kaieteur falls in Guyana

Guyana

Guyana is in the north-east of South America. It borders the North Atlantic Ocean. Its neighbours are Suriname, to the east, Brazil, to the south and south-west, and Venezuela, to the west. Guyana has a low-lying, narrow coastal belt, hilly tropical forest and high savannah uplands. Most of its people live along the coast. 

Key facts

  • Region: Caribbean and Americas
  • Population: 779,000 (2018) 
  • Area: 215,000 square kilometres 
  • Capital: Georgetown  
  • Joined Commonwealth: 1966, following independence from Britain 
  • Commonwealth Youth Index: 28 out of 49 countries 

Secretariat support for Guyana 

Elections 

The Secretariat gave Guyana a checklist tool to help it strengthen women’s involvement in political and decision-making processes. 

The Commonwealth sent a Commonwealth Observer Group to observer the 2020 elections in Guyana.

Human rights 

In June 2018, the Secretaroat helped Guyana improve its reporting on human rights in the country under the United Nation’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. A Commonwealth-partnered event helped Guyana build skills to report to UN treaty bodies such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. 

Law making and justice 

The Secretariat helped Guyana adopt its new Civil Procedure Rules and Directions by giving training to judges, lawyers and court officials. 

The Secretariat helped Guyana draft a Public Debt Management Act. 

The Secretariat helped Guyana’s justice sector improve skills to handle cases of domestic abuse. The Commonwealth also gave training to the sector on investigating crimes related to the internet. 

Support for public institutions 

The Secretariat helped Guyana strengthen its system for internal auditing (checking the efficiency of systems and processes). The country then expanded audits to an additional 6 government ministries. 

Natural resources 

The Secretariat advised Guyana on improving profits from its petroleum sector and managing its oil resources sustainably. It helped the country design a sovereign wealth fund, to manage oil income for the public good and across generations. A law for this was passed in 2019. 

Connectivity Agenda

Guyana is a member of the Supply Side Connectivity clusters of the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda. The Connectivity Agenda is a platform for countries to exchange best practices and experiences to trade and investment and undertake domestic reform.

Guyana in the Commonwealth 

At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 1989, Guyana offered to set aside about 360,000 hectares of rainforest for research. It partnered with the Commonwealth and launched the Iwokrama Rainforest Programme in 1990. The programme investigates conservation and sustainable use of forest resources and biodiversity. 

Sir Shridath Ramphal of Guyana was Commonwealth Secretary-General from 1975 to 1990. 

Guyanese writers Pauline Melville and Mark McWatt won the overall Best First Book award of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 1991 and 2006 respectively. 

Find out more 

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