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|Co-operative Republic of Guyana|
|Motto: "One People, One Nation, One Destiny"|
|Anthem: Dear Land of Guyana, of Rivers and Plains|
and largest city
|Recognised regional languages|
|National language||Guyanese Creole|
|Ethnic groups (2002)||
|Government||Unitary semi-presidential republic|
|-||Prime Minister||Sam Hinds|
|-||from the United Kingdom||26 May 1966|
|-||Republic||23 February 1970|
|-||Current constitution||6 October 1980|
|-||Total||214,970 km2 ( 84th)
83,000 sq mi
|-||July 2010 estimate||752,940a ( 161st)|
|-||Density||3.502/km2 ( 225th)
|GDP ( PPP)||2012 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2012 estimate|
|HDI (2013)|| 0.636
medium · 118th
|Currency|| Guyanese dollar (
|Time zone||GYT (Guyana Time) ( UTC-4)|
|Drives on the||left|
|ISO 3166 code||GY|
|a.||Around one-third of the population (230,000) live in the capital, Georgetown.|
Guyana ( GUY-anna), officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, is a sovereign state on the northern coast of South America. Culturally Guyana is part of the Anglophone Caribbean. Guyana is one of the few Caribbean countries that is not an island. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), of which Guyana is a member, has its secretariat's headquarters in Guyana's capital, Georgetown.
Guyana was originally colonized by the Netherlands. Later, it became a British colony and remained so for over 200 years until it achieved independence on 26 May 1966 from the United Kingdom. On 23 February 1970, Guyana officially became a republic. In 2008, the country joined the Union of South American Nations as a founding member.
Guyana, a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations, is the only South American nation whose official language is English.
Historically, the region known as "Guiana" or "Guyana" comprised the large shield landmass north of the Amazon River and east of the Orinoco River known as the "Land of many waters". Historical Guyana consists of three Dutch colonies: Essequibo, Demerara, and Berbice. Modern Guyana is bordered by Suriname to the east; by Brazil to the south and southwest; by Venezuela to the west; and by the Atlantic Ocean to the north. At 215,000 square kilometres (83,000 sq mi), Guyana is the third-smallest independent state on the mainland of South America after Uruguay and Suriname. Its population is approximately 770,000.
The name "Guyana" is derived from Guiana, the original name for the region that now includes Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and parts of Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the name comes from an Amerindian word meaning "land of many waters".
There are nine Native American tribes residing in Guyana: the Wai Wai, Machushi, Patamona, Arawak, Carib, Wapishana, Arecuna, Akawaio, and Warrau. Historically the Arawak and Carib tribes dominated Guyana. 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). After the British assumed control in the late 18th century, the Dutch formally ceded the area in 1814. In 1831 the three separate colonies became a single British colony known as British Guiana.
Since Independence in 1824, Venezuela has claimed the area of land to the west of the Essequibo River. Simon Bolivar wrote to the British government warning against the Berbice and Demerara settlers settling on land which the Venezuelans claimed was theirs. In 1899 an international tribunal ruled the land belonged to Great Britain.
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 US State Department and the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), along with the British government, played a strong role in influencing political control in Guyana during this time. The American government supported Forbes Burnham during the early years of independence because Cheddi Jagan was identified as a 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, which was mostly supported by Native American Guyanese.
In 1978, Guyana received international notice when 918 members of the American cult, Peoples Temple, died in a mass murder/suicide. Most of the suicides were American and more than 300 children were killed; the people were members of a group led by Jim Jones in Jonestown, the settlement which they had created. Jim Jones' bodyguards had earlier attacked people landing at a small remote airstrip close to Jonestown, killing five people, including Leo Ryan, the only congressman ever murdered in the line of duty in US history.
In May 2008, President Bharrat Jagdeo was a signatory to the UNASUR Constitutive Treaty of the Union of South American Nations. Guyana has ratified the treaty.
The territory controlled by Guyana lies between latitudes 1° and 9°N, and longitudes 56° and 62°W.
