Background

Situated on the north-eastern corner of South America, Guyana is the only English-speaking country on the continent. It is bordered by Brazil, Venezuela and Suriname, and blessed with an overabundance of natural resources - gold, diamonds, bauxite, rice, sugar and rare metals. Some 80% of its landmass is blanketed by pristine tropical rainforest, where hundreds of the 6,500 species of plants that flourish are sought after in faraway places for food, medicine and other uses.

Kaieteur, one of the largest and most powerful waterfalls in the world, cascades into a gorge that is resplendent with the rare harpy eagles soaring high above the forest canopy, under which dwell scarlet macaws, parrots and birds of every description, rare monkeys and frogs, river otters, tapir, peccary, capybara, deer, sloths and jaguars. It is the kingdom of nature.

Yet our greatest wealth lies in our people and our diverse cultures. Our first peoples consist of nine native Amerindian tribes – the Akawaios, Arawaks, Arecunas, Caribs, Macushis, Patomonas, Wai Wais, Wapishana, and Warraus – who inhabit the hinterland of the country. The coast is populated by people of African, Indian, Chinese, Portuguese and European descent, brought to the shores of South America under colonial rule.