GUYANA


 

Also Known as: Land of Many Waters
Motto: One People, One Nation, One Destiny 

History Originally a Dutch colony in the 17th century, by 1815 Guyana had become a British possession.  The abolition of slavery led to black settlement of urban areas and the importation of indentured servants from India to work the sugar plantations. This ethno cultural divide persisted and has led to turbulent politics. Guyana achieved independence from the UK in 1966, and since then it has been ruled mostly by socialist-oriented governments.  In 1992, Cheddi JAGAN was elected president in what is considered the country's first free and fair election since independence. After his death five years later, his wife, Janet JAGAN became president but resigned in 1999 due to poor health. Her successor, Bharrat JAGDEO, was reelected in 2001 and again in 2006.

Geography  
Location: On the northern coast of the South American continent bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the north, Brazil to the southwest, Suriname to the east and Venezuela to the northwest. 
Geographic coordinates: 5 00 N, 59 00 W
Area: total: 214,969 sq km
land: 196,849 sq km
water: 18,120 sq km
Land boundaries: total: 2,949 km
border countries: Brazil 1,606 km, Suriname 600 km, Venezuela 743 km
Coastline: 459 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the outer edge of the continental margin
Climate: tropical; hot, humid, moderated by northeast trade winds; two rainy seasons (May to August, November to January)
Terrain: mostly rolling highlands; low coastal plain; savanna in south
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Roraima 2,835 m
Natural resources: bauxite, gold, diamonds, hardwood timber, shrimp, fish
Land use: arable land: 2.23%
permanent crops: 0.14%
other: 97.63% (2005)
Natural hazards: flash floods are a constant threat during rainy seasons
Geography - note: the third-smallest country in South America after Suriname and Uruguay; substantial portions of its western and eastern territories are claimed by Venezuela and Suriname respectively
Environment - current issues: water pollution from sewage and agricultural and industrial chemicals; deforestation
People:  
Population: 772,298 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 25.7% (male 101,319/female 97,505)
15-64 years: 68.7% (male 268,058/female 262,595)
65 years and over: 5.5% (male 17,938/female 24,883) (2009 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.181% (2009 est.)
Birth rate: 17.56 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate: 8.31 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
Net migration rate: -7.44 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 28% of total population (2008)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Nationality: noun: Guyanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Guyanese
Ethnic groups: East Indian 43.5%, black (African) 30.2%, mixed 16.7%, Amerindian 9.1%, other 0.5% (2002 census)
Religions: Hindu 28.4%, Pentecostal 16.9%, Roman Catholic 8.1%, Anglican 6.9%, Seventh Day Adventist 5%, Methodist 1.7%, Jehovah Witness 1.1%, other Christian 17.7%, Muslim 7.2%, other 4.3%, none 4.3% (2002 census)
Languages: English, Amerindian dialects, Creole, Caribbean Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), Urdu
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 98.8%
male: 99.1%
female: 98.5% (2003 est.)

Government  
Country Name: conventional long form: Cooperative Republic of Guyana
conventional short form: Guyana
former: British Guiana
Government type: republic
Capital: name: Georgetown
geographic coordinates: 6 48 N, 58 10 W
Administrative divisions: 10 regions; Barima-Waini, Cuyuni-Mazaruni, Demerara-Mahaica, East Berbice-Corentyne, Essequibo Islands-West Demerara, Mahaica-Berbice, Pomeroon-Supenaam, Potaro-Siparuni, Upper Demerara-Berbice, Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo
Independence: 26 May 1966 (from the UK)
National holidays: New Year's Day (01 January); Republic Day (23 February), Good Friday, Easter Monday, Labour Day (01 May), Phagwah (as decreed), Eid-ul-Azah (as decreed), Youman Nabi (as decreed), CARICOM Day (first Monday in July), Freedom Day (01 August), Diwali (as decreed), Christmas Day (25 December), Boxing Day (26 December)
Constitution: 6 October 1980
Legal system: based on English common law with certain admixtures of Roman-Dutch law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Executive branch: chief of state: President Bharrat JAGDEO (since 11 August 1999); note - assumed presidency after the resignation of President Janet JAGAN , was reelected in 2001 and again in 2006. President JAGDEO was born 23 January 1964 and educated at Friendship University in Moscow, receiving his M.S. in Economics. His career in politics started in 1977 as a member of the Progress Youth Organisation (PYO), the youth arm of the People's Progressive Part (PPP) and has included such posts as Economist, State Planning Secretariat (1990), Special Advisor to Minister of Finance in the PPP /Civic Government (1992), Junior Minister of Finance (Member of the PPP Central and Executive Committees (1993), Senior Minister of Finance (1995) before being appointed President in 1999.

