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History of Guyana

Guyana officially named the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, is the only nation state of the Commonwealth of Nations on the mainland of South America. Guyana lies north of the equator, in the tropics, and is located on the Atlantic Ocean. Guyana is bordered to the east by Suriname, to the south and southwest by Brazil and to the west by Venezuela. It is the third smallest country on the mainland of South America. Culturally it is more associated with the Caribbean than with Latin America and is the only English-speaking country in South America. It is also one of 4 non-Spanish-speaking territories on the continent, along with the countries of Brazil (Portuguese) and Suriname (Dutch) and the French overseas region of French Guiana (French).

Listen to Guyana National Anthem (popup)

  • History
  • Guyana had been peopled for thousands of years before Europeans became aware of the area some five hundred years ago. 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 and exploit the country. Independence was achieved in 1966. Guyana became a Republic in 1970.

    Pre-colonial

    The history of Guyana began before the arrival of Europeans, when the region of present-day Guyana was inhabited by Carib, Arawak, and Warao peoples. The word Guiana probably comes from the Arawak words wai ana which means "(land of) many waters". Some 70,000 Amerindians still live in Guyana, primarily in the country's interior and Zane Conte

    Beginnings of European involvement

    Guyana's first sighting by Europeans was by Alonzo de Ojeda and Amerigo Vespucci in 1499. Christopher Columbus did not sight Guyana on his third voyage of discovery which started in 1498. The coastline of the country was first traced by Spanish sailors in 1499 and 1500; and during the 16th and early 17th centuries, the search for the fabled city of El Dorado - forever linked in British minds, with exploits of Sir Walter Raleigh - stimulated exploration of this region.

    In 1595 the area was explored by English explorers under Sir Walter Raleigh. Little is known of the first settlements, though they were almost certainly Spanish or Portuguese.

    The Dutch period

    The Dutch began exploring and settling in Guyana in the late sixteenth century, followed by the English. Both began trading with the Amerindian peoples upriver.

    The first known Dutch expedition to coast of Guyana, led by Capt. A Cabeliau, came in 1598.

    The first Dutch settlement was established on the Pomeroon River in 1581. The settlers were evicted by Spaniards and Indians, probably in 1596. The evicted settlers retired to Kyk-over-al (Look-over-everything) on the Essequibo River, where the Dutch West India Company established a fort in 1616-1621 in what they called the County of Essequibo.

    In 1627 a settlement was founded in the Berbice River by Abraham van Pere, a Flushing merchant, and held by him under a licence (issued 12 July 1627) from the Company. Some historians believe that van Pere was a member of a Portuguese Jewish refugee family. He sent 40 men and 20 boys to settle at Nassau, about 50 miles upriver. Van Pere had a good knowledge of the territory since he had apparently been trading with the Amerindians of the area for a few years before 1627. He later applied his trading skills when he was contracted by the Zeeland Chamber to supply goods from Europe to the Dutch settlements in Essequibo.

    At Nassau, where Fort Nassau was built, the settlers planted crops and traded with Amerindians. African slaves were introduced shortly after the settlement was established to cultivate sugar and cotton. The situation was very peaceful until 1665 when the settlement was attacked by an English privateer. However, the colonists put up a strong defence and it left after causing some damage to the settlement.

    Between 1675 and 1716 all the cultivation on lands in British Guiana took place upstream. Finding the soil on the coastlands more fertile, the settlers gradually moved down river. In 1741 English Settlers from Barbados and Antigua began to build river dams and drainage sluices in the Essequibo River islands, and later tried to reclaim the fertile tidal marshes in Demerara. Until 1804 there were estates, now forgotten, Sandy Point and Kierfield, on the seaward side of the present seawall of Georgetown.

    As attempts at settling inland failed, the Europeans were forced to settle on the coast in the mid-1700s, where they created plantations worked by African slaves. The main crops were coffee, cotton, and sugar, the last of which soon become the main crop. The soil quality was poor, however. The slaves, led by Cuffy, (Guyana's national hero), revolted in 1763 in what became known as the Berbice slave revolt.

    In 1746 colonists from Essequibo and Caribbean islands settled along the Demerara River. In 1773 Demerara was granted a certain degree of autonomy, and in 1784 the capital was transferred there, while Berbice continued under a separate government. This arrangement survived under the British administration until 1831.

    The British period

    The first English attempt at settlement in this area was made in 1604 by Captain Charles Leigh on the Oyapock River (in what is now French Guyana). The effort failed. A fresh attempt was made by Robert Harcourt in 1609.

    Lord Willoughby, famous in the early history of Barbados, also turned his attention to Guiana, and founded a settlement in Suriname in 1651. This was captured by the Dutch in 1667, and though later recaptured by the British, it was ceded to the Dutch at the Peace of Breda.

    Britain took the region from the Dutch in 1796. The Dutch took it back in 1802, before being ousted again by the British in 1803. Immediately after the British took possession of Essequibo-Demerara and Berbice they began to implement changes in the administration of the colonies with the aim of removing the strong Dutch influence. in 1806 the slave trade was abolished in the two colonies, as well as in Trinidad & Tobago; final abolition occurred in other British territories during the following year. Regulations were put in place to prevent transfer of slaves from one colony to another, but this did not prevent trafficking in slaves from the Caribbean islands to Berbice and Demerara-Essequibo.

    The colonies of Essequibo, Demerara, and Berbice were officially ceded to the United Kingdom in the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814 and at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. In 1831 they were consolidated as British Guiana.

    A further rebellion by ten to twelve thousand slaves in Demerara in 1823 resulted in the trial and execution of thirty-three slaves and the trial and conviction of missionary John Smith.

    Boundary lines of British Guiana in 1896

    When slavery was abolished in 1834, the Afro-Guyanese refused to work for wages, and many scattered into the bush. This forced many plantations to close or consolidate. Thousands of indentured laborers were brought to Guyana to replace the slaves on the sugarcane plantations, primarily from India, but also from Portugal and China.

    This provided the basis for the racial tension that was encouraged and manipulated later, at the point where Guyana made its bid for independence, and to the present day. However, Guyanese culture is in many ways homogeneous, due to shared history, intermarriage, and other factors.