The country can be divided into five natural regions; a narrow and fertile marshy plain along the Atlantic coast (low coastal plain) where most of the population lives; a white sand belt more inland (hilly sand and clay region), containing most of Guyana's mineral deposits; the dense rain forests (Forested Highland Region) in the southern part of the country; the desert savannah in the southern west; and the smallest interior lowlands (interior savannah) consisting mostly of mountains that gradually rise to the Brazilian border.
Some of Guyana's highest mountains are Mount Ayanganna (2,042 metres or 6,699 feet), Monte Caburaí (1,465 metres or 4,806 feet) and Mount Roraima (2,810 metres or 9,219 feet – 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 volcanic escarpments and waterfalls, including Kaieteur Falls. North of the Rupununi River lies the Rupununi savannah, south of which lie the Kanuku Mountains.
The four longest rivers are the Essequibo at 1,010 kilometres (628 mi) long, the Courantyne River at 724 kilometres (450 mi), the Berbice at 595 kilometres (370 mi), and the Demerara at 346 kilometres (215 mi). The Corentyne river forms the border with Suriname. At the mouth of the Essequibo are several large islands, including the 145 km (90 mi) wide Shell Beach lies along the northwest coast, which is also a major breeding area for sea 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.
In 2012, Guyana received a $45 million reward from Norway for its rainforest protection efforts. This stems from a 2009 agreement between the nations for a total of $250 million for protecting and maintaining the natural habitat. Thus far, the country has received $115 million of the total grant.
Regions and Neighbourhood Councils
Guyana is divided into 10 regions:
|3||Essequibo Islands-West Demerara||2,232||103,061||46.2|
|9||Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo||57,750||19,387||1.3|
The regions are divided into 27 neighbourhood councils.
Guyana is in border disputes with both Suriname, to which territory belongs the area east of the left bank of the Corentyne River and the New River in southwestern Suriname, and Venezuela which claims the land west of the Essequibo River, once the Dutch colony of Essequibo as part of Venezuela's Guayana Essequiba. The maritime component of the territorial dispute with Suriname was arbitrated by the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea, and a ruling was announced on 21 September 2007. The ruling concerning the Caribbean Sea north of both nations found both parties violated treaty obligations and declined to order any compensation to either party.
When the British surveyed British Guiana in 1840, they included the entire Cuyuni River basin within the colony. Venezuela did not agree with this as it claimed all lands west of the Essequibo River. In 1898, at Venezuela's request, an international arbitration tribunal was convened, and in 1899 they issued an award giving about 94% of the disputed territory to British Guiana.
Venezuela and Great Britain accepted the award by treaty in 1905, but Venezuela raised the issue again at the time of Guyana's independence and continues to claim Guayana Esequiba. Venezuela calls this region "Zona en Reclamación" (Reclamation Zone) and Venezuelan maps of the national territory routinely include it, drawing it in with dashed lines.
Specific small disputed areas involving Guyana are Ankoko Island with Venezuela; Corentyne River with Suriname; and New River Triangle with Suriname.
Environment and biodiversity
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 has one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world. Guyana, with 1,168 vertebrate species, 1,600 bird species, boasts one of the richest mammalian fauna assemblages of any comparably sized area in the world. The Guiana Shield region is little known and extremely rich biologically. Unlike other areas of South America, over 70% of the natural habitat remains pristine.
In February 2004, the Government of Guyana issued a title to more than 1 million acres (4,000 km2) of land in the Konashen Indigenous District declaring this land as the Konashen Community-Owned Conservation Area (COCA), to be managed by the Wai Wai. In doing so Guyana created the world's largest Community-Owned Conservation Area.
This important event followed a request made by the Wai Wai community to the government of Guyana and Conservation International Guyana (CIG) for assistance in developing a sustainable plan for their lands in Konashen. The three parties signed a Memorandum of Cooperation which outlines a plan for sustainable use of the Konashen COCA's biological resources, identifies threats to the area's biodiversity, and helps develop projects to increase awareness of the COCA as well as generate the income necessary to maintain its protected status.
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 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.
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.
- 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.
- Berbice Bridge
- The world's sixth-longest floating bridge.
- Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Building
- Houses the Headquarters of the largest and most powerful economic union in the Caribbean.