head of government: Prime Minister Samuel HINDS (since October 1992, except for a period as chief of state after the death of President Cheddi JAGAN on 6 March 1997)

cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president, responsible to the legislature

elections: president elected by popular vote as leader of a party list in parliamentary elections, which must be held at least every five years (no term limits); elections last held 28 August 2006 (next to be held by August 2011); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: President Bharrat JAGDEO reelected; percent of vote 54.6%
Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly (65 seats; members elected by popular vote, also not more than 4 non-elected non-voting ministers and 2 non-elected non-voting parliamentary secretaries appointed by the president; to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 28 August 2006 (next to be held by August 2011)
election results: percent of vote by party - PPP/C 54.6%, PNC/R 34%, AFC 8.1%, other 3.3%; seats by party - PPP/C 36, PNC/R 22, AFC 5, other 2
Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Judicature, consisting of the High Court and the Court of Appeal, with right of final appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)
Political parties and leaders: Alliance for Change or AFC [Raphael TROTMAN and Khemraj RAMJATTAN]; Guyana Action Party or GAP [Paul HARDY]; Justice for All Party [C.N. SHARMA]; People's National Congress/Reform or PNC/R [Robert Herman Orlando CORBIN]; People's Progressive Party/Civic or PPP/C [Bharrat JAGDEO]; Rise, Organize, and Rebuild or ROAR [Ravi DEV]; The United Force or TUF [Manzoor NADIR]; The Unity Party [Joey JAGAN]; Vision Guyana [Peter RAMSAROOP]; Working People's Alliance or WPA [Rupert ROOPNARAINE]
International organization participation: ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (subscriber), ITU, ITUC, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OIC, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Bayney KARRAN
chancery: 2490 Tracy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 265-6900
FAX: [1] (202) 232-1297
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador John Melvin JONES
embassy: US Embassy, 100 Young and Duke Streets, Kingston, Georgetown
mailing address: P. O. Box 10507, Georgetown; US Embassy, 3170 Georgetown Place, Washington DC 20521-3170
telephone: [592] 225-4900 through 4909
FAX: [592] 225-8497
Flag description: green, with a red isosceles triangle (based on the hoist side) superimposed on a long, yellow arrowhead; there is a narrow, black border between the red and yellow, and a narrow, white border between the yellow and the green
Date of CARICOM Membership: 1 August 1973
Business Hours: Commercial: 08:00-16:00 hrs Monday to Friday; 08:00-12:30 hrs Saturday
Government: 08:00-16:00 hrs Monday to Thursday; 08:00-15:30 hrs Friday

Economy  
Overview: The Guyanese economy exhibited moderate economic growth in recent years and is based largely on agriculture and extractive industries.  The economy is heavily dependent upon the export of six commodities - sugar, gold, bauxite, shrimp, timber and rice - which represent nearly 60% of the country's GDP and are highly susceptible to adverse weather conditions and fluctuations in commodity prices.  Economic recovery since the 2005 flood-related contraction has been buoyed by increases in remittances and foreign direct investment in the sugar and rice industries as well as the mining sector.  The bauxite mining sector should benefit in the near term from restructuring and partial privatization, and the state-owned sugar industry will conduct efficiency increasing modernizations.  Export earnings from agriculture and mining have remained flat as rising commodity prices have offset declining production, while the import bill has risen, driven by higher energy costs. Chronic problems include a shortage of skilled labor and a deficient infrastructure. The government is juggling a sizable external debt against the urgent need for expanded public investment.  In March 2007, the Inter-American Development Bank, Guyana's principal donor, canceled Guyana's nearly $470 million debt, equivalent to nearly 48% of GDP, which along with other Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) debt forgiveness brought the debt-to-GDP ratio down from 183% in 2006 to 120% in 2007.  Guyana became heavily indebted as a result of the inward-looking, state-led development model pursued in the 1970s and 1980s. Guyana's entrance into the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) in January 2006 has broadened the country's export market, primarily in the raw materials sector.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $2.966 billion (2008 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):  $1.13 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3% (2008 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $3,800 (2008 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 24.9%
industry: 24.9%
services: 50.2% (2008 est.)
Labor force: 333,900 (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Unemployment rate:
 
