(pronounced "bar-RAHT JAG-day-oh")
"I know that there are tens of thousands of patriotic Guyanese from all walks of life who are prepared to put their shoulders to the wheel to build a happy tomorrow."
The Republic of Guyana is situated on the northeastern shoulder of South America. The only English-speaking country on the continent, it is bound on the west by Venezuela, on the east by Suriname, and on the south and southwest by Brazil. Guyana occupies an area of approximately 214,970 sq km (83,000 sq mi). Its capital city and major port, Georgetown, is on the Atlantic coast.
The population of Guyana in 2002 was estimated at 698,209, a decline from over 700,000 in 2000 that takes into account a high death rate due to an AIDS epidemic in the country. Its racial composition includes East Indians (50%), blacks (36%), Amerindians (7%), Chinese and mixed races (7%). Both the Afro-Guyanese and the Indo-Guyanese were brought to the country by the Europeans to work on sugar plantations. The Afro-Guyanese arrived as slaves. The Indo-Guyanese, Chinese, and Portuguese came after slavery had been abolished and worked as indentured servants. The official language is English, although derivatives of Amerindian dialects, Hindu, and Urdu are spoken as well. Among Amerindians, the Warrau, Arawak, and Carib languages are spoken. The major religions are Christianity (50% of the population), Hinduism (35%), and Islam (10%).
The economy is based primarily on exporting sugar, gold, bauxite, alumina, rice, shrimp, molasses, rum, and timber. Agricultural activity is concentrated along the coastal belt where most of the population resides. Extensive timber resources in the tropical hinterland remain largely untouched. The local currency is the Guyanese dollar.
Office of the President
New Garden Street and South Road