    Despite the recruitment of West Indian, African and Portuguese and other European labourers, this did not help very much to ease the labour shortage of the 1830s. After the West Indian islands placed restrictions on emigration, the sugar planters in Guyana began to look further afield to obtain a large labour force. One of them, John Gladstone, the father of the British statesman, applied for permission from the Secretary of State for the Colonies to recruit Indians to serve in Guyana for a five-year period of indenture.

    Gladstone's proposed venture was supported by a number of other sugar planters whose estates were expected to obtain some of the Indians to be recruited. By this time Indians were being taken to Mauritius to work on the sugar plantations and were proving to be very productive. Gladstone's request was granted and he, Davidson, Barclay and Company, Andrew Colville, John and Henry Moss, all owners of sugar plantation in Guyana, made arrangements to recruit 414 Indians. Of these 150 were "hill coolies" from Chota Nagpur, and the remainder were from Burdwan and Bancoorah near Calcutta. (The word "coolie", a corruption of the Dravidian word "kūli", referred to a porter or labourer).

    To transport these Indians, two ships, the Whitby and Hesperus were chartered. The Whitby sailed from Calcutta on 13 January 1838 with 249 immigrants, and after a voyage of 112 days, arrived in Guyana on 5 May. Five Indians died on the voyage. The ship immediately sailed to Berbice and 164 immigrants, who were recruited by Highbury and Waterloo plantations, disembarked. The ship then returned to Demerara and between 1416 May the remaining 80 immigrants landed and were taken to Belle Vue Estate.

    Of the total of 244 Indians who arrived on the Whitby, there were 233 men, 5 women and 6 children.

    The Hesperus left Calcutta on the 29 January 1838 with 165 passengers and arrived in Guyana late on the night of the 5 May, by which time 13 had already died. The remaining 135 men, 6 women and 11 children were distributed between the 8-10 May to the plantations Vreedestein, Vreed-en-hoop and Anna Regina.

    By 1899, the British forcefully marked the Guyana borders with respect to Venezuela. It included some lands that Venezuela still claims up to this day.

    The British stopped the practice of importing labor in 1917, by which time around 250,000 people had settled in Guyana. Many of the Afro-Guyanese former slaves moved to the towns and became the majority urban population, whereas the Indo-Guyanese remained predominantly rural. A scheme in 1862 to bring black workers from the United States was unsuccessful.

    A fall in sugar prices in the late nineteenth century led to an increase in logging and mining.

    Prelude to independence

    Guyanese politics has occasionally been turbulent. The first modern political party in Guyana was the People's Progressive Party (PPP), established on January 1, 1950, with Forbes Burnham, a British-educated Afro-Guyanese, as chairman; Dr. Cheddi Jagan, a U.S.-educated Indo-Guyanese, as second vice chairman; his American-born wife, Janet Jagan, as secretary general and Lionel Jeffries (no relation to the British actor of the same name) as Treasurer. The PPP won eighteen out of twenty-four seats in the first popular elections permitted by the colonial government in 1953. Dr. Jagan became leader of the house and minister of agriculture in the colonial government. However, Jagan's Marxist views caused concern in Washington.

    On October 9, 1953, five months after his election, the British suspended the constitution and landed troops because, they said, the Jagans and the PPP were planning to make Guyana a communist state. Among the troops sent were the second Battalion of the Scottish regiment, The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders), who arrived in 1954. Their unusual regalia and their bagpipe music made them quite conspicuous.

    These events led to a manipulated split in the PPP, in which Burnham broke away and founded what eventually became the People's National Congress (PNC). Colonial interests, which hoped to thwart the Guyanese independence movement, instigated conflict between Indo-Guyanese and Afro-Guyanese. The PPP, which was a multi-ethnic, nationalist party, was depicted as a vehicle for the majority Indo-Guyanese population, and the PNC posed as an alternative for Afro-Guyanese. Lionel Jeffries, the PPP Treasurer who was half Afro-Guyanese and half Indo-Guyanese emigrated with his family to Britain. This ethnic divide in politics continues to this day.

    Self rule was achieved on 26 August 1961. The Premier and a Cabinet of Ministers had authority over internal matters only. The British Governor had veto powers over the elected legislature. The bi-cameral House of Assembly consisted of a lower house, the Legislative Council and an upper house, the Senate. The Legislative Council was elected in a First past the post system. The Senate was made up of a majority of members from the Government, Opposition representatives, and two nominated members chosen by the Governor after consultation with various groups.

    From the latter part of 1963, through the early part of 1964, came the period euphemistically called "The Disturbances" by the British. The governments of The UK and the USA joined forces to destabilize the Guyanese political landscape, with the U.S. providing intelligence and infiltration (through the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD)), while the British brought in brute force. AIFLD operatives instigated a 90 day strike of primarily urban and Afro-Guyanese unions, which brought the nation's economy to a halt; the strike was also the occasion for outbreaks of racial violence, as it was used to pit the predominantly Indo-Guyanese government against the predominantly Afro-Guyanese service unions. The British alternately moved to crush the altercations, or to simply allow them to run their course. During this period, PPP leaders such as Jagan, Brindley Benn, and the man who came to be regarded as Guyana's poet laureate, Martin Carter, were frequently imprisoned and harassed by the British. Around 200 people died in the riots.

    At a Constitutional Conference in London in 1963, the British agreed to grant independence to the colony, but only after another election in which proportional representation would be introduced for the first time. It was widely believed that this system would reduce the number of seats won by the PPP and prevent it from obtaining a clear majority in parliament. The December 1964 elections gave the PPP 45.8 percent, the PNC 40.5 percent, and the United Force (TUF), a conservative party, 12.4 percent. TUF threw its votes in the legislature to Forbes Burnham, and he became Prime Minister.

    Guyana achieved independence on May 26, 1966, and became the Co-operative Republic of Guyana on February 23, 1970 - the anniversary of the Cuffy slave rebellion - with a new constitution. From December 1964 until his death in August 1985, Forbes Burnham ruled Guyana in an increasingly autocratic manner, first as Prime Minister and later, after the adoption of a new constitution in 1980 (declaring Guyana to be in transition from capitalism to socialism and allowing an elected President and Prime Minister appointed by the president), as Executive President. During that time-frame, elections were viewed in Guyana and abroad as fraudulent. Human rights and civil liberties were suppressed, and two major political assassinations occurred: the Jesuit priest and journalist Bernard Darke in July 1979, and the distinguished historian and WPA Party leader Walter Rodney in June 1980. Agents of President Burnham are widely believed to have been responsible for both deaths. Burnham also nationalised many industries, such as sugar and bauxite, and fostered links with the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries.

