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Co-operative Republic of Guyana[1]
Flag Coat of arms
Motto"One people, one nation, one destiny"
Anthem"Dear Land of Guyana, of Rivers and Plains"
Capital
(and largest city)
Georgetown
6°46′N 58°10′W / 6.767°N 58.167°W / 6.767; -58.167
Official language(s) English
Recognised regional languages Guyanese Creole, Portuguese, Spanish, Akawaio, Macushi, Wai Wai, Arawak
Ethnic groups  43.5% East Indian, 30.2% Black, 17% Mixed, 9.1% Amerindian[2]
Demonym Guyanese
Government Semi-presidential republic
 -  President Bharrat Jagdeo
 -  Prime Minister Sam Hinds
Independence
 -  Dutch Guiana 1667-1814 
 -  British Guiana 1814-1966 
 -  from the United Kingdom 26 May 1966 
 -  Republic 23 February 1970 
Area
 -  Total 214,999 km2 (84th)
83,000 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 8.4
Population
 -  2009 estimate 772,298[2]1 (160th)
 -  2002 census 751,223[3] 
 -  Density 3.5/km2 (225th)
9.1/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $3.082 billion[4] 
 -  Per capita $4,029[4] 
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $1.154 billion[4] 
 -  Per capita $1,509[4] 
HDI (2007) 0.729[5] (medium) (115th)
Currency Guyanese dollar (GYD)
Time zone (UTC-4)
Drives on the left
Internet TLD .gy
Calling code 592
1 Around one-third of the population (230,000) live in the capital, Georgetown.

Guyana (pronounced /ɡaɪˈænə/), officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana[1] and previously known as British Guiana, is a state on the northern coast of South America that is culturally part of the Anglophone Caribbean. Discovered by Europeans in 1498, Guyana has been struggled over for 500 years by the Spanish, French, Dutch, and British. It is the only state of the Commonwealth of Nations on mainland South America. Guyana is also a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which has its secretariat headquarters in Guyana's capital, Georgetown. Guyana achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1966.

Historically, the region known as "Guiana" (Land of Many Waters) was the large shield landmass north of the Amazon River and East of the Orinoco River. Five sub-regions were carved out of the landmass by colonial powers in the late 17th and early 18th century: Spanish Guiana (now eastern Venezuela), Portuguese Guiana (now northern Brazil), British Guiana (Guyana), Dutch Guiana (Suriname), and the present French overseas department of French Guiana. 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 and Suriname). Its population is approximately 770,000. It is one of the four non-Spanish-speaking territories on the continent, along with the countries of Brazil (Portuguese), Suriname (Dutch), and French Guiana (French).

Contents

Etymology

The name "Guyana" is derived from guiana the original name for the region which now includes Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana and parts of Venezuela and Brazil. It is believed the original term came from a Taino word meaning either "land of fast-flowing water" (a reference to the numerous rivers of the territory) or "respectable", but the most famous and permanent one is "The Land Of Many Waters".

History

Guyana 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 (1616), Berbice (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.

A map of Dutch Guiana 1667-1814.

The first slaves were forcibly brought to Guyana under harsh conditions in the early 17th century in order to provide free labour for the development of the local economy and to import goods to Europe. Escaped slaves formed their own settlements known as Maroon communities. With the abolition of slavery in 1834 and after the five year apprenticeship period, many of the former slaves bought and paid for land which they then used to form other communities e.g. Buxton, Plessance, Victoria, Queenstown,etc. Indentured labourers from modern-day Portugal (1834), Germany (first in 1835), Ireland (1836), Scotland (1837), Malta (1839), China and eastern India (Madras, Bengal and Bihar primarily, beginning in 1838) were imported to work on the sugar plantations.

In 1889, Venezuela claimed the land up to the Essequibo. Ten years later, an international tribunal ruled the land belonged to British Guyana.

Map of British Guiana

Guyana achieved independence from the United Kingdom on 26 May 1966 and became a republic on 23 February 1970, remaining a member of the Commonwealth. The United States 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.[6] 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 almost entirely American members (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' body guards 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.

Geography

Guyana 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 middle of the country; the grassy savannah in the southern west ; and the larger interior highlands (interior savannah) consisting mostly of mountains that gradually rise to the Brazilian border.

Some of Guyana's highest mountains are Mount Ayanganna (6,699 ft (2,042 m), Monte Caburaí (4,806 ft (1,465 m) and Mount Roraima (9,301 ft (2,835 m) — 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 (tepuis) are said to have been the inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 1912 novel The Lost World. There are also many steep escarpments and waterfalls, including Kaieteur Falls. Between the Rupununi River and the border with Brazil lies the Rupununi savannah, south of which lie the Kanuku Mountains.

The four longest rivers are the Essequibo at 1,010 km (628 miles) long, the Courantyne River at 724 km (450 miles), the Berbice at 595 km (370 miles), and the Demerara at 346 km (215 miles). The Courantyne river forms the border with Suriname. At the mouth of the Essequibo are several large islands, including the 90-mile (145 km) Shell Beach lies along the northwest coast, which is also a major breeding area for sea turtles (mainly Leatherbacks) and other wildlife.

