|Cooperative Republic of Guyana|
Area 215,000 sq.km. On north coast of South America. A developed coastal strip with underdeveloped, forested interior.
About 90% live on the coast.
Capital Georgetown 300,000. Urbanites 36%.
Colonial importation of labour for the sugar industry has created the present racial diversity and political tensions.
South Asian 49.4%. Predominantly rural farmers from the Indian sub-continent.
African/Eurafrican 42.7%. Dominant in government, civil service and in urban areas.
Amerindian 6.8%. The majority live in the sparsely inhabited interior. Main groups:
Carib 3.7%. 5 tribes, largest: Akwaio 3,400; Patamona 3,400; Macushi 1,400; Waiwai 1,000; Carib 520; Arecuna 500.
Arawak 1.4%. 4 tribes, largest: Arawak 4,800; Wapishana 3,700.
European/Asian 1.1%. Portuguese 6,000; Chinese 5,000; British 2,000.
Literacy 98.6%. Official languages English; Creole used by 90% of the population. All languages 13. Languages with Scriptures 1Bi 2NT 4por 6w.i.p.
Mainstays are sugar, rice, forest products and minerals. A 20-year flirtation with Marxist economics impoverished the country despite its potential. Living standards plummeted, foreign investment dried up and many of the better-educated left the country. Since 1992 there has been a gradual, but steady improvement. HDI 0.701; 99th/174. Public debt 199% of GNP. Income/person $800 (2.5% of USA).
Dutch rule 1750-1814, then British rule to independence in 1966. Both main political parties were Marxist in orientation but remain bitterly divided on racial lines. The Afro-Guyanese PM Party held power until ousted in an election in 1992. It was replaced by a largely Indo-Guyanese government which continued to slowly liberalize the economy despite its leader's continued allegiance to Marxism. Racial tension and confrontations continue. Venezuela to the west and Suriname to the east both lay claim to large parts of Guyana, which hinders economic development.
Atheism promoted until 1985, with considerable tensions between the government and the main churches. A secular state with full religious freedom since then.
1 Guyana's integrity as a state is threatened by the vociferous demands from Venezuela and Suriname on 70% of its land area and by inter-racial tensions internally. A new constitution is being prepared that is aimed at protecting human rights and promoting communal harmony. Pray that with this both the present and future governments may roll back decades of societal polarization and bring about a society that is fair to all its citizens and gives hope for the future.
2 There is a vital, vibrant, growing evangelical witness and Evangelicals are found in all levels of society. Pentecostal, charismatic and evangelical denominations and fellowships have multiplied notably the indigenous Full Gospel Fellowship, as well as the AoG and Baptists. Many of these have multi-racial congregations the only bridge in a divided society. Pray for all believers to demonstrate the power of the gospel in their unity, ethical rectitude and divine boldness.
3 Most of the Afro-Guyanans are Christian, but nominalism in many denominations is widespread, stable two-parent families rare (a legacy of the time of slavery) and syncretistic and deviant beliefs common (Obeah spiritism and witchcraft, Rastafarianism and foreign sects). Pray for life-changing renewal and revival to touch every denomination.
b) The nearly 90,000 Muslims divided between the Urdu-speaking older generation and the younger generation with ties to the Arab world and Islamist revivalism. A few have become Christians some are now Christian leaders in Guyana.
5 The Amerindian peoples are largely Christianized and predominantly Catholic but many are now becoming Pentecostals through the ministry of AoG, Church of God and the Full Gospel Fellowship. The Wesleyan Church ministers among the Patamona and Akwaio, but results have been meagre. The UFM work in the south among the Waiwai, Macushi and Wapishana has resulted in a growing, missionary-minded church. The Scriptures are being translated in Wapishana and Machusi by UFM workers and in Arawak, Akwaio and Carib by SIL translators. Pray for the development of mature churches and leadership that can retain their cultural identity and still survive the impact of modernity. Drug-resistant malaria has become a serious problem pray for the protection of Christian workers and the people.
6 Ministry among young people is vital for the development of family life and stability in society. Hopes for the future and for employment are low. AIDS is a growing menace with 3.1% of 15-49 year-olds infected. IFES has an extensive ministry with 8 full-time staff and 200 groups with some 40,000 young people at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
7 Christian missions have deeply impacted society for good. Missionary numbers have increased again with the ending of restrictions. The majority are involved in church planting, Bible translation, leadership training and specialist media ministries. Major missions: IMB-SBC (11 workers), UFM (10), BMM (8), YWAM (5).
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