984.-Early life:Davison was born Peter Moffett in Streatham,...
, played the Doctor in Doctor Who, has a Guyanese father.
- David DabydeenDavid DabydeenDavid Dabydeen is a Guyanese-born critic, writer and novelist.Dabydeen was born in Berbice, Guyana, his birth registered at New Amsterdam Registrar of Births as David Horace Clarence Harilal Sookram...
, Professor at the University of Warwick (UK) and a Historian.
- Mark Teixeria, MLB American Baseball Player 1st Baseman of the New York Yankees
- Janet Jagan, president 97-99
- David Gir, IT Systems Specialist
- Rudy Grant, reggae DJ, singer
- Shridath Ramphal, former Commonwealth General Secretary
- Frank Woon-A-Tai, Karate Expert, founder of the International Karate Daigaku
- Colleen Braithwaite, Author - At Your Service.
- Andrew Shiwpershad, well-known Canadian entrepreneur.
- Hatim Yassim, IT Specialist
- Vivek Ramnarain, Infectious Disease Doctor
- Commonwealth of NationsCommonwealth of NationsThe Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...
- LGBT rights in GuyanaLGBT rights in GuyanaAccording to the penal code of Guyana, "gross indecency" committed by a man upon another man, either in public or private, will be punished with imprisonment for up to 2 years. For attempted anal sex the punishment is 10 years, and for anal sex, imprisonment for life is possible...
- South America Life Quality Rankings
- South America Life Quality Rankings - Economy and Finance
- South America Life Quality Rankings - Law and Justice
- Donald Haack, Bush Pilot In Diamond Country
- Hamish McInnes, Climb To The Lost World (1974)
- Andrew Salkey, Georgetown Journal (1970)
- Marion Morrison, Guyana (Enchantment of the World Series)
- Bob Temple, Guyana
- Noel C. Bacchus, Guyana Farewell: A Recollection of Childhood in a Faraway Place
- Marcus Colchester, Guyana: Fragile Frontier
- Matthew French Young, Guyana: My Fifty Years in the Guyanese Wilds
- Margaret Bacon, Journey to Guyana
- Father Andrew Morrison SJ, Justice: The Struggle For Democracy in Guyana 1952–1992
- D. Graham Burnett, Masters of All They Surveyed: Exploration, Geography and a British El Dorado
- Ovid Abrams, Metegee: The History and Culture of Guyana
- Gerald DurrellGerald DurrellGerald "Gerry" Malcolm Durrell, OBE was a naturalist, zookeeper, conservationist, author and television presenter...
, Three Singles To Adventure
- Cheddi Jagan – The West on Trial, My Fight for Guyana’s Freedom
- Cheddi Jagan – My Fight For Guyana’s Freedom- with reflections on my father by Nadira Jagan-Brancier
- Colin Henfrey, Through Indian Eyes: A Journey Among the Indian Tribes of Guiana
- Stephen G. Rabe, US Intervention in British Guiana: A Cold War Story
- Charles WatertonCharles WatertonCharles Waterton was an English naturalist and explorer.-Heritage and Life:"Squire" Waterton was born at Walton Hall, Wakefield, Yorkshire to Thomas Waterton and Anne Bedingfield. He was of a Roman Catholic landed gentry family descended from Reiner de Waterton...
, Wanderings in South America
- David AttenboroughDavid AttenboroughSir David Frederick Attenborough OM, CH, CVO, CBE, FRS, FZS, FSA is a British broadcaster and naturalist. His career as the face and voice of natural history programmes has endured for more than 50 years...
, Zoo Quest to Guiana (Lutterworth Press, London: 1956)
- Office of the President, Republic of Guyana – official website
- Parliament of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana – official website
- Guyana Tourism and Travel Network
- Country Profile from the BBC NewsBBC NewsBBC News is the department of the British Broadcasting Corporation responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs. The department is the world's largest broadcast news organisation and generates about 120 hours of radio and television output each day, as well as online...
- Guyana from the Encyclopaedia Britannica
- Guyana at UCB Libraries GovPubs Derechos Venezolanos de Soberania en el Esequiboo, Ministerio del Poder Popular para Relaciones Exteriores Venezuelan rights of sovereignty in the Essequibo, Ministry of Popular Power for Foreign Affairs (Translated by Google)
- The State of the World's Midwifery - Guyana Country Profile