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Guyana Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

President David Granger’s government faced a motion of no confidence on 21 December 2018, leading the opposition People's Progressive Party-Civic (PPP-C) to demand an early general election before that scheduled for May 2020. Member party A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) of the ruling coalition with Alliance for Change (AFC) won a legal case at the Court of Appeal in March, which challenged a High Court ruling which had legitimised the motion. On 27 March, PPP-C leader Bharrat Jagdeo appealed this latest ruling at the Caribbean Court of Justice, for which it is awaiting a judgment. Granger's weak health has strengthened the PPP-C, which performed well in local elections in November 2018. PPP-C has vowed to respect ExxonMobil’s oil contract but has said that it would potentially review other contracts granted in the sector under the current government.Guyana will become a significant oil-producing country in 2020 following offshore discoveries of at least 5.5 billion barrels of oil. The government is currently updating hydrocarbons legislation, suspending the licensing of contracts for new oil blocks until early 2020. After forecast GDP growth of 3.7% in both 2018 and 2019, economic expansion is likely to accelerate to double-digit levels in 2020, with foreign investment and government revenues enjoying a substantial boost. The economic impact of energy puts Guyana at risk of inflation, currency appreciation, reduced non-energy competitiveness, and corruption. Border incidents with Venezuela are likely, especially given oil discoveries in disputed waters since 2015, but unlikely to trigger an all-out inter-state armed conflict. Despite Venezuela claiming around two-thirds of Guyanese land and maritime territory, the deterioration of Venezuela’s economy makes military intervention highly unlikely. Guyana will continue seeking ICJ resolution with Venezuela rejecting its jurisdiction and favouring UN mediation instead. There is an elevated risk of seizure by the Venezuelan Navy of oil exploration vessels and platforms operating in disputed waters.
Last update: June 8, 2019

Operational Outlook

The government welcomes foreign direct investment, although high levels of bureaucracy constrain business operations. Guyana 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. The government has said it is 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. Labour strikes, most common in the extractive sectors, are usually peaceful, with business disruption usually specific to a company. Operational risks also arise from natural disasters, especially flooding, and the poor state of some of Guyana's transport infrastructure.

Last update: May 18, 2019

Terrorism

Elevated

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.

Last update: June 21, 2019

Crime

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.

Last update: March 28, 2019

War Risks

Border disputes with Suriname and Venezuela are likely to continue, but neither is likely to lead to a broader physical conflict. Despite Venezuela claiming about two-thirds of Guyanese territory and the discovery of oil in disputed maritime territory fuelling the dispute, the intensification of Venezuela's internal political crisis makes military intervention highly unlikely. Increasing migration flows from Venezuela are likely to lead to increased allocation of Guyanese military patrols, albeit limited, on the border for combatting trafficking. There is an elevated risk of interception by the Venezuelan navy of vessels operating in disputed marine territories.

Last update: May 10, 2019

Social Stability

Elevated

There is a increased risk of anti-government protests should early elections not be held, however the impact is likely to be limited to traffic disruption in the capital Georgetown. Union-led industrial protests are likely in the agriculture – especially sugar – and education sectors. Violent protests and property damage are rare, with the most recent example being in Linden in 2012 following a government increase in electricity prices. This year, a labour strike by mining workers demanding union recognition lasted a month from February-March 2019, leading to disruption of cargo along the Berbice river. Sporadic disruptive protests against mining and forestry firms in the interior regions of Guyana are also likely.

Last update: June 20, 2019

Health Risk

Severe

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.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Very high

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.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Elevated

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.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

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.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +592
Police: 911 or 225 6411
Fire Dept.: 912
Ambulance: 913

Electricity

Voltage: 240 V ~ 60 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019