11% (2007)
Budget: revenues: $488.7 million
expenditures: $552.6 million (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 8.3% (2008 est.)
Agriculture - products: sugarcane, rice, shrimp, fish, edible oils; beef, pork, poultry
Industries: bauxite, sugar, rice milling, timber, textiles, gold mining
Industrial production growth rate: 2.4% (2008 est.)
Exports: $800 million (2008 est.)
Exports - commodities: sugar, gold, bauxite, alumina, rice, shrimp, molasses, rum, timber
Exports - partners: Canada 21.6%, US 15.8%, UK 12.7%, Netherlands 7.5%, Portugal 4.9%, Trinidad and Tobago 4.9% (2008)
Imports: $1.299 billion (2008 est.)
Imports - commodities: manufactures, machinery, petroleum, food
Imports - partners: US 23.7%, Trinidad and Tobago 22.5%, Finland 7.8%, Cuba 6.2%, China 5.2% (2008)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $355.9 million (31 December 2008 est.)
Exchange rates: Guyanese dollars (GYD) per US dollar - 203.86 (2008 est.)

Communications  
Telephones main lines in use: 125,000 (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 281,400 (2005)
Telephone system: general assessment: fair system for long-distance service
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)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 3, FM 3, shortwave 1 (1998)
Television broadcast stations: 3 (1 public station; 2 private stations which relay US satellite services) (1997)
Internet country code: .gy
Internet hosts: 6,218 (2008)
Internet users: 190,000 (2007)
Transportation:  
Airports: 99 (2009) Main Airport; Cheddi Jagan International
Airports - with paved runways: total: 10
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 7 (2009)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 89
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 14
under 914 m: 74 (2009)
Roadways: total: 7,970 km
country comparison to the world: 143
paved: 590 km
unpaved: 7,380 km (2000)
Waterways: 330 km
note: Berbice, Demerara, and Essequibo rivers are navigable by oceangoing vessels for 150 km, 100 km, and 80 km respectively (2008)
Merchant marine: total: 8
country comparison to the world: 124
by type: cargo 6, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 1
registered in other countries: 3 (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2, unknown 1) (2008)
Ports and terminals: Georgetown

Military Guyana Defense Force: Army (includes Coast Guard, Air Corps) (2008)
  Main Source of Information: the Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook
   

Items of Interest  
National Anthem: Dear Land of Guyana

Dear land of Guyana, of rivers and plains
Made rich by the sunshine, and lush by the rains,
Set gem-like and fair between mountains and sea -
Your children salute you, dear land of the free.

Green land of Guyana, our heroes of yore
Both bondsmen and free, laid their bones on your shore;
This soil so they hallowed, and from them are we,
All sons of one mother, Guyana the free.

Great land of Guyana, diverse though our strains,
We are born of their sacrifice, heirs of their pains,
And ours is the glory their eyes did not see -
One land of six peoples, united and free.

Dear land of Guyana, to you will we give
Our homage, our service, each day that we live;
God guard you, great Mother, and make us to be
More worthy our heritage - land of the free.

(Words by A.L. Luker, music by R.C.G. Potter)

Highest National Award: Order of Excellence
Favourite Local Cuisine: Guyana Pepper pot (a traditional meat stew containing cassareep and pepper); Guyana Cook-up (a classic rice dish with meat); Curry and Roti
Government Web Site: http://www.op.gov.gv