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Guyana ( ) officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana 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; therefore stretches back a bit more than 500 years, Guyana's past is punctuated by battles fought and won, possessions lost and regained as the Spanish, French, Dutch and British wrangled for centuries to own the land. It is the only state of the Commonwealth of Nations on mainland South America. Guyana is bordered to the east by Surinamemarker, to the south and southwest by Brazilmarker, to the west by Venezuelamarker, and on the north by the Atlantic Oceanmarker. Guyana is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which has its secretariat headquaters in Guyana's capital, Georgetownmarker.

Historically, the region known as "Guiana" (Land of Many Waters) was comprised of 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 Guianamarker, Guyana achieved independence from Great Britainmarker in 1966.At 215,000 km2, Guyana is the third-smallest independent state on the mainland of South America (after Uruguaymarker, Suriname). Its population is approximately 770,000. It is one of the five non-Spanish-speaking territories on the continent, along with the countries of Brazilmarker (Portuguese), Surinamemarker (Dutch), French Guianamarker (French) and the British Overseas Territory of the Falkland Islandsmarker (English).

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 permant one is "The Land Of Many Waters".

History

Guyana was inhabited by the Arawak and Carib tribes of Amerindians. Although Christopher Columbus sighted Guyana during his third voyage (in 1498), the Dutchmarker were first to establish colonies: Essequibo (1616), Berbice (1627), and Demerara (1752). The Britishmarker 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.

Escaped slaves formed their own settlements known as Maroon communities. With the abolition of slavery in 1834, many of the former slaves began to settle in urban areas. Indentured labourers from modern-day Portugalmarker (1834), Germanymarker (first in 1835), Irelandmarker (1836), Scotlandmarker (1837), Maltamarker (1839), Chinamarker and eastern Indiamarker Madras,Bengal and Biharmarker primarily, beginning in 1838) were imported to work on the sugar plantations.

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

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 Departmentmarker and the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), along with the British government, played a strong role in influencing who would politically control Guyana during this time. They provided secret financial support and political campaign advice to Guyanese of African descent, especially Forbes Burnham's People's National Congress to the detriment of the Cheddi 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 which were children) of the Jim Jones-led Peoples Temple died in a mass murder/suicide in Jonestownmarker — 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 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 Ayangannamarker (6,699 ft (2,042 m), Monte Caburaímarker (4,806 ft (1,465 m) and Mount Roraimamarker (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 Fallsmarker. Between the Rupununi River and the border with Brazil lies the Rupununi savannah, south of which lie the Kanuku Mountainsmarker.



The four longest rivers are the Essequibomarker at 1,010 km (628 miles) long, the Courantyne Rivermarker at 724 km (450 miles), the Berbicemarker at 595 km (370 miles), and the Demeraramarker 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.

It 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:
No Region Area km² Population Population

per km²
1 Barima-Wainimarker 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.

Boundary disputes

Guyana was in border dispute with both Suriname, which claimed the land east of the Corentyne Rivermarker in southeastern Guyana, and Venezuela which claims the land west of the Essequibo River as part of Guayana Esequiba. A part 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 Seamarker 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 Rivermarker 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 Britainmarker 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 Islandmarker with Venezuela; Corentyne River with Suriname; and New River Triangle with Suriname.

Environment and biodiversity

Scarlet Macaws
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.

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.

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

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 UNESCOmarker 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 Parkmarker, 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 Fallsmarker, 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.

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 Mountainsmarker. 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 (Chlorocardium rodiei).

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 Templemarker in Japan.
Demerara Harbour Bridgemarker
The world's fourth-longest floating bridge.
Kaieteur Fallsmarker.
Caribbean Community Building: Houses the largest and most powerful economic union in the Caribbean.
Providence Stadiummarker
Situated in Providence on the east bank of the Demerara Rivermarker 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

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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.

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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) 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 Fundmarker (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

Demographics

The population of Guyana is approximately 770,000, of which 90% reside on the narrowcoastal strip (approximately 10% of the total land area of Guyana). Guyana's coastal strip ranges from between 10 to 40 miles in width.

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 or indentured labourers. The population therefore comprises groups of persons with nationality backgrounds from Indiamarker, Africa, Chinamarker, Europe (especially the United Kingdommarker, the Netherlandsmarker, and Portugalmarker), with several Aboriginal groups as the indigenous population. 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.

The largest ethnic sub-group is that of the descendants of immigrants from Indiamarker 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 1,500 individuals and the Chinese who number at 1,400 persons, and Middle Easterners of Arabic and Jewish extraction. A small group (112 persons) did not identify their racial and ethnic background.

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.

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

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.) 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.

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.
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 is 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.

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.

Transport



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.

There are ports at Georgetown, Port Kaituma, and New Amsterdammarker. There is 1 international airport (Cheddi Jagan International Airportmarker, Timehri); 1 regional airport (Ogle Airport); and about 90 airstrips, 9 of which have paved runways. Guyana & Surinamemarker are the only 2 countries on the (in-land) American continent who still drive on the left.

Electricity

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.

Education

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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.

Communications

Telephone System

  • Telephones : 110,100 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

  • 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)
  • Internet users: 190,000 (2007)


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 Departmentmarker 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 Tobagomarker or Cubamarker.

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 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.

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
Boxing Day
1A moving holiday in the Gregorian calendar, fixed to the last day of Ramandan in the Islamic calendar.


Guyana, along with Surinamemarker, French Guianamarker, and Brazilmarker, 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.

Its 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 Indiesmarker, 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).

Many guyanese imigrated to the united states, perhaps the most is in New York area's such as Richmond Hill, Queens.

Notable people



See also



Cheddi Bharat Jagan (Former President)

Notes

  1. Bureau of Statistics - Guyana, CHAPTER III: POPULATION REDISTRIBUTION AND INTERNAL MIGRATION, Table 3.4: Population Density, Guyana: 1980 - 2002
  2. Guyana - Government Information Agency, National Profile
  3. Government of Guyana, Statistics
  4. guyanachronicle.com - "Tribunal decision tentatively set for August"
  5. Guyana to experience ‘massive' oil exploration this year
  6. News in the Caribbean - Caribbean360.com
  7. official site of the Permanent Court of Arbitration
  8. 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.
  9. http://www.a-venezuela.com/mapas/map/html/politico.html
  10. Konashen COCA Biodiversity Booklet
  11. Private Sector Commission
  12. Georgetown Chamber of Commerce & Industry (GCCI)
  13. Geographia: Guyana General Information
  14. " Guyana turns attention to racism". BBC News. September 20, 2005.
  15. " Conflict between East-Indian and Blacks in Trinidad and Guyana Socially, Economically and Politically". Gabrielle Hookumchand, Professor Moses Seenarine. May 18, 2000.
  16. http://www.joshuaproject.net/peopctry.php
  17. " Portuguese emigration from Madeira to British Guiana"
  18. Damoiseau, Robert (2003) Eléments de grammaire comparée français-créole guyanais Ibis rouge, Guyana, ISBN 2844501923
  19. International Religious Freedom Report 2007
  20. Guyana’s murder rate is up this year
  21. 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




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