GUYANESE Facts & Figures

Size: 83,000 square miles

Population: 752,940

Capital:  Georgetown

Currency: Guyanese dollar

Weather / Climate:

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 / 6,699 feet), Monte Caburaí (1,465 metres / 4,806 feet) and Mount Roraima (2,810 metres / 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.

Rupununi Savannah

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.

Guyanahas 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.

Taken from wikipedia

GUYANESE languages

English is the official language of Guyana and used, for example, in its schools. In addition, Cariban languages (Akawaio, Wai-Wai, Arawak and Macushi) are spoken by a small minority, while Guyanese Creole (an English-based creole with African and/or East Indian syntax.) is widely spoken. In addition, Dutch and French are commonly spoken however not at the local level, only nationals who frequently visit French Guiana and Suriname speak them.... Also French is widely taught in the secondary schools along with Spanish as a foreign language, which is also widely spoken though only by Venezuelan visitors and residents, both from Guyana and Venezuela.

Taken from wikipedia

GUYANESE people

Guyana's population (Guyanese people) is made up of five main ethnic groups: Amerindians, Africans, Indians, Europeans, and Chinese. Ninety percent of the inhabitants live on the narrow coastal plain, where population density is more than 115 persons per square kilometer (380/mile²). 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.

Guyana continues to be influenced by British culture as well distantly with the cultures of the United States, Europe, Africa, the Islamic world, East and South Asian countries, and Latin America, esp. with neighboring countries of Venezuela and Brazil. It is one of three countries and two territories to form The Guianas, such as Suriname and the island of Trinidad and Tobago; and territories like the French Guiana and parts of neighboring countries named for Guayana (Venezuela) and Amapa of Brazil.

There is an organization dedicated to the integration of Guyana with the United States, GuyanaUSA. Their claim is based on the idea that Guyana has strong connections with the United States in terms of people (100,000 people have joint Guyanese American citizenship and 350,000 Guyanese live in the U.S., half as many as remain in Guyana).

Population statistics

Population:748,486
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: 35.5% (male 135,629; female 131,518; total 267,147)
15–64 years: 66% (male 226,058; female 226,551; total 452,609)
65 years and over: 4.2% (male 14,347; female 17,120; total 31,467) (2002 census)[1]

Health Data

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.)

Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Guyana

GUYANESE food

Guyanese cuisine is very similar to the rest of the Caribbean. The food is diverse and includes dishes such as curry, roti, and Cookup Rice, the local variation on the Caribbean rice and peas. The one pot meal while not the national dish is one of the most cooked dishes. With its various versions, according to what type of meat, peas and other ingredients available, it is a true reflection of the country. The food reflects the ethnic makeup of the country and its colonial history, and includes African, CreoleEast Indian, Amerindian, Chinese and European (mostly British, French and Portuguese) dishes.

Dishes have been adapted to Guyanese tastes, often by the addition of spices. Unique preparations[3] include Pepperpot, a stew of Amerindian origin made with cassareep (a bitter extract of the cassava), hot pepper and seasoning. Other favourites are cassava bread, stews, and Metemgie, a thick rich soup with a ground provision coconut base and fluffy dumplings, eaten with fried fish or chicken. Homemade bread-making, an art in many villages, is a reflection of the British influence that includes pastries such as cheese rolls, pine (pineapple) tarts, and patties (similar to the Jamaican patty).

Curry is widely popular in Guyana and includes most types of meat that can be curried including chicken, seafood, goat, lamb, and even duck. Guyanese style chow mein is another dish that is an almost everyday affair in most homes.

Fish is also a major part of Guyanese cuisine and the diet; the fish that are mainly used include: gilbaka, catfish, and hassa.

Caribbean and Latin American ground provisions (known colloquially as provisions) are part of the staple diet and include cassava, sweet potato, edoes and others. There is an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables and seafood on the coast.

Most individuals use fresh fruit to make their own beverages, which are called "local drink". Popular homemade drinks are lime water (like lemonade), mauby, made from the bark of a tree; sorrel drink, made from hibiscus[4]; ginger beer (made from ginger root), and peanut punch.

Fresh fish and seafood are an integral part of the Guyanese diet especially in the rural areas and small villages along the coast. Popular fish types include gilbaka, tilapia, catfish, and hassa. The crab soups with okra from the Berbice coastal region resemble the Louisiana Creole soups like gumbo.

Guyanese style Chinese food and fried chicken are the most popular restaurant and take-out items, and are found in the bigger towns. Popular Chinese dishes include lo mein, chow mein, and Chicken in the ruff (fried rice with Chinese-style fried chicken).

