French Guiana Country Report
The political environment has become less stable over the past 12 months, with a series of protests over crime and the high cost of living having taken place in March/April 2017 and then again during October 2017 when President Emmanuel Macron was visiting the territory. Although the government has agreed to provide EUR1 billion in emergency funding to the territory, the public remains dissatisfied with the state of local healthcare and education systems, as well as crime and a rise in illegal immigrants. Labour disputes and protests over public services will remain common in 2018, causing disruption to public and commercial activities.
The operational environment is adequate, although infrastructure such as transport and communications tends to be in a greater state of neglect in the interior. Unions remain powerful and further strike action is highly likely through 2017, affecting multiple sectors as a result of solidarity action. Protests involving roadblocks remain likely to block major highways for up to several days. The most important union is the Union of Guianese Workers (UTG), which is affiliated to the opposition Socialist Party of Guiana (PSG). Sectors vulnerable to strike action include education, health, and transport. Foreign investors may come across low levels of corruption, such as bribery among local government officials.
The threat of terrorism is low. The Front National de Libération de la Guyane (FNLG) has been inactive since the 1980's. As a result of several terrorist attacks in mainland France since January 2015, security around major infrastructure, including the Félix Eboué airport and the Guiana Space Centre near Kourou, has been increased by state security forces, who have also increased patrols in commercial areas. Co-operation with neighbouring Brazil and Suriname has been increased. The state of emergency in mainland France, repeatedly extended and due to expire in July 2017, does not apply to French Guiana.
The risk of civil or interstate war in French Guiana in 2018 is Low. The territorial integrity of French Guiana is guaranteed by mainland France and its considerable military resources. As a result, a minor border dispute with Suriname is unlikely to lead to conflict. Calls for independence in French Guiana are relatively muted, and civil war risks remain low despite growing social unrest over crime, the cost of living and public services. State use of force is likely to be limited to restricting illegal gold mining and logging activities, combating drug trafficking and dealing with instances of rising public disorder.
Labour strikes, solidarity protests, and demonstrations involving thousands of protesters over cost of living issues, the state of public services and rising crime will remain frequent in 2018, causing disruption to roads, airports, public services, and the European Space Agency spaceport in Kourou. Protest groups, including "500 Frères" (500 Brothers) and Pou Lagwiyann Dekole (Creole for "let Guyana take off"), have been successful in organising large-scale protests and work stoppages, causing severe disruption to public and commercial activities. There is also the potential for environmental activism to grow in strength as new gold mines are developed.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for all travelers over one year of age entering the country.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Yellow Fever: A vaccine is available for children over the age of one year.
Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
The rainy season lasts from December to July. Floods, which can disrupt ground transportation, often occur during this time.
The Northern Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June 1 to November 30. While hurricanes and tropical storms rarely hit French Guiana directly, storm systems can bring torrential rains, winds, and associated flooding and material damage to the region.
The rainy season lasts from January until June, with a peak of rain in May and a relative respite in March. Temperatures are higher in the forest than along the coastline; however, nights there are much cooler. Humidity levels are generally high along the coast where temperatures remain steady (28°C).
Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz