OFFICIAL NAME: Cooperative Republic of Guyana.
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Unitary Multiparty Republic
AREA: 214,970 Sq Km (83,000 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION 807,600
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Guyana is located on the northeast
coast of South America. It is bound by Suriname to the east,
Venezuela to the west, Brazil to the south and the Atlantic
Ocean to the north. The country is divided into three geographical
zones. (1.) The coastal plain which is made up of alluvial
mud from the Amazon River and a barrier of swamps. (2.)
The forest zone which is an eroded plateau from which the
Pakaraima Mountains and Kaieteurian Plateau rise. (3.) The
savannah zone which is grass covered and includes the Rupununi
Valley in the extreme southwest. The country's four principal
rivers are the Corentyne, Berbice, Demerara and Essequibo.
Major Cities (pop. est.); Georgetown 248,500, Linden 27,200,
New Amsterdam 17,700 (1992). Land Use; forested 84%, pastures
6%, agricultural-cultivated 3%, other 7% (1993).
CLIMATE: Guyana has a subtropical climate with two wet seasons
and two dry seasons. The wet seasons are from April to July and November
to January while the dry seasons are from August to November and February
to March. Humidity is high throughout the year and temperatures are influenced
by the NE trade winds. Average annual precipitation in Georgetown is 2,280
mm (90 inches) with less rainfall occurring on the higher plateau. Average
temperature ranges in Georgetown are from 23 degrees Celsius (73 degrees
Fahrenheit) to 31 degrees Celsius (88 degrees Fahrenheit) all year.
PEOPLE: Guyana has seven definable ethnic groups which are as
follows, East Indians who account for 51% of the population while mixed
Afro-Indians account for 11%, AmerIndians for 5%, of which the Caribs represent
3.7% and the Portuguese, Chinese, Afro-Guyanese who account for 31% while
other Europeans account for 2% of the population.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 3.5 persons per sq km
(9 persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 28.3% urban, 71.7% rural (1989).
Sex Distribution; 49.5% male, 50.5% female (1990). Life Expectancy at Birth;
64.0 years male, 69.0 years female (1989). Age Breakdown; 33% under 15,
33% 15 to 29, 19% 30 to 44, 9% 45 to 59, 5% 60 to 74, 1% 75 and over (1990).
Birth Rate; 25.0 per 1,000 (1989). Death Rate; 6.0 per 1,000 (1989). Increase
Rate; 19.0 per 1,000 (1989). Infant Mortality Rate; 41.0 per 1,000 live
RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians which account for 42% of the population,
of which 30% are Protestants and 11% are Roman Catholics. Additionally,
37% of the population are Hindus and 9% are Muslims.
LANGUAGES: The official language is English, although Hindustani,
Hindi, Creole and Chinese are also widely used by the elderly immigrants.
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: no formal schooling
8.1%, primary 72.8%, secondary 17.3%, higher 1.8% (1980). Literacy; literate
population aged 15 or over 96.4% (1990).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: After World War II Britain increased
its efforts to prepare British Guiana for internal self government. As
a result a new constitution was adopted in 1953 and elections were held
in April 1953 which were won by Dr Cheddi Jagan. However, in Oct. 1953
the British suspended the constitution and removed the Jagan administration
because their policies threatened to turn British Guiana into a communist
state. In 1961 British Guiana was nearing independence and a new constitution
gave the colony control over its national affairs, although Britain still
controlled its defense and foreign relations. British Guiana gained complete
independence as Guyana on May 26, 1966 with Forbes Burnham as the country's
first Prime Minister. On Feb. 23, 1970 Guyana was declared a cooperative
republic with a nonexecutive President. Pres. Burnham was reelected in
1968 and 1973. In 1976 Pres. Burnham embarked on a nationalization program
of the country's foreign owned enterprises and in July 1978 a referendum
gave the National Assembly the power to amend the constitution. On Nov.
18, 1978 over 900 people, mostly Americans, poisoned themselves following
the leadership of Jim Jones and his People's Temple sect. On Aug. 6, 1985
Burnham died and was succeeded by the first Vice President, Desmond Hoyte.
In 1987 and 1988 Pres. Hoyte began a program of reversing some of Burnham's
policies which included the liberalization of the economy as well as seeking
Western aid and investment. In 1990 and 1991 general elections were postponed
and Pres. Hoyte promised extensive electoral reforms as observer teams
from the Carter Center estimated some 130,000 of the 340,000 people were
missing from electoral rolls. On Nov. 28, 1991 Pres. Hoyte declared a State
of Emergency and promised elections would be held at the earliest realistic
date. In July 1992 Guyana signed a tax information exchange agreement with
the USA. After elections held on Oct. 5, 1992 Cheddi Jagan pf the People's
Progressive Party (PPP) was elected to office with 52% of the vote while
Pres. Hoyte's People's National Congress (PNC) achieved 44% of the vote.
Following which Pres. Jagan appointed Sam Hinds Prime Minister and announced
his new government would encourage private initiative, although it would
slow down the privatization program of state enterprises. In Mar. 1993
the former PNC government Prime Minister, Hamilton Green, sued the PNC
for violation of his constitutional rights by expelling him from the party
following which he formed his own party the Forum for Democracy. In April
1993 the former PNC President, Desmond Hoyte, was rushed to the USA for
a triple bypass heart operation. In July 1993 the government announced
that it would consider privatization of 16 state enterprises including
those of the sugar and bauxite mining industry. In Oct. 1993 discussions
over the long standing territorial dispute with Venezuela continued. Also
during the year the British government forgave Guyana's entire US $80 million
debt while the Paris Club of creditor nations also forgave some US $40
million in bilateral debt and rescheduled the remainder of the next 23
CURRENCY: The official currency is the Dollar (GD) divided into
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $285,000,000 (1993). Public
Debt; USD $1,727,000,000 (1993). Imports; USD $350,000,000 (1994). Exports;
USD $369,000,000 (1994). Tourism Receipts; USD $36,000,000 (1993). Balance
of Trade; USD $19,000,000 (1994). Economically Active Population; 270,074
or 35.7% of total population (1987). Unemployed; 12.9% (1992).
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are the USA,
the UK, Trinidad and Tobago, Japan, Canada and Jamaica.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Bauxite, Diamonds, Fish, Gold, Oranges, Rice,
Semi Precious Gem Stones, Shrimp, Sugar, Timber.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Alumina Products, Forestry, Mining,
Sugar Refining, Timber Milling.
MAIN EXPORTS: Alumina, Bauxite, Gold, Rice, Rum, Shrimp, Sugar,
TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 88 km (55 mi) (1988), passenger-km
N/A., cargo ton-km N/A. Roads; length 8,890 km (5,524 mi) (1985). Vehicles;
cars 22,000 (1989), trucks and buses 9,000 (1989). Merchant Marine; vessels
75 (1990), deadweight tonnage 10,951 (1990). Air Transport; passenger-km
185,000,000 (114,954,000 passenger-mi) (1988), cargo ton-km 2,600,000 (1,781,000
short ton-mi) (1988).
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 2 with a circulation
of 80,000 (1992). Radio; receivers 386,000 (1994). Television; receivers
15,000 (1994). Telephones; units 41,000 (1993).
MILITARY: 1,600 (1995) total active duty personnel with 86.6%
army, 7.2% navy and 6.2% air force while military expenditure accounts
for 2.0% (1992) of the Gross National Product (GNP).
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