Geographic and Governmental Profile of Guyana

Background
Originally a Dutch colony in the 17th century, by 1815 Guyana had become a British possession. The abolition of slavery led to black settlement of urban areas and the importation of indentured servants from India to work the sugar plantations. This ethnocultural divide has persisted and has led to turbulent politics. Guyana achieved independence from the UK in 1966, and since then it has been ruled mostly by socialist-oriented governments. In 1992, Cheddi JAGAN was elected president in what is considered the country's first free and fair election since independence. After his death five years later, his wife, Janet JAGAN, became president but resigned in 1999 due to poor health. Her successor, Bharrat JAGDEO, was reelected in 2001 and again in 2006. Donald RAMOTAR was elected president in 2011.
Location
Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Suriname and Venezuela
Geographic coordinates
5 00 N, 59 00 W
Continent / Subcontinent
South America
Area
total:
214,969 sq km
rank:
85
land:
196,849 sq km
water:
18,120 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly smaller than Idaho
Land boundaries
total:
2,949 km
border countries:
Brazil 1,606 km, Suriname 600 km, Venezuela 743 km
Coastline
459 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm
continental shelf:
200 nm or to the outer edge of the continental margin
Climate
tropical; hot, humid, moderated by northeast trade winds; two rainy seasons (May to August, November to 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
Land use
arable land:
2.23%
permanent crops:
0.14%
other:
97.63% (2005)
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Irrigated land
1,500 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
241 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
1.64 cu km/yr (2%/1%/98%)
per capita:
2,187 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
flash flood threat during rainy seasons
Environment - current issues
water pollution from sewage and agricultural and industrial chemicals; deforestation
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
the third-smallest country in South America after Suriname and Uruguay; substantial portions of its western and eastern territories are claimed by Venezuela and Suriname respectively
Country name
conventional long form:
Cooperative Republic of Guyana
conventional short form:
Guyana
former:
British Guiana
Government type
republic
Capital
name:
Georgetown
geographic coordinates:
6 48 N, 58 09 W
time difference:
UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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 the UK)
Constitution
6 October 1980
Legal system
common law system, based on the English model, with some Roman-Dutch civil law influence
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Donald RAMOTAR (since 03 December 2011);
head of government:
Prime Minister Samuel HINDS (since October 1992, except for a period as chief of state after the death of President Cheddi JAGAN on 6 March 1997)
cabinet:
Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president, responsible to the legislature
elections:
president elected by popular vote as leader of a party list in parliamentary elections, which must be held at least every five years (no term limits); elections last held on 28 August 2006 (next to be held by August 2011); prime minister appointed by the president
election results:
Donald RAMOTAR elected president, percent of vote 48.6%
Legislative branch
unicameral National Assembly (65 seats; members elected by popular vote, also not more than 4 non-elected non-voting ministers and 2 non-elected non-voting parliamentary secretaries appointed by the president; members to serve five-year terms)
elections:
last held on 28 November 2011 (next to be held by November 2016)
election results:
percent of vote by party - PPP/C 48.6%, APNU 40%, AFC 10.3%, other 1.1%; seats by party - PPP/C 32, APNU 26, AFC 7
Judicial branch
Supreme Court of Judicature, consisting of the High Court and the Court of Appeal, with right of final appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)
Political parties and leaders
Alliance for Change or AFC [Khemraj RAMJATTAN]; Justice for All Party [C.N. SHARMA]; A Partnership for National Unity or APNU [David GRANGER]; People's Progressive Party/Civic or PPP/C [Donald RAMOTAR]; Rise, Organize, and Rebuild or ROAR [Ravi DEV]; The United Force or TUF [Manzoor NADIR]; The Unity Party [Joey JAGAN]; Vision Guyana [Peter RAMSAROOP]; Working People's Alliance or WPA [Clive THOMAS]
Political pressure groups and leaders
Amerindian People's Association; Guyana Bar Association; Guyana Citizens Initiative; Guyana Human Rights Association; Guyana Public Service Union or GPSU; Private Sector Commission; Trades Union Congress
International organization participation
ACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (subscriber), ITU, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OIC, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, Petrocaribe, UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Bayney KARRAN
chancery:
2490 Tracy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone:
[1] (202) 265-6900
FAX:
[1] (202) 232-1297
consulate(s) general:
New York
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador D. Brent HARDT
embassy:
US Embassy, 100 Young and Duke Streets, Kingston, Georgetown
mailing address:
P. O. Box 10507, Georgetown; US Embassy, 3170 Georgetown Place, Washington DC 20521-3170
telephone:
[592] 225-4900 through 4909
FAX:
[592] 225-8497
Flag description
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; green represents forest and foliage; yellow stands for mineral resources and a bright future; white symbolizes Guyana's rivers; red signifies zeal and the sacrifice of the people; black indicates perseverance
National symbol(s)
Canje pheasant (hoatzin); jaguar
National anthem
name:
"Dear Land of Guyana, of Rivers and Plains"
lyrics/music:
Archibald Leonard LUKERL/Robert Cyril Gladstone POTTER
adopted 1966
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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