The local climate is tropical 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 rainforests 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 Councils

Regions of Guyana

Guyana is divided into 10 regions:[7][8]

No Region Area km² Population Population
per km²
1 Barima-Waini 20,339 24,275 1.2
2 Pomeroon-Supenaam 6,195 49,253 8.0
3 Essequibo Islands-West Demerara 2,232 103,061 46.2
4 Demerara-Mahaica 1,843 310,320 168.4
5 Mahaica-Berbice 3,755 52,428 14.0
6 East Berbice-Corentyne 36,234 123,695 3.4
7 Cuyuni-Mazaruni 47,213 17,597 0.3
8 Potaro-Siparuni 20,051 10,095 0.5
9 Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo 57,750 19,387 1.3
10 Upper Demerara-Berbice 19,387 41,112 2.1
Guyana 214,999 751,223 3.49

The regions are divided into 27 neighbourhood councils.[9]

Boundary disputes

Areas with red stripe are parts of Guyana historically claimed by Venezuela

Guyana was in border disputes 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 as part of Guayana Esequiba.[10][11][12] The maritime[13][14] component of the territorial dispute with Suriname was arbitrated by the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea, and a ruling was announced in 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.[15]

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.[16] 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.[17]

Specific small disputed areas involving Guyana are Ankoko Island with Venezuela; Corentyne River[18] with Suriname; and New River Triangle[19] with Suriname.

Environment and biodiversity

Satellite image of Guyana 2004.

The following habitats have been categorised for Guyana: coastal, marine, littoral, estuarine palustrine, mangrove, riverine, lacustrine, swamp, savanna, white sand forest, brown sand forest, montane, cloud forest, moist lowland and dry evergreen scrub forests (NBAP, 1999). About 14 areas of biological interest have been identified as possible hotspots for a National Protected Area System.

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 is one of the countries with the highest 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 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.[20]

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.

A Golden Frog (Kaieteur), that only lives in the Guianas
The Hoatzin the national bird of Guyana.

The Konashen Indigenous District of Southern Guyana houses the headwaters of the Essequibo River, Guyana’s principal water source, and drains the Kassikaityu, Kamoa, Sipu and Chodikar rivers. Southern Guyana is host to some of the most pristine expanses of evergreen forests in the northern part of South America. Most of the forests found here are tall, evergreen hill-land and lower montane forests, with large expanses of flooded forest along major rivers. Thanks to the very low human population density of the area, most of these forests are still intact. The Smithsonian Institution has identified nearly 2,700 species of plants from this region, representing 239 distinct families, and there are certainly additional species still to be recorded.

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 status

Among many other mammals, Guyanese jungles are home to the jaguar.

Many 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.

Guyana submitted the Kaieteur National Park, including the Kaieteur Falls, 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.

Kaieteur Falls is the world's tallest single drop waterfall

Meanwhile, as a result of the Kaieteur National Park being considered too small, there is a proposal to prepare a nomination for a Cluster Site that will include the Kaieteur National Park, the Iwokrama Forest 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.

Landmarks

St. George's Anglican Cathedral 
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.
Kaieteur Falls.
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Building
Houses the largest and most powerful economic union in the Caribbean.
Providence Stadium 
Situated in Providence on the east 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.
Stabroek Market
A large cast-iron colonial structure that looked like a statue was located next to the Demerara River.
The City Hall
A beautiful wooden structure also from the colonial era.
Queen's College
Top educational institution in Guyana

Economy

Tractor in a rice field on Guyana's coastal plain.

The main economic activities in Guyana are agriculture (production of rice and Demerara sugar), bauxite mining, gold 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 and sugar 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 and mining 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 Canadian Rio Tinto Alcan; the Korean/Malaysian Barama Company has a large stake in the logging industry.

A section of Bourda Market.

The production of balatá (natural latex) 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. Folk 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)[21] and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce & Industry (GCCI);[22]

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.

Summary

GDP/PPP (2007 estimate) 
US$3.082 billion (US$4,029 per capita)
Real growth rate  
3.6%
Inflation  
12.3%
Unemployment  
9.1% (2000, understated[citation needed])
Arable land  
2%
Labour force  
418,000 (2001 estimate)
Agricultural produce
sugar, rice, vegetable oils, beef, pork, poultry, dairy products, fish, shrimps
Industrial produce  
bauxite, sugar, rice milling, timber, textiles, gold mining
Natural resources  
bauxite, gold, diamonds, hardwood timber, shrimp, fish
Exports  
US$621.6 million (2006 estimate)
sugar, gold, bauxite/alumina, rice, shrimp, molasses, rum, timber.
Imports  
US$706.9 million (2006 estimate)
manufactured items, machinery, petroleum, food.
Major trading partners
Canada, US, UK, Portugal, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, China, Cuba, Singapore, Japan , Brazil, Suriname (2009)

Cost of living

The 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 5 US$ per Liter,[23] and electricity prices are close to 0.33 US$ per unit.[24] A domestic gas bottle (or gas cylinder) is slightly over 20 US$.[25] Rent for average family accommodation may exceed 500 US$ per month in safe urban locations, and personal income tax, which is 33.33% (one third) of total taxable income makes the cost of living higher.[26] An employee's salary is normally paid in Guyanese dollars (1 US Dollar = 205 Guyanese Dollars approx.)[27] and income tax is deducted by the employer.