    In 1974, the Guyanese government allowed the religious group the Peoples Temple, led by the American Jim Jones, to build a 300-acre settlement (called Jonestown) in the north-west of the country. Following increasing concern about abuses at Jonestown, US Congressman Leo Ryan agreed to conduct a fact-finding mission to the settlement, accompanied by concerned relatives and media persons, on 14 November 1978. Whilst boarding a plane, the company was fired upon; several people, including Ryan, were killed. This was then followed by the mass-suicide, at Jones's instigation, of all 900 people at Jonestown.

    The People's Progressive Party in power

    Following Burnham's own death in 1985, Prime Minister Hugh Desmond Hoyte acceded to the presidency and was formally elected in the December 1985 national elections. Hoyte gradually reversed Burnham's policies, moving from state socialism and one-party control to a market economy, industry privatisation and unrestricted freedom of the press and assembly. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter visited Guyana to lobby for the resumption of free elections, and on October 5, 1992, a new National Assembly and regional councils were elected in the first Guyanese election since 1964 to be internationally recognized as free and fair. Cheddi Jagan of the PPP-Civic was elected and sworn in as President on October 9, 1992, the first time the PPP had won power since independence, reversing the monopoly Afro-Guyanese traditionally had over Guyanese politics. The poll was marred by violence however. A new IMF Structural Adjustment programme was introduced which led to an increase in the GDP whilst also eroding real incomes and hitting the middle-classes hard.

    When President Jagan died of a heart attack in March 1997, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds replaced him in accordance with constitutional provisions, with his widow Janet Jagan as Prime Minister. She was then elected President on fifteenth December 1997 for the PPP. Desmond Hoyte's PNC contested the results however, resulting in strikes, riots and 1 death before a Caricom mediating committee was brought in. Janet Jangan's PPP government was sworn in on 24th December having agreed to a constitutional review and to hold elections within three years, though Hoyte refused to recognise her government.

    Jagan resigned in August 1999 due to ill health and was succeeded by Finance Minister Bharrat Jagdeo, who had been named Prime Minister a day earlier. National elections were held on March 19, 2001, three months later than planned as the election committees said they were unprepared. Fears that the violence that marred the previous election led to monitoring by foreign bodies, including Jimmy Carter. In March incumbent President Jagdeo won the election with a voter turnout of over 90%

    Meanwhile tensions with Suriname were seriously strained by a dispute over their shared maritime border after Guyana had allowed oil-prospectors license to explore the areas.

    In December 2002, Hoyte died, with Robert Corbin replacing him as leader of the PNC. He agreed to engage in 'constructive engagement' with Jagdeo and the PPP.

    Severe flooding following torrential rainfall wreaked havoc in Guyana beginning in January 2005. The downpour, which lasted about six weeks, inundated the coastal belt, caused the deaths of 34 people, and destroyed large parts of the rice and sugarcane crops. The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean estimated in March that the country would need $415 million for recovery and rehabilitation. About 275,000 people 37% of the population were affected in some way by the floods.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  • Geography
  • Guyana is a country in Northern South America and part of Caribbean South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Suriname and Venezuela. With a land area of approximately 197,000 square kilometres, Guyana is about the size of Idaho. The country is situated between 1 and 9 north latitude and between 56 and 62 west longitude. With a 430-kilometre Atlantic coastline on the northeast, Guyana is bounded by Venezuela on the west, Brazil on the west and south, and Suriname on the east. The land comprises three main geographical zones: the coastal plain, the white sand belt, and the interior highlands

    Terrain

    The coastal plain, which occupies about 5% of the country's area, is home to more than 90% of its inhabitants. The plain ranges from five to six kilometers wide and extends from the Courantyne River in the east to the Venezuelan border in the northwest.

    The coastal plain is made up largely of alluvial mud swept out to sea by the Amazon River, carried north by ocean currents, and deposited on the Guyanese shores. A rich clay of great fertility, this mud overlays the white sands and clays formed from the erosion of the interior bedrock and carried seaward by the rivers of Guyana. Because much of the coastal plain floods at high tide, efforts to dam and drain this area have gone on since the 1700s.

    Guyana has no well-defined shoreline or sandy beaches. Approaching the ocean, the land gradually loses elevation until it includes many areas of marsh and swamp. Seaward from the vegetation line is a region of mud flats, shallow brown water, and sandbars. Off New Amsterdam, these mud flats extend almost twenty-five kilometers. The sandbars and shallow water are a major impediment to shipping, and incoming vessels must partially unload their cargoes offshore in order to reach the docks at Georgetown and New Amsterdam.

    A line of swamps forms a barrier between the white sandy hills of the interior and the coastal plain. These swamps, formed when water was prevented from flowing onto coastal croplands by a series of dams, serve as reservoirs during periods of drought.

    The white sand belt lies south of the coastal zone. This area is 150 to 250 kilometers wide and consists of low sandy hills interspersed with rocky outcroppings. The white sands support a dense hardwood forest. These sands cannot support crops, and if the trees are removed erosion is rapid and severe. Most of Guyana's reserves of bauxite, gold, and diamonds are found in this region.

    The largest of Guyana's three geographical regions is the interior highlands, a series of plateaus, flat-topped mountains, and savannahs that extend from the white sand belt to the country's southern borders. The Pakaraima Mountains dominate the western part of the interior highlands. In this region are found some of the oldest sedimentary rocks in the Western Hemisphere. Mount Roraima, on the Venezuelan border, is part of the Pakaraima range and, at 2,762 meters, is Guyana's tallest peak. Farther south lies the Kaieteur Plateau, a broad, rocky area about 600 meters in elevation; the 1,000-meter high Kanuku Mountains; and the low Acarai Mountains situated on the southern border with Brazil.

    Much of the interior highlands consist of grassland. The largest expanse of grassland, the Rupununi Savannah, covers about 15,000 square kilometers in southern Guyana. This savannah also extends far into Venezuela and Brazil. The part in Guyana is split into northern and southern regions by the Kanuku Mountains. The sparse grasses of the savannah in general support only grazing, although Amerindian groups cultivate a few areas along the Rupununi River and in the foothills of the Kanuku Mountains.

