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An Overview of Guyana

Size

Guyana's total area is 214,970 km² (83,000 square miles). It has 2,462 km of land boundaries with its neighbours, Brazil, Suriname and Venezuela, and a coastline of 459 km.

Population
Population density is 3.4 persons per square kilometre but most people live along the coast. At the census of 1991, Guyana's population was 723,827, comprising 355,399 males and 368,428 females. By mid-1996 it was estimated that the population had grown to 771,057.

Census 2010: Guyana with the rest of Caricom has started preparations for the 2010 round of population and housing censuses. Like the 2002 census, census 2010 will be conducted as part of the United Nations 2010 round of global population and housing censuses. The 2010 round spans the period 2005-2014.

People

The present population of Guyana consists of Africans, East Indians, Chinese, Portuguese, Europeans, Amerindians, and a mix of all of these races.

The Amerindians number 45,000 approximately and are divided into nine tribes, Arawaks, Warraus, Caribs, Wapisianas, Arecunas, Akawaios, Macusis, Patamonas, and Wai-Wais. These tribes are scattered throughout Guyana, inhabiting both forest and savannah regions. Subsistance farming, basketry and craftwork, are common to all tribes.

On the ranches in the savannah region, the Amerindians work as Vacqueiros (Cowboys), while those inhabiting the rain forest are involved mainly in gold and diamond mining and boat building.

Each tribe speaks its own dialect, and English to varying degrees, according to their contact with English speaking coast-landers. Efforts are being made to preserve their traditional customs and culture.

Languages

English is the official language of Guyana. It is the language of education, commerce and government. Hindus and Moslems ritually use Hindi, and Urdu and Arabic, respectively.

The majority of Amerindians in the hinterland still adhere to one or more of the nine recognized tribal dialects .

Creolese, a sort of patois, is quite widely used and understood. It is based on English with various borrowings from Dutch, Indian, African and Amerindian languages.

 

Government and Legal System

The Parliamentary-style Government is based on proportional representation with an Executive President and a unicameral National Assembly consisting of 53 directly elected members and 12 indirectly elected members. Under the 1980 Constitution, the country is divided into ten regions and each region has an administrative body known as the Regional Democratic Council.

The Legal System is based on Roman Dutch Law modified by British Common Law. There are Magistrates' Courts, a High Court and a Court of Appeal.

Economy
Agriculture, mining, forestry, fishing and manufacturing are the major sectors of the economy. The main agricultural exports are rice and sugar. Bauxite and gold are the major mineral exports.

 

Natural Regions

Guyana is divided into four natural regions, the low coastal belt, the hilly sand and clay region, the interior savannahs and the forested highlands.

The coastal zone is narrow and consist mainly of clay and is about 2 m below sea level. It is about 6% of the country's area and is the location where most of the administrative, agricultural, industrial and residential activities are concentrated.

The hilly sand and clay region is found just after the coastal belt, most of it is covered with vegetation, the region is known for its reserves in bauxite. This area takes up about 25% of the total area of the country and is sparsely populated, the major population centre is Linden a town of 26,000 people.

The interior savannahs account for almost 6% of the country's area and is vegetated mostly by grasses, scrub and low trees. The population there is largely made up of the Indigenous peoples living mostly in remote villages, with Lethem being the only town.

The forested highlands make up for approximately 63% of the country's landmass. There are four major mountain ranges in this region, Kanuku, Pakaraima, Imataka and Acarai. This region along with the savannahs are Pre Cambrian land forms which are very old. The soils under the forests are heavily weathered laterite and are covered by heavy forest cover

Climate

The climate in Guyana is hot, but pleasant for most of the year, particularly in the coastal belt which is cooled by the ocean breeze. The average temperature ranges between 75°F and 87°F (24°C and 31°C). The rainy season occurs in May and June, and then again in December and January, with an average annual rainfall of 91 inches (231 cm).

 

Education

The Education system is administered and supervised by the Ministry of Education. There are four levels of education:

• Nursery Programme

• Primary (Elementary School) Level

• Secondary (High School) Level

• University

 

There are also Vocational Programmes offered by institutions such as the Carnegie School of Home Economics, Guyana School of Agriculture and Government Technical Institute.

The Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) offers a two-year training programme for pre-primary and primary school teachers.

 

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