Demographics

Guyana 2005 population density (people per km2)

The population of Guyana is approximately 770,000,[2] 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 miles in width.[28]

The present population of Guyana is racially and ethnically heterogeneous, composed chiefly of the descendants of immigrants who came to the country either as enslaved, mostly from Africa, or indentured labourers from India, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany and Portugal. The population therefore is made up of groups with ethnic backgrounds from India, Africa, Europe, China, 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 Indo-Caribbean people and the African-Caribbeans.[29][30]

The largest ethnic sub-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 and Warao) are fourth making up close to 10% of the population. The smallest groups are European, 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.[31]

A graph showing population of Guyana from 1961 to 2003. We can also see the decline of population in the 1980s.

The population distribution in 2002 was determined by ethnic background. The distribution pattern has been similar to those of the 1980 and 1991 censuses, but the share of the two main groups has declined. The East Indians 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 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.[32]

Most Indo-Guyanese are descended from Bhojpuri-speaking Bihari migrants.[33]

Language

English is the official language of Guyana and used, for example, in its schools. In addition, Cariban languages (Akawaio, Wai-Wai, Arawak and Macushi) are spoken by a small minority, while Guyanese Creole (an English-based creole with African syntax whose grammar is not standardised.[34]) is widely spoken.

Religion

According to the 2002 Census, Guyana's religions breakdown is 57% Christian (of which 16.9% Pentecostal, 8.1% Roman Catholic, 6.9% Anglican, 5% Seventh-day Adventist and 20% other Christian denominations), 23.4% Hindu, 7.3% Muslim, 0.5% Rastafarian, 0.1% Bahá'í, 2.2% other faiths including Judaism, and 4.3% no religion.[35]

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 the Afro-Guyanese, and Indian-Guyanese.

Government and politics

The State House, Guyana's Presidential Residence.
The supreme court of Guyana.
The Parliament building of Guyana since 1834.

Politics of Guyana takes place in a framework of a semi-presidential representative democratic republic, 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.[citation needed]

Military

Soldiers of the Guyana Defence Forces

The military of Guyana consists of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), which includes Ground Forces, Coast Guard, and Air Corps. 155,058 males are fit for service (2002 estimates) The Guyana People's Militia and the Guyana National Service are defunct.

Infrastructure, communications and health

Transport

Cross-border bridge from Guyana to Brazil near Lethem.

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) is paved. Navigable waterways include 669 miles (1,077 km), including the Berbice, Demerara, and Essequibo rivers.

Typical everyday transportation.

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 on the American mainland which drive on the left.

Electricity

The 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.

Reliability or electricity supply is very low, linked both to technical and institutional deficiencies in the sector, with total losses close to 40% and commercial losses of about 30%.

Water supply and sanitation

Key issues in the water and sanitation 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.

Communications

[36]

Telephone system

  • Telephones : 110,120 main telephone lines (2005)
  • Telephones - mobile cellular: 281,400 (2005)
  • 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

Television broadcast was officially introduced to Guyana in 1991.[37]

  • 15 (1 public station (channel 11); 14 private stations which relay on US satellite services) (1997)

Internet system

  • Internet country code: .gy
  • Internet hosts: 6,218 (2008)[citation needed]
  • Internet users: 190,000 (2007)[citation needed]

Public health

Service delivery

The 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 care for common diseases and attempt to promote proper health practices. Community health workers 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 Canje; 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 in December 1997.

Health conditions

One 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 or Cuba.

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. The infant mortality rate in 1998 was 24.2. Maternal mortality rates in Guyana are also relatively high, being estimated at 124.6/1000 for 1998. 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 2008 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 [38] 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.[39]

Education

Bishops' High School

Guyana's educational system was at one time considered to be among the best in the Caribbean, but it significantly deteriorated in the 1980s because of the emigration of highly educated citizens and the lack of appropriate funding. Although the education system has recovered somewhat in the 1990s, it still does not produce the quality of educated students necessary for Guyana to modernise its workforce. The country lacks a critical mass of expertise in many of the disciplines and activities on which it depends.

The educational system does not sufficiently focus on the training of Guyanese in science and technology, technical and vocational subjects, business management, nor computer sciences. The Guyanese education system is modeled after the former British education system. Students are expected to write SSEE (secondary school entrance exam) by grade 6 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.

Culture

Holidays
Date Name
1 January New Year's Day
23 February Mashramani-Republic Day
March/April Phagwah
March/April Youman Nabi
March/April Good Friday
March/April Easter Monday
1 May Labour Day
5 May Indian Arrival Day
26 May Independence Day
First Monday in July CARICOM Day
1 August Emancipation Day
(moving)1 Eid-ul-Fitr
October/November Diwali
25 December Christmas
26 December or 27 Boxing Day
1A moving holiday in the Gregorian calendar, fixed to the last day of Ramandan in the Islamic calendar.

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).

Sports

Providence Stadium as seen from the East Bank Highway.

The major sports in Guyana are cricket (Guyana is part of the West Indies as defined for international cricket purposes), softball cricket (beach cricket) and football (soccer). Minor sports include netball, rounders, lawn tennis, basketball, table tennis, boxing, squash 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 performed a helmet trick or double hat-trick (four wickets in four consecutive deliveries).

