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Guyana Country Report

Country Risk Level

Medium

Overview

Executive Summary

Mohammed Irfaan Ali, presidential candidate of the People’s Progressive Party-Civic (PPP-C), was sworn in on 2 August as the ninth president of Guyana following the declaration of results by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). Results showed that the PPP-C had gained 33 out of 65 seats in parliament and that the former ruling coalition A Partnership For National Unity-Alliance For Change (APNU-AFC), led by Joseph Harmon, had secured 31 seats. The declaration came after five months of repeated challenges to the results by the APNU-AFC coalition. Although former president David Granger has accepted GECOM’s result declaration, he has also stated that he will continue to “challenge the declared results lawfully, peacefully, and purposefully”.Guyana’s economy is expected to grow by 25.23% in 2020, a forecast that incorporates the newest oil production forecast, the impact from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus, and the sharp drop in global oil prices. Guyana has exported 13.28 million barrels of oil as of end-June 2020; oil output is estimated to grow from 93,000 barrels per day (b/d) in 2020 to 400,000 b/d by 2024. The PPP-C is likely to continue to focus on maintaining the competitive nature of Guyana’s oil sector and attracting foreign investment. However, it has also said that it will renegotiate contracts made with the last administration to ensure more favourable terms for Guyana. This is likely to primarily affect the oil and gas, and mining sectors.Border incidents with Venezuela are likely, especially following oil discoveries in disputed waters since 2015, but are unlikely to trigger an inter-state armed conflict. Despite Venezuela claiming around two-thirds of Guyanese land and maritime territory, Venezuela’s deteriorating economy makes military intervention highly unlikely. There is an elevated risk of seizure by the Venezuelan Navy of oil-exploration vessels and platforms operating in disputed waters.

Operational Outlook

The government welcomes foreign direct investment, however 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 ruling PPP/C party has committed to introducing a new local content policy in this sector and has also promised to reopen sugar estates closed by the previous APNU-AFC led administration. 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.

Terrorism

Low

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 involving explosions of fuel tanks at John F Kennedy International Airport in New York in 2007. The mainly Indo-Guyanese Sunni Muslim community makes up just over 7% of Guyana's population and is generally well-integrated economically.

Crime

There is a high level of crime in the capital Georgetown. Increased internal local marijuana trafficking has increased violent and petty crime. A high proportion of murders, however, 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.

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 fueling the dispute, the intensification of Venezuela’s internal political crisis makes military intervention highly unlikely. In September 2020 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Guyana and the two countries announced that they would be launching joint military patrols along the Guyana-Venezuela border as well as joint maritime patrols. This is nonetheless unlikely to significantly escalate the conflict.

Social Stability

High

There is an increased risk of protests following electoral fraud allegations about the March 2020 general election, especially in opposition Indo-Guyanese People's Progressive Party–Civic (PPP–C) strongholds nationwide in the form of roadblocks. There is a moderate risk of confrontations between ethnic groups, but overall protests are unlikely to force Granger to step down. A ruling from the High Court leading to a PPP victory through a recount would signal increased risks of arson attacks, looting, and property damage against Indo-Guyanese businesses in Guyana, particularly involving Indo-Guyanese and Chinese-owned shops on Robb and Regent street roads in Georgetown.

Health Risk

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.

Natural Risks

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.

Transportation

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.

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:

Risk Level
Critical High Medium Low Minimal