    Hydrology

    Guyana is a water-rich country. Numerous rivers flow into the Atlantic Ocean, generally in a northward direction. A number of rivers in the western part of the country, however, flow eastward into the Essequibo River, draining the Kaieteur Plateau. The Essequibo, the country's major river, runs from the Brazilian border in the south to a wide delta west of Georgetown. The rivers of eastern Guyana cut across the coastal zone, making east-west travel difficult, but they also provide limited water access to the interior. Waterfalls generally limit water transport to the lower reaches of each river. Some of the waterfalls are spectacular; for example, Kaieteur Falls on the Potaro River drops 226 metres, more than four times the height of Niagara Falls.


    Drainage throughout most of Guyana is poor and river flow sluggish because the average gradient of the main rivers is only one meter every five kilometers. Swamps and areas of periodic flooding are found in all but the mountainous regions, and all new land projects require extensive drainage networks before they are suitable for agricultural use. The average square kilometer on a sugar plantation, for example, has six kilometers of irrigation canals, eighteen kilometers of large drains, and eighteen kilometers of small drains. These canals occupy nearly one-eighth of the surface area of the average sugarcane field. Some of the larger estates have more than 550 kilometers of canals; Guyana itself has a total of more than 8,000 kilometers. Even Georgetown is below sea level and must depend on dikes for protection from the Demerara River and the Atlantic Ocean.

    Climate

    Lying near the equator, Guyana has a tropical climate, and temperatures do not vary much throughout the year. The year has two wet seasons, from December to early February and from late April to mid-August.

    Although the temperature never gets dangerously high, the combination of heat and humidity can at times seem oppressive. The entire area is under the influence of the northeast trade winds, and during the midday and afternoon sea breezes bring relief to the coast. Guyana lies south of the path of Caribbean hurricanes and none is known to have hit the country.

    Temperatures in Georgetown are quite constant, with an average high of 32C and an average low of 24C in the hottest month (July), and an average range of 29C to 23C in February, the coolest month. The highest temperature ever recorded in the capital was 37.2C and the lowest 16.6C. Humidity averages 70 percent year-round. Locations in the interior, away from the moderating influence of the ocean, experience slightly wider variations in daily temperature, and nighttime readings as low as 12C have been recorded. Humidity in the interior is also slightly lower, averaging around 60 percent.

    Rainfall is heaviest in the northwest and lightest in the southeast and interior. Annual averages on the coast near the Venezuelan border are near 250 centimetres, farther east at New Amsterdam 200 centimetres, and 150 centimetres in southern Guyana's Rupununi Savannah. Areas on the northeast sides of mountains that catch the trade winds average as much as 350 centimeters of precipitation annually. Although rain falls throughout the year, about 50 percent of the annual total arrives in the summer rainy season that extends from May to the end of July along the coast and from April through September farther inland. Coastal areas have a second rainy season from November through January. Rain generally falls in heavy afternoon showers or thunderstorms. Overcast days are rare; most days include four to eight hours of sunshine from morning through early afternoon.

    Facts

    Area:
    total: 214,970 km
    land: 196,850 km
    water: 18,120 km

    Area - comparative: roughly the same size as Britain, slightly smaller than the US state of Idaho

    Land boundaries:
    total: 2,462 km
    border countries: Brazil 1,119 km, Suriname 600 km, Venezuela 743 km

    Coastline: 459 km

    Maritime claims:
    continental shelf: 200 nautical miles (370 km) or to the outer edge of the continental margin
    exclusive fishing zone: 200 nautical miles (370 km)
    territorial sea: 12 nautical miles (22 km)

    Climate: tropical; hot, humid, moderated by northeast trade winds; two rainy seasons (May to mid-August, mid-November to mid-January)

    Terrain: mostly rolling highlands; low coastal plain; savanna in south

    Elevation extremes:
    lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Mount Roraima 2,835 m

    Natural resources: bauxite, gold, diamonds, hardwood timber, shrimp, fish
    Vegetation map of Guyana
    Vegetation map of Guyana

    Land use:
    arable land: 2%
    permanent crops: 0%
    permanent pastures: 6%
    forests and woodland: 84%
    other: 8% (1993 est.)

    Irrigated land: 1,300 km (1993 est.)

    Natural hazards: flash floods are a constant threat during rainy seasons

    Environment - current issues: water pollution from sewage and agricultural and industrial chemicals; deforestation

    Environment - international agreements: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  • Demographics
  • Guyana's population is made up of five main ethnic groups -- East Indian, African, Amerindian, Chinese, and Portuguese. Ninety percent of the inhabitants live on the narrow coastal plain, where population density is more than 115 persons per square kilometer (380/mile). The population density for Guyana as a whole is low -- less than four persons per square kilometer.

    Although the government has provided free education from nursery school to the university level since 1975, it has not allocated sufficient funds to maintain the standards of what had been considered the best educational system in the region. Many school buildings are in poor condition, there is a shortage of text and exercise books, the number of teachers has declined, and fees are being charged at the university level for some courses of study for the first time.

    Population: 697,286
    note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2000 est.)

    Age structure:
    0-14 years: 29% (male 102,463; female 98,492)
    15-64 years: 66% (male 232,857; female 229,598)
    65 years and over: 5% (male 15,170; female 18,706) (2000 est.)

    Population growth rate: 0.234% (2007 est.)

    Birth rate: 18.09 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)

    Death rate: 8.28 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)

    Net migration rate: -7.47 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)

    Sex ratio:
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

    Infant mortality rate: 31.35 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)

    Life expectancy at birth:
    total population: 64.04 years
    male: 61.08 years
    female: 67.15 years (2000 est.)

    Total fertility rate: 2.11 children born/woman (2000 est.)

    Nationality:
    noun: Guyanese (singular and plural)
    adjective: Guyanese

    Ethnic groups: East Indian 50%, Black African 33%, Amerindian 7%, white, Chinese, and mixed 10%

    Religions: Christian 48%, Hindu 34%, Muslim 10%, Bah' and Other 8%

    Languages: English (official), Guyanese Creole, Amerindian (Cariban) languages

    Literacy:
    definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
    total population: 98.1%
    male: 98.6%
    female: 97.5% (1995 est.)