Notable people

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b "Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana Act" (PDF). March 1998. http://www.gina.gov.gy/gina_pub/laws/Laws/cap101.pdf. Retrieved 17 February 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "The World Factbook: Guyana". CIA. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gy.html. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  3. ^ Guyana 2002 Census Bureau of Statistics - Guyana. Retrieved 25 June 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d "Guyana". International Monetary Fund. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2009/02/weodata/weorept.aspx?sy=2006&ey=2009&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=336&s=NGDPD%2CNGDPDPC%2CPPPGDP%2CPPPPC%2CLP&grp=0&a=&pr.x=42&pr.y=4. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  5. ^ "Human Development Report 2009. Human development index trends: Table G". The United Nations. http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2009_EN_Complete.pdf. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  6. ^ "US Declassifed Documents (1964–1968)". http://www.guyana.org/govt/US-declassifed-documents-1964-1968.html. 
  7. ^ Bureau of Statistics - Guyana, CHAPTER III: POPULATION REDISTRIBUTION AND INTERNAL MIGRATION, Table 3.4: Population Density, Guyana: 1980 - 2002
  8. ^ Guyana - Government Information Agency, National Profile
  9. ^ Government of Guyana, Statistics
  10. ^ guyanachronicle.com - "Tribunal decision tentatively set for August"
  11. ^ Guyana to experience ‘massive' oil exploration this year
  12. ^ News in the Caribbean - Caribbean360.com
  13. ^ "Foreign affairs minister reiterates Guyana's territorial sovereignty". CaribbeanNetNews.com. http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/news-21520--13-13--.html. Retrieved Wednesday, February 17, 2010. 
  14. ^ "POINT OF CLARIFICATION: Guyana clears air on Suriname border talk". Caribbean News Agency. February 17th, 2010. http://www.cananews.net/news/131/ARTICLE/46671/2010-02-17.html. Retrieved February 17th, 2010. "Reference was made by the Foreign Affairs Minister to the public statements reported in the Surinamese press confirming that in the year 2000, the Surinamese government plotted to invade the new river triangle during the time when Guyana's exclusive economic zone was violated and the CGX rig was forcibly removed from the Guyanese waters. "Such an act, would have also been in breach of international law just as the tribunal that heard the maritime dispute between Guyana and Suriname ruled that the removal of the CGX rig by Suriname and I quote 'constituted a threat of the use of force in breach of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the UN Charter and general International law," Rodrigues Birkett said." 
  15. ^ official site of the Permanent Court of Arbitration
  16. ^ Ishmael, Odeen (1998, rev. 2006) "The Trail Of Diplomacy: A Documentary History of the Guyana-Venezuela Border Issue" Dr. Ishmael was Ambassador of Guyana to Venezuela when this was written.
  17. ^ http://www.a-venezuela.com/mapas/map/html/politico.html
  18. ^ Ramjeet, Oscar (2008-10-28). "Guyana and Suriname border dispute continues despite UN findings". Caribbean Net News. http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/guyana/guyana.php?news_id=11740&start=120&category_id=13. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  19. ^ Rodrigues-Birkett, Carolyn (2008-10-24). "There is no agreement recognizing Suriname’s sovereignty over the Corentyne River". Stabroek Newspaper. http://www.stabroeknews.com/letters/there-is-no-agreement-recognizing-suriname%e2%80%99s-sovereignty-over-the-corentyne-river/. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  20. ^ Konashen COCA Biodiversity Booklet
  21. ^ Private Sector Commission
  22. ^ Georgetown Chamber of Commerce & Industry (GCCI)
  23. ^ Caribbean NetNews
  24. ^ Guyana Power and Light
  25. ^ Baiganchoka Consulting Services
  26. ^ Kaieteur NewsOnline
  27. ^ Finance/Currency Conversion, Yahoo.com
  28. ^ Geographia: Guyana General Information
  29. ^ "Guyana turns attention to racism". BBC News. September 20, 2005.
  30. ^ "Conflict between East-Indian and Blacks in Trinidad and Guyana Socially, Economically and Politically". Gabrielle Hookumchand, Professor Moses Seenarine. May 18, 2000.
  31. ^ http://www.joshuaproject.net/peopctry.php
  32. ^ "Portuguese emigration from Madeira to British Guiana"
  33. ^ Helen Myers. Music of Hindu Trinidad. http://books.google.com/books?id=RCF6NnEv9oAC&pg=PA30&d. 
  34. ^ Damoiseau, Robert (2003) Eléments de grammaire comparée français-créole guyanais Ibis rouge, Guyana, ISBN 2844501923
  35. ^ International Religious Freedom Report 2007
  36. ^ "CIA - The World Factbook -- Guyana". Central Intelligence Agency. 23 April 2009. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gy.html. Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  37. ^ Timeline of the introduction of television in countries
  38. ^ Guyana’s murder rate is up this year
  39. ^ BBCCaribbean.com

Further reading

  • Stanley E. Brock, All the Cowboys Were Indians and Jungle Cowboy
  • 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
  • Vere T. Daly, The Making of Guyana
  • D. Graham Burnett, Masters of All They Surveyed: Exploration, Geography and a British El Dorado
  • Ovid Abrams, Metegee: The History and Culture of Guyana
  • Evelyn Waugh, Ninety-Two Days
  • Gerald Durrell, Three Singles To Adventure
  • 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 Waterton, Wanderings in South America
  • David Attenborough, Zoo Quest to Guiana (Lutterworth Press, London: 1956)