- Providence Stadium
- Situated on Providence on the north bank of the Demerara River and built in time for the ICC World Cup 2007, it is the largest sports stadium in the country. It is also near the Providence Mall, forming a major spot for leisure in Guyana.
- Guyana International Conference Centre
- Presented as a gift from the People's Republic of China to the Government of Guyana. It is the only one of its kind in the country.
- Stabroek Market
- A large cast-iron colonial structure that looked like a statue was located next to the Demerara River.
- City Hall
- A beautiful wooden structure also from the colonial era.
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, grew an impressive 5.4% in 2011 and 3.7% in 2012.
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 British-Australian Rio Tinto's Rio Tinto Alcan subsidiary; the Korean/Malaysian Barama Company has a large stake in the logging industry.
The production of balatá (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. 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 had made debt relief a foremost priority of his administration. He was 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. 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.
The population of Guyana is approximately 756,040, of which 90% reside on the narrow coastal strip (approximately 10% of the total land area of Guyana). Guyana's coastal strip ranges from 10 to 40 miles (16 to 64 km) in width.
The present population of Guyana is racially and ethnically heterogeneous, with ethnic groups originating from India, Africa, Europe, and China, as well as indigenous or aboriginal peoples. Despite their diverse ethnic backgrounds, these groups share two common languages: English and Creole.
The largest ethnic group is the Indo-Guyanese (also known as East Indians), the descendants of indentured labourers from India, who make up 43.5% of the population, according to the 2002 census. They are followed by the Afro-Guyanese, the descendants of slaves from Africa, who constitute 30.2%. Guyanese of mixed heritage make up 16.7%, while the indigenous peoples (known locally as Amerindians) make up 9.1%. The indigenous groups include the Arawaks, the Wai Wai, the Caribs, the Akawaio, the Arecuna, the Patamona, the Wapixana, the Macushi and the Warao. The two largest groups, the Indo-Guyanese and Afro-Guyanese, have experienced some racial tension.
Most Indo-Guyanese are descended from Bhojpuri-speaking Bihari and Uttar Pradesh migrants. Many Indo-Guyanese are also Tamil speaking Tamils from Tamil Nadu, and Telugus of Andhra Pradesh in South India.
The distribution pattern in the 2002 census was similar to those of the 1980 and 1991 censuses, but the share of the two main groups has declined. Indo-Guyanese made up 51.9% of the total population in 1980, but by 1991 this had fallen to 48.6%, and then to 43.5% in the 2002 census. Those of African descent increased slightly from 30.8% to 32.3% during the first period (1980 and 1991) before falling to 30.2% in the 2002 census. With small growth in the overall population, the decline in the shares of the two larger groups has resulted in the relative increase of shares of the multiracial and Amerindian groups. The Amerindian population rose by 22,097 people between 1991 and 2002. This represents an increase of 47.3% or annual growth of 3.5%. Similarly, the multiracial population increased by 37,788 persons, representing a 43.0% increase or annual growth rate of 3.2% from the base period of 1991 census.
|Largest cities or towns of Guyana
|2||Linden||Upper Demerara-Berbice||44 690|
|3||New Amsterdam||East Berbice-Corentyne||35 039|
|4||Anna Regina||Pomeroon-Supenaam||12 448|
|6||Skeldon||East Berbice-Corentyne||5 859|
|8||Mahaica Village||Demerara-Mahaica||4 867|
|9||Parika||Essequibo Islands-West Demerara||4 081|
|10||Vreed en Hoop||Demerara-Mahaica||3 073|
English is the official language of Guyana and is used for education, government, media, and services. The vast majority of the population speak Creole, an English-based creole with African and East Indian influence, as their native tongue. In addition, Cariban languages ( Akawaio, Wai-Wai, and Macushi) are spoken by a small minority, while Indic languages are retained for cultural and religious reasons. Spanish and Portuguese are widely used as second languages.
Data from a 2002 census on religious affiliation indicates that approximately 57% of the population is Christian, 28% is Hindu, and 7% is Muslim. An estimated 4% of the population does not profess any religion.