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  • Languages
  • English is the official language of Guyana. In addition, Amerindian languages (see Carib languages) are spoken by a small minority, while Guyanese Creole (an English-based creole with African and Indian syntax) is widely spoken. Grammar is not standardized. [2]

    In addition to English, other languages of Guyana include Creole, Akawaio, Wai-Wai, Arawak and Macushi.
  • Politics
  • 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 pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly of Guyana. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

    Executive branch

    Executive authority is exercised by the president, who appoints and supervises the prime minister and other ministers. The president is not directly elected; each party presenting a slate of candidates for the assembly must designate in advance a leader who will become president if that party receives the largest number of votes. Any dissolution of the assembly and election of a new assembly can lead to a change in the assembly majority and consequently a change in the presidency. Only the prime minister is required to be a member of the assembly. In practice, most other ministers also are members. Those who are not serve as nonelected members, which permits them to debate but not to vote.The president is not a member of the National Assembly but may Address it at any time or have his address read by any member he may designate a convenient time for the Assembly.Under Guyana's constitution the President is both the Head of State and Head of Government of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.

    Legislative branch

    Legislative power of Guyana rests in a unicameral National Assembly, with 53 members chosen on the basis of proportional representation from national lists named by the political parties. An additional 12 members are elected by regional councils at the same time as the National Assembly. The elections system was revised for the 2001 elections. The president may dissolve the assembly and call new elections at any time, but no later than 5 years from its first sitting.

    Legislative branch

    Legislative power of Guyana rests in a unicameral National Assembly, with 53 members chosen on the basis of proportional representation from national lists named by the political parties. An additional 12 members are elected by regional councils at the same time as the National Assembly. The elections system was revised for the 2001 elections. The president may dissolve the assembly and call new elections at any time, but no later than 5 years from its first sitting.

    Judicial branch

    The highest judicial body is the Court of Appeal, headed by a chancellor of the judiciary. The second level is the High Court (Guyana), presided over by a chief justice. The chancellor and the chief justice are appointed by the president. The Audit Office of Guyana (AOG) is the country's Supreme Audit Institution (SAI).

    Administrative divisions

    For administrative purposes, Guyana is divided into 10 regions, each headed by a chairman who presides over a regional democratic council. Local communities are administered by village or city councils. The regions are Barima-Waini, Cuyuni-Mazaruni, Demerara-Mahaica, East Berbice-Corentyne, Essequibo Islands-West Demerara, Mahaica-Berbice, Pomeroon-Supenaam, Potaro-Siparuni, Upper Demerara-Berbice and Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo.

    Political conditions

    Race and ideology have been the dominant political influences in Guyana. Since the split of the multiracial PPP in 1955, politics has been based more on ethnicity than on ideology. From 1964 to 1992, the PNC dominated Guyana's politics. The PNC draws its support primarily from urban Blacks, and for many years declared itself a socialist party whose purpose was to make Guyana a nonaligned socialist state, in which the party, as in communist countries, was above all other institutions.

    The overwhelming majority of Guyanese of East Indian extraction traditionally have backed the People's Progressive Party, headed by the Jagans. Rice farmers and sugar workers in the rural areas form the bulk of PPP's support, but Indo-Guyanese who dominate the country's urban business community also have provided important support.

    Following independence, and with the help of substantial foreign aid, social benefits were provided to a broader section of the population, specifically in health, education, housing, road and bridge building, agriculture, and rural development. However, during Forbes Burnham's last years, the government's attempts to build a socialist society caused a massive emigration of skilled workers, and, along with other economic factors, led to a significant decline in the overall quality of life in Guyana.

    After Burnham's death in 1985, President Hoyte took steps to stem the economic decline, including strengthening financial controls over the parastatal corporations and supporting the private sector. In August 1987, at a PNC Congress, Hoyte announced that the PNC rejected orthodox communism and the one-party state.

    As the elections scheduled for 1990 approached, Hoyte, under increasing pressure from inside and outside Guyana, gradually opened the political system. After a visit to Guyana by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter in 1990, Hoyte made changes in the electoral rules, appointed a new chairman of the Elections Commission, and endorsed putting together new voters' lists, thus delaying the election. The elections, which finally took place in 1992, were witnessed by 100 international observers, including a group headed by Mr. Carter and another from the Commonwealth of Nations. Both groups issued reports saying that the elections had been free and fair, despite violent attacks on the Elections Commission building on election day and other irregularities.

    Cheddi Jagan served as Premier (19571964) and then minority leader in Parliament until his election as President in 1992. One of the Caribbean's most charismatic and famous leaders, Jagan was a founder of the PPP which led Guyana's struggle for independence. Over the years, he moderated his Marxist-Leninist ideology. After his election as President, Jagan demonstrated a commitment to democracy, followed a pro-Western foreign policy, adopted free market policies, and pursued sustainable development for Guyana's environment. Nonetheless, he continued to press for debt relief and a new global human order in which developed countries would increase assistance to less developed nations. Jagan died on 6 March 1997, and was succeeded by Samuel A. Hinds, whom he had appointed Prime Minister. President Hinds then appointed Janet Jagan, widow of the late President, to serve as Prime Minister.

    In national elections on 15 December 1997, Janet Jagan was elected President, and her PPP party won a 55% majority of seats in Parliament. She was sworn in on 19 December. Mrs. Jagan is a founding member of the PPP and was very active in party politics. She was Guyana's first female prime minister and vice president, two roles she performed concurrently before being elected to the presidency. She was also unique in being white, Jewish and a naturalized citizen (born in the United States.)

    The PNC, which won just under 40% of the vote, disputed the results of the 1997 elections, alleging electoral fraud. Public demonstrations and some violence followed, until a CARICOM team came to Georgetown to broker an accord between the two parties, calling for an international audit of the election results, a redrafting of the constitution, and elections under the constitution within 3 years. Elections took place on 19 March 2001. Over 150 international observers representing six international missions witnessed the polling. The observers pronounced the elections fair and open although marred by some administrative problems.