External links



Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

South America : Guyana
noframe
Location
noframe
Flag
Image:gy-flag.png
Quick Facts
Capital Georgetown
Government Republic
Currency Guyanese dollar (GYD)
Area total: 214,970 km2
water: 18,120 km2
land: 196,850 km2
Population 767,000 (2006 est.)
Language English, Amerindian dialects, Creole,
Religion Christian 50%, Hindu 35%, Muslim 10%, other 5%
Electricity 110-240V/60Hz (USA plug)
Calling Code +592
Internet TLD .gy
Time Zone UTC-3 to UTC-4

Guyana, [1], is a country in north-eastern South America. It has an Atlantic Ocean coastline in the northeast, and lies between Suriname to the east and Venezuela to the west, with Brazil to the south.

It is now the third-smallest country in South America after Suriname and Uruguay. The name Guyana (from Arawak Gayana) means "Land of many waters." It is related to the name Uruguay: River of the colorful birds, another country in South America.

Regions

There are three counties in Guyana. These counties are Berbice, Demerara and Essequibo. Three rivers with the same names flow into the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the population of Guyana live on the coastal front and fish off these rivers.

Map of Guyana
Map of Guyana
Administrative divisions 
10 regions;
  • Georgetown - Capital of the country, situated in the county of Demerara
  • Bartica
  • Linden, a mining town (bauxite)originally named McKenzie, but renamed after the country's first Executive President, Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham
  • New Amsterdam, the second largest town in the country
  • Parika - sits ion the East Bank of the Essequibo River, the country's largest river.
  • Kaieteur Falls (5 times the height of Niagara Falls and the highest single drop waterfall in the world) [2]. It can be accessed by a short plane flight from the capital offered by various tour companies as a day trip. It is also the final destination of a five-day trek.
  • Orinduik Falls- A smaller waterfall than Kaieteur that is also included when visiting Kaieteur by plane.
    Kaieteur Falls
    Kaieteur Falls
  • The Rupununi Savannah
  • The Kanuku Mountains
  • Iwokrama
  • Marshall Falls
  • Kyk-Over-Al
  • Shell Beach
  • Mabaruma
  • Lethem
  • Paramakatoi

Understand

Climate

Tropical; hot, humid, moderated by northeast trade winds; two rainy seasons (May to mid-August, mid-November to mid-January); Natural hazards: Flash floods are a constant threat during rainy seasons.

Terrain

Mostly rolling highlands; low coastal plain; savanna in south

Highest point 
Mount Roraima 2,835 m

History

Originally a Dutch colony in the 17th century, by 1815 Guyana had become a British possession. The abolition of slavery led to the purchase of some villages such as Victoria and Anns Grove to name a few, as well as black settlement of urban areas and the importation of indentured servants from India to work the sugar plantations. Chinese were also imported to work on plantations but were found to be unsuitable (read Guyana History. The Colonial powers employed a system of "divide and rule" among the freed Africans and the other ethnic groups which were brought and encouraged to settle in the then colony. The policy was employed even during slavery when indigenous "Amerindians" were used to hunt runaway slaves. The result was an ethno-cultural divide, significant elements of which have persisted to this day and has led to turbulent politics, dissolution of attempts at nationalistic cultural development and the non-existence of anything resembling a "National Identity".

Independence 
26 May 1966 (from UK)
National holiday 
Republic Day, 23 February (1970)
Constitution 
6 October 1980 (There seems to be the feeling that this Constitution actually works to facilitate a dictatorship).

Guyana achieved independence from the UK in 1966, but until the early 1990s it was 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. Upon his death five years later, he was succeeded by his wife Janet, who resigned in 1999 due to poor health. Her successor, Bharrat JAGDEO, was reelected in 2001 and again in 2006.

Get in

By plane

The Timehri international airport (Timehri means "Rock Painting") named in honor of the indigineous displaced peoples of Guyana was renamed Cheddi Jagan International Airport. There are daily international flights into and out of Cheddi Jagan International Airport about 40km south of Georgetown. International flights include flights to the US, Canada, UK and The Caribbean with Caribbean Airlines(formerly BWIA). Caribbean Airlines is a state owned airline run by Trinidad & Tobago. Flights to the Caribbean with Caribbean Star and LIAT. North American Airlines and Xtra Airways, which are non- stop flights, on the New York and Guyana route. Primaris Airlines, non- stop flights, flies to Guyana from JFK- New York and FLL.-Florida

Delta Airlines will start weekly service to Guyana from JFK to Jagan starting in June 2008.

By train

The end of Colonialism throughout the Caribbean by Britain, giving nations such as Guyana independence created a sudden vacuum in administration and finances necessary to properly build and maintain the nations infrastructure. The gradual erosion of the nations finances and services along with the loosening of immigration restrictions by first world countries precipitated a great exodus from Guyana and other third world countries. Ignorance of these facts leads many to make statements such as this about Guyana's Railway system. "Guyana's rail system was sold by the late President Forbes Burnham - the man whose policies were largely responsible for the mass exodus that Guyana saw in the latter half of the twentieth century. Remnants of the railway can be noted throughout Georgetown. The president sold the system to some of the vast African nations" Statements such as this is evident of the deep-rooted racism that runs through the fabric of the Guyanese society.

