Guyana Country Report
Politics is driven along ethnic lines. David Granger from A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) has been president since May 2015 in a coalition with the Alliance For Change (AFC) party, supported by the Afro-Guyanese population, many of whom had felt excluded after being in opposition for 23 years of government of the Indo-Guyanese People's Progressive Party-Civic (PPP-C). Industrial unrest is likely in the sugar and mining sectors. Venezuela claims around 70% of Guyanese territory in a mineral-rich 160,000-square-kilometre area situated west of the Essequibo River; however, interstate war risks are likely to remain low. Multiple oil discoveries in the Stabroek offshore block since 2015 will boost government revenues and foreign investment from 2020 when production begins.
The government welcomes foreign direct investment, although high levels of bureaucracy pose a constraint to doing business. It is seeking to diversify the economy in areas such as tourism and renewable energy production. Corruption also remains a problem, although the Granger government is introducing measures to address this. Additional operational risks arise primarily from natural disasters, especially flooding, and the poor state of some of the country's transport infrastructure. As plans for oil production progress, the country is developing a legislative framework for that sector.
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 moderate in its views and well-integrated into national economic, community, and political life.
Border disputes with Suriname and Venezuela are likely to continue, but neither is likely to lead to 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 in 2015 and 2016, the intensification of Venezuela's own internal political crisis makes military intervention highly unlikely.
Political polarisation increases the risk of violent unrest along ethnic lines. Industrial protests and marches are likely in the agriculture - especially sugar - and education sectors, co-ordinated by unions. The 2017 levy of VAT on a large range of goods and services has also been source of protests. Disruptive protests against mining and forestry firms in the interior are likely.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for travelers over one year of age traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission (with the exception of Argentina, Paraguay, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago).
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.
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Meningococcal Meningitis: For prolonged stays, or in case your travels will put you in close contact with a local population affected by an epidemic of the disease (for children over the age of two years).
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 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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