    Territorial disputes

    All of the area west of the Essequibo River is claimed by Venezuela, preventing any discussion of a maritime boundary; Guyana has expressed its intention to join Barbados in asserting claims before UNCLOS that Trinidad and Tobago's maritime boundary with Venezuela extends into their waters; Suriname claims a triangle of land between the New and Kutari/Koetari rivers in a historic dispute over the headwaters of the Courantyne; The long-standing dispute with Suriname over the axis of the territorial sea boundary in potentially oil-rich waters has been resolved by UNCLOS with Guyana awarded 93% of the disputed territory.

    International organization participation

    Guyana is a full and participating founder-member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the headquarters of which is located in Georgetown. The CARICOM Single Market & Economy (CSME) will, by necessity, bring Caribbean-wide legislation into force and a Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). International affiliations include: ACP, C, Caricom, CCC, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, ISO (subscriber), ITU, ITUC, LAES, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  • Economy
  • With a per capita gross domestic product of only $4,700 in 2006, Guyana is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. The economy made dramatic progress after President Hoyte's 1989 economic recovery program (ERP). As a result of the ERP, Guyana's GDP increased six percent in 1991 following 15 years of decline. Growth was consistently above six percent until 1995, when it dipped to 5.1 percent. The government reported that the economy grew at a rate of 7.9 percent in 1996, 6.2 percent in 1997, and fell 1.3 percent in 1998. The 1999 growth rate was three percent. The unofficial growth rate in 2005 was 0.5 percent.In 2006, in was 3.2%.

    Developed in conjunction with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the ERP significantly reduced the government's role in the economy, encouraged foreign investment, enabled the government to clear all its arrears on loan repayments to foreign governments and the multilateral banks, and brought about the sale of 15 of the 41 government-owned (parastatal) businesses. The telephone company and assets in the timber, rice, and fishing industries also were privatised. International corporations were hired to manage the huge state sugar company, GUYSUCO, and the largest state bauxite mine. An American company was allowed to open a bauxite mine, and two Canadian companies were permitted to develop the largest open-pit gold mine in South America. However, efforts to privatise the two state-owned bauxite mining companies, Berbice Mining Company and Linden Mining Company have so far been unsuccessful.

    Most price controls were removed, the laws affecting mining and oil exploration were improved, and an investment policy receptive to foreign investment was announced. Tax reforms designed to promote exports and agricultural production in the private sector were enacted.

    Agriculture and mining are Guyana's most important economic activities, with sugar, bauxite, rice, and gold accounting for 7075 percent of export earnings. However, the rice sector experienced a decline in 2000, with export earnings down 27 percent through the third quarter 2000. Ocean shrimp exports, which were heavily impacted by a one-month import ban to the United States in 1999, accounted for only 3.5 percent of total export earnings that year. Shrimp exports rebounded in 2000, representing 11 percent of export earnings through the third quarter 2000. Other exports include timber, diamonds, garments, rum, and pharmaceuticals. The value of these other exports is increasing.

    Since 1986, Guyana has received its entire wheat supply from the United States on concessional terms under a PL 480 Food for Peace programme. It is now supplied on a grant basis. The Guyanese currency generated by the sale of the wheat is used for purposes agreed upon by the U.S. and Guyana Governments. As with many developing countries, Guyana is heavily indebted. Reduction of the debt burden has been one of the present administration's top priorities. In 1999, through the Paris Club "Lyons terms" and the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative Guyana managed to negotiate $256 million in debt forgiveness.

    In qualifying for HIPC assistance, for the first time, Guyana became eligible for a reduction of its multilateral debt. About half of Guyana's debt is owed to the multilateral development banks and 20% to its neighbour Trinidad and Tobago, which until 1986 was its principal supplier of petroleum products. Almost all debt to the U.S. government has been forgiven. In late 1999, net international reserves were at $123.2 million, down from $254 million in 1994. However, net international reserves had rebounded to $174.1 million by January 2001.

    Guyana's extremely high debt burden to foreign creditors has meant limited availability of foreign exchange and reduced capacity to import necessary raw materials, spare parts, and equipment, thereby further reducing production. The increase in global fuel costs also contributed to the country's decline in production and growing trade deficit. The decline of production has increased unemployment. Although no reliable statistics exist, combined unemployment and underemployment are estimated at about 30%.

    Emigration, principally to the U.S. and Canada, remains substantial. Net emigration in 1998 was estimated to be about 1.4 percent of the population, and in 1999, this figure totalled 1.2 percent. After years of a state-dominated economy, the mechanisms for private investment, domestic or foreign, are still evolving. The shift from a state-controlled economy to a primarily free market system began under Desmond Hoyte and continued under PPP/CIVIC governments. The current PPP/C administration recognises the need for foreign investment to create jobs, enhance technical capabilities, and generate goods for export.

    The foreign exchange market was fully liberalised in 1991, and currency is now freely traded without restriction. The rate is subject to change on a daily basis, but the Guyana dollar has depreciated 17.6% from 1998 to 2000 and may depreciate further pending the stability of the post-election period.

    GDP: purchasing power parity - $3.62 billion (1.86 G$) (2006 est.)

    GDP - real growth rate: 5.8% (2006 est.)

    GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $6,000 (2006 est.)

    GDP - composition by sector:
    agriculture: 34.7%
    industry: 32.5%
    services: 32.8% (1998 est.)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5.5% (1999 est.)

    Labour force: 245,492 (1992)

    Labour force - by occupation: agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services NA%

    Unemployment rate: 12% (1992 est.)

    Budget:
    revenues: $220.1 million
    expenditures: $286.4 million, including capital expenditures of $86.6 million (1998)

    Industries: bauxite, sugar, rice milling, timber, fishing (shrimp), textiles, gold mining

    Industrial production growth rate: 7.1% (1997 est.)

    Electricity - production: 325 GWh (1998)

    Electricity - production by source:
    fossil fuel: 98.46%
    hydro: 1.54%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1998)

    Electricity - consumption: 302 GWh (1998)

    Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

    Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1998)

    Agriculture - products: sugar, rice, wheat, vegetable oils; beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; forest and fishery potential not exploited

    Exports: $574 million (f.o.b., 1999 est.) Exports - commodities: sugar, gold, bauxite/alumina, rice, shrimp, molasses, rum, timber Exports - partners: US 25%, Canada 24%, UK 19%, Netherlands Antilles 11%, Jamaica 5% (1998)

    Imports: $620 million (c.i.f., 1999 est.)