By car

Guyana has road access to Suriname to the East and Brazil to the south. In Suriname enquire in Paramaribo for mini-buses traveling to Guyana. Note that entering Guyana by water travel from Nieuw Nickerie in Suriname is illegal. (Even though there is nobody to stop you. Worst case scenario you'll be sent back or you'll have to pay for a visum. I have never seen any border control here. When travelling from Nieuw-Nickerie to Paramaribo over land you will most likely run into a military police roadblock near Totness, but these guys are really after gun and drug smugglers, not tourists. Shoe your European ID card or a valid drivers licence and they won't even ask for your passport to check if you have the right visa stamps. It appears they don't mind you entering the country as long as you don't cause trouble and spend your money in their country. Which is a good deal I reckon) Buses leave Georgetown for the Surinamese border daily. Ask at the bus park near Stabroek Market.

The bus ride from Georgetown to Lethem, at the Brazilian border takes about 10 hours through rainforest and southern savannah. The ride can be much longer in the rainy season. Sections of the roadway are known to become impassable in heavy rainy weather and extreme care must be taken.

Inquire about buses to Brazil at the Interserv Bus Office located on Charlotte Street in downtown Georgetown. Buses usually leave very late at night and it is recommended that you take a taxi to the bus station as the area around there is unsafe at night. For buses from Brazil travel to Bonfim on the border and walk across the border. Find a minibus or taxi to take you to Lethem city center and inquire about buses traveling to Georgetown.

There are no road links between Venezuela and Guyana. Travel to Venezuela may be done by air via Trinidad or overland through Roraima State in Brazil.

Get around

Minibuses travel throughout Guyana and are the cheapest way to travel. Minibus fares range from $60 GYD - $1,000GYD ($1 USD =$ 200 GYD) depending on the length of the journey. Travel in this mode at night could be risky.

Many parts of Guyana are separated by large rivers. These areas can be traversed by way of river taxi. Go to the port village and ask from where the speedboats launch. Ask other passengers what the fare is while traveling as boat operators tend to seek higher fees from tourists. Do not take "specials" without first negotiating the price.

Taxis are a good way to get around in Georgetown. Fares should never be more than $2.50 (Guyanese $500) for travel within the city and most fares should be around GD$400.

One can also rent cars or 4x4s; check the local telephone listings for car rentals. Consult more than one rental agency as prices can vary. You might also be able to negotiate the prices charged to some extent. Deposits are usually required. If renting a vehicle, be sure to enquire whether your driver's license will be acceptable. Violations of traffic laws can result in much time wasted and possible trips to the local courts.

There are set prices for taxis for different destinations, e.g. from the airport to town costs GD$4000, from the airport to Moleson Creek is GD$24,000, etc...

Languages 
English(Official, spoken by all), Creole, Amerindian dialects.

Buy

With an exchange rate of ~200 Guyana Dollars per US Dollar, Guyana's has great shopping with amazing bargains. There are numerous markets and recently, shopping malls, in Guyana. Stabroek Market is a quaint market located in Georgetown. Trips to the market for tourists are best done in groups or with a local with whom you feel comfortable. Muggings are possible but not frequent. It is the largest in Georgetown.

The City Mall on regent Street is the most modern of its kind in Georgetown and many tourist stores are located here. The central downtown shopping area is bounded by Hadfield Street on the South of the city, Water Street to the West, Albert Street to the East and Middle Street to the North. Most of the city's stores, supermarkets, boutiques and restaurants can be found within this zone. Every item a person could want can be purchased in the many stores in Guyana.

Guyana is also noted for its exceptional gold jewelry. There are several well known places where you can get quality handcrafted pieces, some of them being TOPAZ Jewellers on Crown and Oronoque Streets in Queenstown; GASKIN & JACKSON jewellers on Camp Sreet; KINGS JEWELRY WORLD on Quamina Street with a branch on Middle Street; and Fine Jewelry by Niko's", located on Church Street.

Lots of locally made and beautiful crafts ranging from paintings; to sculpture; to leather purses, satchels, wallets; hand-painted, tie-dyed and batik(ed) fabrics, pressed flowers, sun hats; semi-precious stones and hand-crafted costume jewelry using indigenous materials, can be purchased at an esplanade outside the Central Post-Office near the National Museum in downtown Georgetown. Ask around and you'll find out about the craft and gift shoppe as well as Gallery owned and operated by Ms. LIZ DEANE-HUGHES on Hadfield Street.

Ask around too about designs by local and internationally acclaimed fashion designers, Michelle Cole, Pat Coates, and Roger Gary.

