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Guyana - People

Guyana is called the "Land of Six Peoples" - the six ethnic groups are: Africans, Amerindians, Chinese, Europeans, Indians, Mixed Race. Ninety percent of the inhabitants live on the narrow coastal plain, where population density is more than 115 persons per square kilometer (380 per sq. mi.). The population density for Guyana as a whole is low - less than four persons per square kilometer. The government has provided free primary and secondary education since 1975.

According to the 2002 census, the total population was 751,233 people, the population density of 3.4 people per square kilometer. Among them, Indians 326,395 (43.5%), Africans 226,861 (31%), mixed race 125,669 (16.7%), Indians 68,819 (9.2%).

Emigration, particularly of skilled labor, poses a serious problem to employers in Guyana. Guyana’s net emigration rate in 2014 was estimated at 9.67 percent – the seventh highest in the world. The Private Sector Commission has reported that some university graduates are functionally illiterate and even semi-skilled workers such as masons, carpenters, and heavy duty operators are in short supply. An International Monetary Fund study in 2005 found that 89 percent of university-educated Guyanese eventually leave the country to pursue better employment options abroad; this represents the highest percentage of "brain drain" of any country. Large private sector companies report a turnover of about 20 percent to 25 percent of their workforce annually and experience difficulty in recruiting and retaining qualified employees. Skilled workers generally migrate to the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and Europe.

Guyana, one of South America’s smallest countries, had the highest suicide rate in the world in 2017, according to the World Health Organization. The revelation prompted the country’s Ministry of Health to pump millions into its Mental Health Unit, which launched a program aimed at reducing and possibly eliminating instances of attempted suicide and self-harm.

For decades, the South American country has remained among the top twenty countries with the highest suicide rates. The WHO cites deep rural poverty, alcohol abuse, low numbers of full-time psychiatrists and easy access to deadly pesticides as the leading causes of self-inflicted deaths in the country.

Indians lived in Guyana in the 9th century. The history of war, disease and other effects led to a sharp decline in the number of nine tribes in the country: Akawaio, Arawak, Arecuna, Carib, Macusi, Patamona, Wai Wai, Warrau, Wapishana.

Africans are mainly from Western Africa, the slave trade system of the victims. During the British colonial period, the slave trade was suspended in 1808, in 1834 issued a liberation bill in August, so that slaves are free, but continue to implement the 4-year apprenticeship system, slavery was eliminated. In the 19th century, about 55,000 West African blacks and African West Indies were contracted workers.

In the mid-18th century, some British and French plantation owners also developed, and in the case of shortage of labor in Africa, 30,000 workers were contracted from Portugal after 1835.

On May 5, 1838 the first batch of Indians arrived in Guyana. From 1838 to 1917, a total of 240,000 contract workers came to Guyana, mainly from the eastern part of India's northern Uttar Pradesh and Bukhari state west Bojie Pu Li language area, some from the southern Tamil and Telugu language area. Most Indians contract after the expiration of life.

On January 12, 1853 the first batch of Chinese people arrived in Guy. From 1853 to 1879, including 14,000 Guangdong and Fujian workers came to Guyana, and after the expiration of their contracts they chose to live in Guyana.

Various laws protect the rights of the indigenous community, and members have some ability to participate in decisions affecting them, their land, and resources. Rules enacted by village councils require approval from the minister of indigenous people’s affairs before entering into force. By law persons wishing to enter indigenous lands must obtain prior permission from the local village council, but most visitors traveled in these areas without a permit.

According to the most recent available data, the indigenous population constituted 10.5 percent of the total population. There were nine recognized tribal groups. Ninety percent of indigenous communities were in the remote interior. The standard of living in indigenous communities was lower than that of most citizens, and they had limited access to education and health care. Little reliable data existed regarding the situation of women and girls in indigenous communities, although indigenous women tended to face three-fold discrimination and vulnerability on the basis of gender, ethnicity, and reduced economic status.

All indigenous communities had primary schools, and as of 2012 there were 13 secondary schools in remote regions. The secondary schools had dormitories that housed students at government expense. Government programs trained health workers, who staffed rudimentary health facilities in most communities.

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Page last modified: 14-05-2017 18:32:56 ZULU