    Imports - commodities: manufactures, machinery, petroleum, food

    Imports - partners: US 28%, Trinidad and Tobago 21%, Netherlands Antilles 14%, UK 7%, Japan 5% (1998)

    Debt - external: $1.4 billion (1998)

    Economic aid - recipient: $84 million (1995), Heavily Indebted Poor Country Initiative (HIPC) $253 million (1997)

    Currency: 1 Guyanese dollar (G$) = 100 cents

    Exchange rates: Guyanese dollars (G$) per US$1 - 180.4 (December 1999), 178.0 (1999), 150.5 (1998), 142.4 (1997), 140.4 (1996), 142.0 (1995)

    Fiscal year: calendar year

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  • Culture
  • The Culture of the South American nation, Guyana, is very similar to that of the English speaking Caribbean, so much so that Guyana is considered a Caribbean Nation. Guyana shares similar interests with the islands of the West Indies, such as food, festive events, music, sports, etc.

    Guyanese culture reflects the influence of African, Indian, French, Amerindian, Chinese, British, Dutch, Portuguese, Caribbean, and American culture.
    Contents

    Cultural events

    * Mashramani
    * Phagwah
    * Deepavali (Diwali)
    * Folk Festival
    * Rodeo
    * Costa Rica babay


    Music

    Guyana's musical tradition is a mix of Indian, African, European, and native elements. Pop music includes American, Caribbean (reggae, calypso, chutney[1]), Brazilian and other Latin musical styles.

    Popular Guyanese performers include Terry Gajraj, Mark Holder, Eddy Grant, Dave Martin & the Tradewinds, Aubrey Cummings and Nicky Porter. Among the most successful Guyanese record producers are Rohit Jagessar, Eddy Grant, Terry Gajraj and Dave Martin.

    Theatre

    The beginnings of theatre in 19th century Georgetown was European in nature. In the early 20th century there was an emergence of new African and Indian Guyanese middle-class theatre. In the 1950s there was an explosion of an ethnically diverse and socially committed theatre. There was a struggle to maintain theatre post-1980 in spite of an economic depression. Serious repertory theatre was highlighted by Carifesta and the Theatre Guild of Guyana.[2]

    Wordsworth McAndrew has been prominent in Guyanese theatre since the 1960s.

    Literature

    Popular Guyanese authors include Wilson Harris, Jan Carew, Denis Williams and E. R. Braithwaite. Braithwaite's memoir, To Sir With Love, details his experiences as a black high school teacher in a white London slum.

    Edgar Mittelholzer is well known outside of Guyana for such novels as Corentyne Thunder and a three-part novel known as the Kaywana trilogy, the latter focusing on one family through 350 years of Guyana's history.

    Visual arts

    Art takes many forms in Guyana, but its dominant themes are Amerindians, the ethnic diversity of the population and the physical beauty of Guyana. Popular artists include Stanley Greaves, Ronald Savory, Philip Moore and the late Aubrey Williams.and renzell anth on the hot line.

    Film

    Guiana 1838, a film by the U.S. based award-winning Guyanese born director Rohit Jagessar, is the historic epic film depicting the abolition of slavery in British Guiana, now Guyana, indentured Indian servants on their first arrival to the Caribbean in 1838. Guiana 1838 was released on September 24, 2004 when it scored the highest screen average of all movies released that weekend at the North American box office. The trailer can be seen at [1].

    The story of the cinema in Guyana goes back to the 1920s when the Gaiety, which was probably British Guiana's first cinema, stood by the Brickdam Roman Catholic Presbytery in Georgetown, and showed Charlie Chaplin-type silent movies.

    The Gaiety burnt down around 1926, but was followed by other cinemas such as the Metro on Middle Street, in Georgetown, which became the Empire; the London on Camp Street, which became the Plaza; and the Astor on Church and Waterloo Streets, which opened around 1940.

    The Capitol on La Penitence Street in Albouystown had a rough reputation. The Metropole was on Robb and Wellington Streets; the Rialto, which became the Rio, on Vlissengen Road; the Hollywood was in Kitty; and the Strand de Luxe on Wellington Street, was considered the luxury show place.

    Cinema seating was distinctly divided. Closest to the screen, with rows of hard wooden benches, was the lowly Pit, where the effort of looking upwards at the screen for several hours gave one a permanent stiff neck. The next section, House, was separated from the Pit by a low partition wall. House usually had individual but connected wooden rows of seats that flipped up or down. Above House was the Box section, with soft, private seats and, behind Box, Balcony, a favourite place for dating couples. These divisions in the cinema roughly represented the different strata existing in colonial society.

    Architecture

    Much historic architecture reflects the country's British colonial past. Many of these buildings in Georgetown and New Amsterdam were built entirely of local woods.

    Sports


    The major sports in Guyana are cricket (Guyana is part of the West Indian cricket team), softball cricket (beach cricket) and football (soccer). Minor sports in Guyana include netball, rounders, lawn tennis, basketball, table tennis, boxing.

    Guyana played host to international cricket matches as part of the 2007 Cricket World Cup. A brand new 15,000 seat stadium, Providence Stadium (pictured at right), was built in time for the World Cup, and was ready for the beginning of play on March 28. History was made on that date at the first international game of CWC 2007 held at the stadium when Lasith Malinga of the Sri Lanka team performed a helmet trick, or double hat-trick (four wickets in four consecutive deliveries).

    Cuisine

    Guyanese cuisine is enriched by traditional foods from every ethnic group in the country. These dishes have been adapted to Guyanese tastes, often by the addition of spices.

    Favourite dishes include pepper pot, a stew made with bitter cassava juice, meat, hot pepper and seasoning; roti and curry; garlic pork; cassava bread; chow mein and "cook up", a one-pot meal which can include any favourite meats.

    Popular homemade drinks are mauby, made from the bark of a tree; sorrel drink, made from a leafy vegetable used in salads; and ginger beer, made from ginger root.

    Over 400 Guyanese recipes are listed at Guyana Outpost.

    Religion

    Many religions are practised in Guyana, the predominant ones being Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  • Religion
  • About 84% of the East Indian immigrants were Hindus, and their dominant sect was the Vaishnavite Hinduism of Bihar and North India. Some 30 percent of the East Indians were from agricultural castes and 31 percent were labourers. Brahmins, the highest caste, constituted 14 percent of the East Indian immigrants. Vaishnavite Hinduism remains the predominant religion of the Indo-Guyanese, though it was considerably modified.