Eat

There are many fast foods and restaurants around Georgetown that one can go to eat. Some are:

  • KFC - Stabroek, Vlissengen Road, Mandela Avenue and Bagostown, East Bank Demerara.
  • The restaurant at the Windjammer Hotel, Queen Street Kitty.
  • 'SPICY DISH, David Street, Kitty.
  • Hacks Halaal, downtown Georgetown.
  • OASIS Cafe, Carmichael Street, Georgetown.
  • DEMICO HOUSE & STEAK HOUSE - Stabroek, Campbellville, Main St, Kitty, Camp St.
  • Popeye's - Vlissengen Road
  • Pizza Hut - Vlissengen Road
  • City Mall - Regent St
  • New Thriving Chinese Restaurant - Main Street
  • The Diner - Regent St
  • Dutch Bottle Cafe - North Road

In addition, there are a few Brazilian restaurants scattered around the town, for those who'd like to enjoy the jewelry from the south.

Drink

The most popular national drink is Caribbean-style dark rum. Some national favorites are XM "10" Year OLD, produced by local beverage giant BANKS DIH Limited, and El Dorado and X-tra Mature which both offer 5, 10, 12 and 25 year varieties. El Dorado also offers a 15 year old variety which has won the "Best Rum in the World" award since 1999. Mix the cheaper ones with Coke or coconut water if you please. All are quality enough to drink neat or by themselves with the 25 year-olds comparing with high-quality scotch.

BANKS BEER produced by local beverage giant BANKS DIH Limited is the National beer. It comes in a lager and a stout (Milk Stout)The beverage giant also bottles and distributes HEINEKEN Beer and GUINESS Stout under license. Also available are the lighter Carib (Trinidad and Tobago) and darker Mackeson's. Guinness is brewed locally under license and is a bit sweeter than its Irish counterpart, but just as good. Polar (Venezuelan) and Skol (Brazilian) can be found randomly throughout the country. You can also find Heineken and Corona at posher bars in Georgetown.

Fun

On NEW YEARS EVE, you can ring the New Year in at several well organized and often sumptuous "OLD YEARS NIGHT" Fetes around the city. You could even get invited to Private fetes kept at private residences.

MASHRAMANI An Amerindian word meaning "celebration after hard work"...- In February, on the 23rd, celebrate the Country's Republic Anniversary celebration. A carnival-like event with float parades and Costumed Bands: you can be a costumed reveler in a Costume Band....and MASH away to the rhythms of Soca and calypso; or you can be just a spectator along the route enjoying the colorful float parades and costume Bands as the wend their way through the city. While you "spectate", have a swig of local rums, with coconut water, or any of your favorite alcoholic beverages; have some BANKS BEER, enjoy BAR-B-QUE and a whole host of local Guyanese fare...all the while swaying and wining to the beat of the soca and calypso...start from about 10 in the morning and enjoy the company of your friends and colleagues in a truly multi-cultural celebration of joy!

At EASTER, On Holy Thursday, buy and enjoy your hot Cross Buns, Go to Good Friday Masses if you care to, and then join thousands anywhere along the coastland and in all other inhabited areas for KITE-FLYING on Easter Monday: the day is usually characterized by fun and picnics and of course, kite-flying. Again it is an occasion for general social multi-ethnic involvement in the society.

OTHER...there are several beauty pageants, and fashion shows, there is football (soccer) League Tournaments; for soccer lovers; there are motor races characterized twice per year; You can go jogging or walking in the National Park; there are gyms for those who want to work out physically; there are three POWERLIFTING COMPETITIONS during the year; Cycle road races; schools athletics Championships; horseracing; golf; nature Tours to the beautiful Hinterland; See...KAIETEUR FALLS...''ORINDUIK...IWOKRAMA RAINFOREST RESERVE; go hiking or biking; White-water rafting; Bird watching; or simply spend some time "liming" on the Seawall in the afternoon/evening...The seawall is best on Sunday evenings...be safe be with a group of people!!

Have fun in Guyana!!!!

Sleep

There are several hotels in Guyana, all are equipped with great amenities. There are some which are suitable for budget travel

  • Le Meridien Pegasus
  • Cara Suites
  • Cara Lodge [3]
  • Hotel Tower
  • Grand Coastal Inn
  • Grand Coastal Suites
  • Sleepin
  • Hotel Ariantze/Sidewalk
  • Buddy's Hotel
  • Buddy's Providence Hotel and Resort (Opened 21st February 2007)
  • Roraima Residence Inn
  • many more!

Learn

Education is free in Guyana. The public school system is under a lot of criticism. There are some private schools. There is one University, with two campuses (Tain and Turkeyen), the University of Guyana [4]. Some of the teachers in Guyana are from overseas, and manage to use their time here to travel around while the job gives an opportunity to meet people.

Work

Guyana has a fair number of expatriates. Persons who are not Guyanese have to get a work permit after employment is confirmed. Caribbean citizens might have some exemptions under the CSME scheme. There are a number of volunteer organizations like Project Trust, Peace Corps, VSO and CESO working in Guyana. Some people have come on short stints to volunteer with churches, and other non-governmental organizations. The host organizations will apply for the necessary travel permits.

Stay safe

Georgetown is notorious for petty street crime. Do not walk alone at night, or even in the day, unless you know the area well.Areas such as the Tiger Bay area east of Main Street and the entire southeastern part of the city including, in particular, Albouystown and Ruimveldt are traditionally known as high crime areas but one can be relatively safe if going through these areas in groups and with native escorts. Venturing into the covered area of the Stabroek Market can pose some dangers but if you need to visit it then do so with a group or with Guyanese whom you know well and with whom you feel comfortable. Police are unlikely to help you unless they see the crime in action. Be sensible about wearing jewelry. Even cosmetic jewelry which is gaudy is likely to attract the wrong attention.