Taken from wikipedia

Places to go in GUYANA

Georgetown

The vibrant character and graceful beauty of Georgetown reflects much of the city's exceptional cultural history and diversity. Designed by the Dutch (and first known as Stabroek), Guyana's capital has wide, tree-lined avenues, lily-covered canals, and many fine examples of 18th and 19th century colonial buildings. Georgetown's tropical botanical gardens, as one might expect in a country of such incredible natural beauty, are considered to be among the very best in the world. Throughout the city are colourful East Indian markets, indicative of the country's largely East Indian population. Because Georgetown lies below sea level at high tide, it is protected by an amazing masonry wall, or mole. The city is situated at the mouth of the Demerara River, one of the many rivers that flow down from the Guiana Highlands and across the coastal plain to the Atlantic.

Kaieteur and Orinduik Falls

Situated in the heart of Guyana on the Potaro River, a tributary of the great Essequibo, Kaieteur Falls is one of the world's natural wonders. Flowing over a flat, sandstone tableland into a deep gorge, Kaieteur has a single drop of 741 feet (the largest single drop waterfall in the world). It then plummets downward for another 101 feet for a total of 822 feet--five times the drop of Niagara. The unusual conditions created by the falls support a fascinating micro-environment, which includes some species identifiable only to this area. Lucky visitors may catch a fleeting glimpse of the Kaieteur Swifts, or Makonaima Birds. Swifts are the most rapid fliers among living creatures, a property that allows them to snatch up insects while on the wing. The Kaieteur Swifts nest under the vast shield of rock hidden behind the curtain of falling water.

The Orinduik Falls lie on the Ireng, a highland river that thunders over steps and terraces of jasper on the border divide with Brazil before merging with the Takutu and then heading down into Brazil to join the great Amazon. The falls are situated amid the rolling, grass-covered hills of the Pakaraima Mountains, one of the most beautiful regions of Guyana's hinterland. In contrast to the dramatic gorge at Kaieteur, Orinduik is ideally suited for swimming.

Rupununi

The Rupununi is a vast area of dry grasslands, with sparse trees, termite mounds and wooded hills in the Southwest of the country. The savannah is divided into the North and South Rupununi by the Kanuku Mountains; it is scattered with occasional Amerindian villages and a few large cattle ranches which date from the nineteenth century. Every year the rains flood the savannah. In many areas it is possible to move about only by boat during this season, allowing for exciting water tours of the Rupununi's beautiful forest areas.

The Kanuku Mountains

The Kanuku Mountains in Southwestern Guyana rise out of the grasslands to form a stunning backdrop to the Rupununi savannah. With wind-sculpted crowns rising to just below cloud level, the range is notable for its exceptionally diverse bird and mammal species--approximately 80% of the known species of mammals in Guyana are found here. The Kanukus are bisected by the Rupununi River, one of the primary tributaries of the Essequibo.

Iwokrama Rain Forest Programme

Iwokrama is located in central Guyana, between the Essequibo, Siparuni and Takutu Rivers and just north of the Rupununi savannah. Approximately 360,000 hectares of pristine rain forest have been set aside, in a pioneering effort by Guyana to demonstrate that tropical rain forests can provide social and economic benefits without compromising the ecological integrity of the forest. The town of Iwokrama is hives of activity, as a steady stream of miners pass through on the way to their claims, which lie further in the interior.

Marshall Falls

Just 35 minutes by boat from Bartica, past the ruins of the ancient Dutch Fort of Kyk-Over-Al and up the Cuyuni River, are the picturesque Marshall Falls. At the falls, visitors can bathe in a natural Jacuzzi created by the tumbling waters, talk with the locals in the nearby bush camp, or take a stroll through the surrounding rainforest. Gold dredges can sometimes be seen working in the area.

Kyk-Over-Al

Once the seat of the Dutch Government of the county of Essequibo, Kyk-Over-Al was built in 1616 to guard the junction of the Mazaruni and Cuyuni Rivers. After almost four hundred years, only the ruins of this former stronghold remain, evoking something of the spirit of Guyana's early Dutch adventurers.

Taken from:http://www.geographia.com

Doing business in GUYANA

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 and is expected to grow further in 2009.

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)[22] and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce & Industry (GCCI);[23]

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 has made debt relief a foremost priority of his administration. He has been 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.

Cost of living

The cost of living in Guyana is high. This is because most of the items used in daily life are imported with high transportation costs involved. Monopoly in some business sectors also causes higher profit booking and further raising of prices. For example, approximate prices (as of January, 2010) of gasoline (petrol) is US$ 5 per gallon,[24] and electricity prices are close to US$ 0.33 per unit.[25] A domestic gas bottle (or gas cylinder) is slightly over US$ 20.[26] Rent for average family accommodation may exceed US$ 100 per month in safe urban locations, and personal income tax, which is 33.33% (one third) of total taxable income, makes the cost of living higher.[27] An employee's salary is normally paid in Guyanese dollars (1 US dollar = 200 Guyanese dollars approx.).[28] and income tax is deducted by the employer.

Taken from wikipedia

GUYANA: useful links

www.guyana.org

www.guyana-tourism.com

www.lonelyplanet.com/the-guianas/guyana

www.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/country_profiles/1211325.stm

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