Guyana Country Report
The government welcomes foreign direct investment, although high levels of bureaucracy constrain business operations. It is seeking to diversify the economy in areas such as tourism and renewable energy production, and to train the workforce for the emerging oil sector. In 2018, the government said it was planning infrastructure development on former sugar estate lands to accommodate the 200,000 expatriates who are likely to return to Guyana to work in the oil sector. Operational risks also arise from natural disasters, especially flooding, and the poor state of some of the country’s transport infrastructure.
Terrorism risks by transnational groups are low, and transnational crime is limited to extortion and armed robbery by Venezuelan gangs on border areas. There is a low risk of Islamist terrorism based in or directed from Guyana, despite the implication of a group of Guyanese men in an alleged plot to blow up fuel tanks at John F Kennedy International Airport in New York in 2007, there is a low risk overall of Islamist terrorism based in or directed from Guyana. The mainly Indo-Guyanese Sunni Muslim community makes up just over 7% of Guyana's population and is generally well-integrated into national economic, community, and political life.
There is a high level of crime in the capital Georgetown. Increased internal local marijuana trafficking has increased violent and petty crimes. Shootings, lootings, rape, kidnapping, and murder are the most common violent crimes reported; a high proportion of murders are associated either with domestic violence or with small-scale gold mining. Pick-pocketing, purse-snatching, car-jacking, assault, and theft are commonplace in all core urban centres, with armed robberies having become common. Foreigners are often the victims of theft because of their perceived wealth, but foreign businesses are not specifically targeted for criminal activity.
Border disputes with Suriname and Venezuela are likely to continue, but neither is likely to lead to a broader physical conflict. Relations with Suriname have improved considerably in recent years. Despite Venezuela claiming around two-thirds of Guyanese territory, and the discovery of oil in disputed maritime territory fueling the dispute since 2015, the intensification of Venezuela's own internal political crisis makes military intervention highly unlikely. Increasing migration flows from Venezuela are likely to lead to increased allocation of Guyanese military patrols on the border for the purposes of combatting transnational crime. However, this is unlikely to raise inter-state war risks.
Vaccines required to enter the country
Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travelers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease; it should be taken ten days in advance to be fully effective.
Vaccines recommended for all travelers
Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).
Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is generally recommended for travelers over nine months of age.
Vaccines recommended for most travelers
Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.
Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).
Vaccines recommended for some travelers
Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.
Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).
Malaria: There is currently no malaria vaccine. However, various antimalarial prophylactics are available by prescription and can reduce risk of infection by up to 90 percent. Different medications are prescribed depending on the risk level and the strains of the virus present in the destination. Antimalarial tablets need to be taken throughout the trip to be effective and may need to be taken for as long as four weeks following the trip.
The country is often subjected to torrential rains, with the potential to result in flooding in coastal areas. The main rainy seasons occur in December-January and May-June, although heavy rains can strike year-round.
While direct hits are rare, Guyana can be affected by tropical storm systems during the Atlantic hurricane season, which officially runs from June 1 to November 30.
The main coastal roads are paved, but the coastal road system is not continuous - i.e. there are not always bridges over rivers, necessitating travelers' use of ferries. Ferry services also link Guyana with neighboring Suriname. There are no passenger rail services in operation. Much of the interior of the country is only accessible by plane or boat. More information regarding the state of transportation infrastructure is available here. Drivers should be aware that Guyana suffers from high rates of road accidents due to poor driving habits, non-enforcement of traffic laws, and the poor conditions of many roads.
To augment personal security, do not use public transportation; taxi services can be used if referred by major hotels or tourism officials.
There is little tourist infrastructure and few hotels located outside the capital.
Short-term power outages are relatively common in the country.
Guyana's climate is hot and humid with humidity rates often approaching 100%. Temperatures remain relatively constant throughout the year with the hottest temperatures recorded in inland areas far from the coastline, where nights are cool (14°C). It rains more in the north (coastal regions) than in the south (savanna). The rainy season lasts from May until July along the coasts and until September inland; there is a second rainy season along the coast from November until January.
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