    During the indenture period, the East Indian caste system broke down. Hinduism was redefined, and caste-distinguishing practices were eliminated. Christian missionaries attempted to convert East Indians during the indenture period, beginning in 1852, but met with little success. The missionaries blamed the brahmins for their failure: the brahmins began administering spiritual rites to all Hindus regardless of caste once the Christian missionaries started proselytizing in the villages, hastening the breakdown of the caste system. After the 1930s, Hindu conversions to Christianity slowed because the status of Hinduism improved and the discrimination against Hindus diminished.

    In every village where Indo Guyanese reside there is a Mandir (Hindu temple). All main Hindu occasions are observed Basant Panchami in January to Geeta Jayanti in December.

    Since the late 1940s, reform movements caught the attention of many Guyanese Hindus. The most important, the Arya Samaj movement, arrived in Guyana in 1910. Arya Samaj doctrine rejects the idea of caste and the exclusive role of brahmins as religious leaders. The movement preaches monotheism and opposition to the use of images in worship as well as many traditional Hindu rituals. Caste distinctions are all but forgotten among Guyanese Hindus. Currently the number of Guyanese Hindus is steeply declining because of emigration and conversion to other religions. Only 216,000 identified themselves as Hindus in the 2000 census.

    About 10 percent of Guyana's population is Muslim,[1] representing 76,528 individuals. The Sunnatival Jamaat is the orthodox Sunni Islamic movement. The largest Islamic organization in the country is the Guyana United Sadr Islamic Anjuman.

    Until the 1970s, Muslim holidays were not officially recognized. A number of non-Christian religious days are now public holidays. Muslim holidays include Id al Fitr, the end of Ramadan, the sacred month of fasting; Id al Adha, the feast of sacrifice; and Mawlid, the birthday of Muhammad. The dates for these holidays vary according to the Islamic calendar.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  • Education
  • Guyana's educational system was at one time was 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 modernize 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. The write CXC at the end of high school. Recently they have introduced the CAPE exams which all other Caribbean countries have now introduced. The A-level system left over from the British era has all but disappeared and is now offered only in a few schools (current as at January 2007). The reason for the insufficient focus or various disciplines can be directly attributed to the common choices made by students to specialize in areas that are similar (math/chemistry/physics or geography/history/economics). With the removal of the old A-level system that encouraged this specialization, it is thought that it will be more attractive[citation needed] for students to broaden their studies.

    There are wide disparities among the geographical regions of the country in the availability of quality education, and the physical facilities which are provided are in poor condition.[citation needed]

    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.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  • Health
  • One of the most unfortunate consequences of Guyana's economic decline in the 1970s and 1980s because of the rule of the PNC (People's National Congress) 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 U.S. 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 or Cuba.

    Compared with other neighboring countries, Guyana ranks poorly in regard to basic health indicators. In 1998, life expectancy at birth was estimated at 66.0 years for Guyana, 71.6 for Suriname, 72.9 for Venezuela; 73.8 for Trinidad and Tobago, 74.7 for Jamaica, and 76.5 for Barbados. In Guyana, the infant mortality rate in 1998 was 24.2, in Barbados 14.9; in Trinidad and Tobago 16.2; in Venezuela 22; in Jamaica 24.5; and in Suriname 25.1.

    Maternal mortality rates in Guyana are also relatively high, being estimate at 124.6/1000 for 1998. Comparable figures for other Caribbean countries are 50/1000 for Barbados, 75/1000 for Trinidad and 100/1000 for Jamaica.

    It must be emphasized, however, that although Guyana's health profile still falls short in comparison with many of its Caribbean neighbours, there has been remarkable progress since 1988, and the Ministry of Health is constantly upgrading conditions, procedures, and facilities. Open heart surgery is now available in the country, and in the second half of 2007 an ophthalmic center will open.[citation needed]

    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 picture in regard to morbidity patterns differs. 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.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  • Cuisine
  • Guyanese cuisine has many similarities to that of the rest of the Caribbean. The food is diverse and includes dishes such as chicken curry, roti and cookup rice (a style of rice with different kinds of vegetables accompanied by chicken, beef or fish). The food reflects the ethnic make up of the country and its colonial history, and includes dishes from the Africans and creoles, East Indians, Amerindians, Chinese, and Europeans (mostly British and Portuguese).

    Staple dishes include chicken curry, roti, plain rice, cookup rice, breads, beef/chicken stews, and Caribbean-style chow mein. Caribbean and Latin American ground provisions are also part of the staple diet and include cassava, sweet potato, edoes and others. Unique dishes include Pepperpot, made with cassreep (an extract of the casava) and is of Amerindian origin. There is also Metemgie, a thick rich soup with a coconut base filled with ground provisions, and big fluffy dumplings and is traditionally eaten with fried fish, or, more recently, chicken. Most Guyanese love the Caribbean-style Chinese food sold in restaurants in the bigger towns. A favorite is Chicken in the ruff, which is fried rice with Chinese-style fried chicken on top.

    There is an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables and seafood on the coast. Most people use fresh fruit to make their own beverages, which are called "local drink." Fresh fish and seafood are an integral part of the food of the rural areas and small villages along the coast. The crab soups and soups with okra from the Berbice coastal region resemble that of the Louisiana creole soups like gumbo.

    Homemade bread-making is an art in many villages, and is a reflection of the British influence that includes pastries such as cheese roll, pine (pineapple) tart, and patties (sister to the Jamaican beef patty).

    For more information on Guyanese food and the hundreds of dishes, do an internet search or try Guyana Outpost - Recipes from Guyana & the Caribbean.Some of the dishes on this website are not traditional, are American influenced, or are from other parts of the Caribbean.
  • Sports
  • 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. The minor sports in Guyana are 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. A brand new 15,000 seat stadium, Providence Stadium, also referred to as Guyana National Stadium (pictured at right), was built in time for the World Cup, and was ready for the beginning of play on 28 March. History was made on that date at the first international game of CWC 2007 held at the stadium when Lasith Malinga of the Sri Lanka team performed a helmet trick, or double hat-trick (four wickets in four consecutive deliveries).

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 


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