It is advised to exercise common sense.

You might have heard of or read about the village Buxton. It is a hotbed of Afro-Guyanese violence, comparable to the American neighborhood Compton. Visits to Buxton ought to be brokered carefully with someone who knows the area well and who is well accepted in the village. If your visit to this village is perceived to be anything other than casual then there could be unwarranted problems. There are a lot of gangs and drug dealers there. Many Indo-Guyanese villages such as Cane Grove, Annadale, and lusignan, are notorious for violence, petty crimes, racism and kidnappings. It is advisable for toursists or people who are not of Indo-Guyanese origin travelling through these areas should also be accompanied by someone known in these areas.

The interior regions with the breath-taking waterfalls and the beautiful rainforests and mountains are perfectly safe. Many rural areas around the country are filled with a friendly atmosphere and are perfectly safe. Crime is rarely directed at tourists, so don't feel intimidated. Just be sensible about the company you keep, where you go and how you behave. There is a lot of prostitution that happens in Georgetown.

Homosexuality is illegal in Guyana and carries a sentence of life in prison. However, no one has been charged under the laws. One organization SASOD [5] organizes some events to promote anti-homophobic work. There is no local gay "scene" as most homosexuals remain rather closeted. Private gatherings are known to occur to which one must be invited. Homosexuals who are openly gay are generally left alone providing they are circumspect about their behavior. Public displays of affection among gay people are frowned upon and can make you the target of overt discrimination, attacks and taunts. There are no hotels, resorts or bars anywhere in the country which cater exclusively to gays and lesbian visitors or locals for that matter. Homophobia is sustained primarily through the influx of music which contains homophobic messages in their lyrics. The gay traveler is wise to be very cautious and conservative in his/her behavior.

It is however worthy to note of late, that homosexuality is more readily displayed and accepted in the Afro-Guyanese communities. Many gays openly display their lifestyle with little apprehension, or fear of persecution.

The police response varies depending on the location and time of the crime. Some tourists have reported positive responses.

Discussions of the current affairs of ethnic relations between the two major races, politics and the socio-economic issues in the country ought to be undertaken with much tact and much patience. Be aware that these types of discourses can sometimes lead to very heated and intense debate, and possibly something much worse. Guyanese are generally very open to discussing most issues, but as an outsider, you could be seen as a part of the problem - as absurd as that sounds - so guard your tongue.

Stay healthy

The country's largest hospital is the Georgetown Public Hospital and is in the capital. Facilities here are basic, even though it is a tertiary referral centre. Disposal of 'sharps' (needles, etc.) is improving but needs to get better, given country's growing HIV prevalence, currently at 2.5% of adults or 1 in 40. Practice safe sex as well.

You are better off using the private facilities at St. Joseph's Mercy Hospital near the US Embassy or the Medical Arts Centre on Thomas Street. While not first rate, these facilities are far superior to GPH and practices basic hygienic standards. Rooms are not overcrowded. There are also other private hospitals

Yellow fever is endemic to this area; monkeys are a reservoir, but you can catch it even in cities. Be sure to get immunized before you leave, and take mosquito repellent with you. Also be careful of malaria and dengue fever in the interior.

Do not drink the tap water, unless you want to spend a great part of you vacation in the toilet! Bottled water is readily available in a variety of brands.

Be vigilant to avoid criminals.

Avoid walking around with large sums of cash, even in the local currency.

Avoid the sun between 1PM and 3PM. It tends to be at its hottest during those hours. Wear sunscreen.

  • Police 592.226.2487 emergency - 911
  • Fire 592.226.2411 emergency - 912
  • Ambulance Service emergency - 913
  • Cheddi Jagan International Airport 592.261.2245
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs 592.226.1606
  • Ministry of Tourism Industry & Commerce 592.226.2392
  • Guyana Telephone & Telegraph 592.225.1315
  • Licence Revenue Office 592.223.5501
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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

Pronunciation

Proper noun

Singular
Guyana

Plural
-

Guyana

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Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia

  1. Country in South America. Official name: Cooperative Republic of Guyana.

Translations

See also


Czech

Proper noun

Guyana f.

  1. Guyana

Dutch

Wikipedia-logo.png
Dutch Wikipedia has an article on:
Guyana

Wikipedia nl

Proper noun

Guyana

  1. Guyana

Finnish

Wikipedia-logo.png
Finnish Wikipedia has an article on:
Guyana

Wikipedia fi

Proper noun

Guyana

  1. Guyana

Declension


German

Wikipedia-logo.png
German Wikipedia has an article on:
Guyana

Wikipedia de

Proper noun

Guyana n.

  1. Guyana

Derived terms

  • Französisch-Guyana
  • Guyaner
  • Guyanerin
  • guyanisch

Italian

Wikipedia-logo.png
Italian Wikipedia has an article on:
Guyana

Wikipedia it

Proper noun

Guyana f.

  1. Guyana

Derived terms


Norwegian

Proper noun

Guyana

  1. Guyana

Related terms


Spanish

Wikipedia-logo.png
Spanish Wikipedia has an article on:
Guyana

Wikipedia es

Proper noun

Guyana

  1. Guyana







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