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The World Factbook (1990)/Guyana



World Factbook (1990) Guyana.jpg

 See regional map IV


Total area: 214,970 km²; land area: 196,850 km²

Comparative area slightly smaller than Idaho

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

Coastline: 459 km

Maritime claims:

Continental shelf: outer edge of continental margin or 200 nm
Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Disputes: Essequibo area claimed by Venezuela; Suriname claims area between New (Upper Courantyne) and Courantyne/Kutari Rivers (all headwaters of the Courantyne)

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

Natural resources: bauxite, gold, diamonds, hardwood timber, shrimp, fish

Land use: 3% arable land; NEGL% permanent crops; 6% meadows and pastures; 83% forest and woodland; 8% other; includes 1% irrigated

Environment: flash floods a constant threat during rainy seasons; water pollution


Population: 764,649 (July 1990), growth rate -0.1% (1990)

Birth rate: 24 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 6 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: -19 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 40 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 65 years male, 70 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 2.7 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Guyanese (sing., pl.); adjective—Guyanese

Ethnic divisions: 51% East Indian, 43% black and mixed, 4% Amerindian, 2% European and Chinese

Religion: 57% Christian, 33% Hindu, 9% Muslim, 1% other

Language: English, Amerindian dialects

Literacy: 85%

Labor force: 268,000; 44.5% industry and commerce, 33.8% agriculture, 21.7% services; public-sector employment amounts to 60-80% of the total labor force (1985)

Organized labor: 34% of labor force


Long-form name: Co-operative Republic of Guyana

Type: republic

Capital: Georgetown

Administrative divisions: 10 regions; Barima-Waini, Cuyuni-Mazaruni, Demerara-Mahaica, East Berbice-Corentyne, Essequibo Islands-West Demerara, Mahaica-Berbice, Pomeroon-Supenaam, Potaro-Siparuni, Upper Demerara-Berbice, Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo

Independence: 26 May 1966 (from UK; formerly British Guiana)

Constitution: 6 October 1980

Legal system: based on English common law with certain admixtures of Roman-Dutch law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

National holiday: Republic Day, 23 February (1970)

Executive branch: executive president, first vice president, prime minister, first deputy prime minister, Cabinet

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly

Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Judicature

Leaders: Chief of State—President Hugh Desmond HOYTE (since 6 August 1985); First Vice President Hamilton GREEN (since 6 August 1985);

Head of Government—Prime Minister Hamilton GREEN (since 6 August 1985)

Political parties and leaders: People's National Congress (PNC), Hugh Desmond Hoyte; People's Progressive Party (PPP), Cheddi Jagan; Working People's Alliance (WPA), Eusi Kwayana, Rupert Roopnarine, Moses Bhagwan; Democratic Labor Movement (DLM), Paul Tennassee; People's Democratic Movement (PDM), Llewellyn John; National Democratic Front (NDF), Joseph Bacchus; United Force (UF), Marcellus Feilden Singh; Vanguard for Liberation and Democracy (VLD, also known as Liberator Party), Gunraj Kumar, J. K. Makepeace Richmond

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: Executive President—last held on 9 December 1985 (next to be held late 1990); Hugh Desmond Hoyte was elected president (the leader of the party with the most votes in the National Assembly elections—PNC 78%);

National Assembly—last held on 9 December 1985 (next to be held by 9 December 1990); results—PNC 78%, PPP 16%, UF 4%, WPA 2%; seats—(65 total, 53 elected) PNC 42, PPP 8, UF 2, WPA 1

Communists: 100 (est.) hardcore within PPP; top echelons of PPP and PYO (Progressive Youth Organization, militant wing of the PPP) include many Communists; small but unknown number of orthodox Marxist-Leninists within PNC, some of whom formerly belonged to the PPP

Other political or pressure groups: Trades Union Congress (TUC); Guyana Council of Indian Organizations (GCIO); Civil Liberties Action Committee (CLAC); the latter two organizations are small and active but not well organized


Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Dr. Cedric Hilburn GRANT; Chancery at 2490 Tracy Place NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 265-6900; there is a Guyanese Consulate General in New York; US—Ambassador Theresa A. TULL; Embassy at 31 Main Street, Georgetown; telephone [592](02) 54900 through 54909

Flag: green with a red isosceles triangle (based on the hoist side) superimposed on a long yellow arrowhead; there is a narrow black border between the red and yellow, and a narrow white border between the yellow and the green


Overview: After growing on average at less than 1% a year in 1984-87, GDP dropped by 3% in 1988, the result of bad weather, labor trouble in the canefields, and flooding and equipment problems in the bauxite industry. Consumer prices rose about 35%, and the current account deficit widened substantially as sugar and bauxite exports fell. Moreover, electric power is in short supply and constitutes a major barrier to future gains in national output. The government, in association with international financial agencies, seeks to reduce its payment arrears and to raise new funds. The government's stabilization program—aimed at establishing realistic exchange rates, reasonable price stability, and a resumption of growth—requires considerable public administrative abilities and continued patience by consumers during a long incubation period.

GDP: $323 million, per capita $420; real growth rate -3.0% (1988 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 35% (1988 est.)

Unemployment rate: NA%

Budget: revenues $173 million; expenditures $414 million, including capital expenditures of $75 million (1988 est.)

Exports: $215 million (f.o.b., 1988 est.) commodities—bauxite, sugar, rice, shrimp, gold, molasses, timber, rum; partners—UK 37%, US 12%, Canada 10.6%, CARICOM 4.8% (1986)

Imports: $216 million (c.i.f., 1988 est.); commodities—manufactures machinery, food, petroleum; partners—CARICOM 41%, US 18%, UK 9%, Canada 3% (1984)

External debt: $1.8 billion, including arrears (December 1988)

Industrial production: growth rate -5.0% (1988 est.)

Electricity: 221,000 kW capacity; 583 million kWh produced, 760 kWh per capita (1989)

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

Agriculture: most important sector, accounting for 25% of GDP and over 50% of exports; sugar and rice are key crops; development potential exists for fishing and forestry; not self-sufficient in food, especially wheat, vegetable oils, and animal products

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-88), $109 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $234 million; Communist countries (1970-88), $242 million

Currency: Guyanese dollar (plural—dollars); 1 Guyanese dollar (G$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Guyanese dollars (G$) per US$1—33.0000 (January 1990), 27.159 (1989), 10.000 (1988), 9.756 (1987), 4.272 (1986), 4.252 (1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 187 km total, all single track 0.914-meter gauge

Highways: 7,665 km total; 550 km paved, 5,000 km gravel, 1,525 km earth, 590 km unimproved

Inland waterways: 6,000 km total of navigable waterways; Berbice, Demerara, and Essequibo Rivers are navigable by ocean-going vessels for 150 km, 100 km, and 80 km, respectively

Ports: Georgetown

Civil air: 5 major transport aircraft

Airports: 66 total, 63 usable; 5 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 2,439 m; 12 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: fair system with radio relay network; over 27,000 telephones; tropospheric scatter link to Trinidad; stations—4 AM, 3 FM, no TV, 1 shortwave; 1 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT earth station

Defense Forces

Branches: Guyana Defense Force (including Maritime Corps and Air Corps), Guyana Police Force, Guyana People's Militia, Guyana National Service

Military manpower: males 15-49, 201,104; 152,958 fit for military service

Defense expenditures: 4.3% of GDP, or $13.8 million (1988 est.)