Most Guyanese Christians are either Protestants or Roman Catholics and include a mix of all races. Hinduism is dominated by the Indians who came to the country in the early 19th century; adherents of Islam are found among the Indo-Guyanese and Afro-Guyanese.
Government and politics
The 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.
General Elections were held on 28 November 2011, which resulted in a re-election of the People's Progressive Party (PPP).
Infrastructure and telecommunications
There are a total of 116 miles (187 km) of railway, all dedicated to ore transport. There are 4,952 miles (7,969 km) of highway, of which 367 miles (591 km) are paved. Navigable waterways extend to 669 miles (1,077 km), including the Berbice, Demerara, and Essequibo rivers. There are ports at Georgetown, Port Kaituma, and New Amsterdam. There is 1 international airport ( Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri); 1 regional airport ( Ogle Airport); and about 90 airstrips, 9 of which have paved runways. Guyana, Suriname and the Falkland Islands are the only three regions in South America which drive on the left.
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.
Several initiatives are in place to improve energy access in the hinterland.
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.
Per the CIA World Factbook:
- Telephones : 110,120 main telephone lines (2005)
- Telephones – mobile cellular: 281,400 (2005)
- Domestic: microwave radio relay network for trunk lines; fixed-line teledensity is about 15 per 100 persons; many areas still lack fixed-line telephone services; mobile-cellular teledensity reached 37 per 100 persons in 2005
- International: country code – 592; tropospheric scatter to Trinidad; satellite earth station – 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Guyana Telephone & Telegraph (GT&T) is the main mobile phone provider
Radio broadcast stations
- AM 3, FM 3, shortwave 1 (1998)
- FM 98.1
- FM 94.1
- FM 100.1
Television broadcast stations
Television broadcast was officially introduced to Guyana in 1991.
- 15 (1 public station (channel 11); 14 private stations which relay US satellite services) (1997)
Of which are; L.R.T.V.S-Little Rock Television Station channel 10 (New Amsterdam, Berbice) H.G.P-Halagala General Productions television (Beterverwagting Village, Demerara) RCA Television charity,Esssequibo coast
- Satellite television services are offered by DirecTV Caribbean and E Networks.
- Internet country code: .gy
- Internet hosts: 6,218 (2008)
- Internet users: 225,129 (2010)
Life expectancy at birth is estimated to be 67.39 years for both males and females in 2012. Malaria is a leading cause of death in Guyana, with a mortality rate of 5 per 100,000 of the population. According to 2011 estimates from the WHO, HIV prevalence is 1.2% of the adult population (ages 15–49). 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.
Guyana's educational system is considered to be among the best in the Caribbean, but it deteriorated significantly in the 1980s, because of inadequate funding and emigration of many highly educated citizens. Although the education system recovered 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 and technical and vocational subjects, business management, nor computer sciences. The Guyanese education system is modelled on the former British education system. Students are expected to write NGSA[National Grade Six Assessment] for entrance into high school in grade 7. They write CXC at the end of high school. Recently they have introduced the CAPE exams which all other Caribbean countries have introduced. The A-level system, inherited 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 been established over the last fifteen years. These schools offer a varied and balanced curriculum. However, the top government schools have nonetheless continued their dominance in academic performance outshining these private schools over the years.
|1 January||New Year's Day|
|23 February||Republic Day / Mashramani|
|March / April||Good Friday|
|March / April||Easter Sunday|
|5 May||Indian Arrival Day|
|26 May||Independence Day|
|First Monday in July||CARICOM Day|
|1 August||Emancipation Day|
|October / November||Diwali|
|26 or 27 December||Boxing Day|
Guyana, along with Suriname, French Guiana, Falkland Islands, and Brazil is one of the five 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.
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. Minor sports include netball, rounders, lawn tennis, basketball, table tennis, boxing, squash, rugby, horse racing 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 28 March. At the first international game of CWC 2007 at the stadium, Lasith Malinga of the Sri Lankan team took four wickets in four consecutive deliveries.
For international football purposes, Guyana is part of CONCACAF. The highest league in their club system is the GFF National Super League.
Guyana also has five courses for horse racing.