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Government in Guyana


Guyana is a semi-presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Guyana is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly of Guyana. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

Executive authority is exercised by the president, who appoints and supervises the prime minister and other ministers. The president is not directly elected; each party presenting a slate of candidates for the assembly must designate in advance a leader who will become president if that party receives the largest number of votes. The president has the authority to dissolve the parliament, but in contrast to nearly all parliamentary regimes, the Constitution of Guyana does not provide any mechanism for parliament to replace the president during his or her term of office, except in case of mental incapacity or gross constitutional violations. This makes Guyana an "assembly-independent" regime (Shugart and Carey 1992), much like Switzerland.

Only the prime minister is required to be a member of the assembly. In practice, most other ministers also are members. Those who are not serve as non-elected members, which permits them to debate but not to vote. The president is not a member of the National Assembly but may address it at any time or have his address read by any member he may designate a convenient time for the Assembly. Under Guyana's constitution, the president is both the head of state and head of government of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.

Legislative power of Guyana rests in a unicameral National Assembly. In 2001 the make-up of the National Assembly was reformed. Now 25 members are elected via proportional representation from 10 geographic constituencies. Additionally 40 members are chosen also on the basis of proportional representation from National lists named by the political parties. The president may dissolve the assembly and call new elections at any time, but no later than five years from its first sitting.

The highest judicial body is the Court of Appeal, headed by a chancellor of the judiciary. The second level is the High Court (Guyana), presided over by a chief justice. The chancellor and the chief justice are appointed by the president. The Audit Office of Guyana (AOG) is the country's Supreme Audit Institution (SAI).


Country name : conventional long form: Cooperative Republic of Guyana

conventional short form: Guyana

former: British Guyana
Government type : republic

: name: Georgetown

geographic coordinates: 6 48 N, 58 09 W

time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions : 10 regions; Barima-Waini, Cuyuni-Mazaruni, Demerara-Mahaica, East Berbice-Corentyne, Essequibo Islands-West Demerara, Mahaica-Berbice, Pomeroon-Supenaam, Potaro-Siparuni, Upper Demerara-Berbice, Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo
Independence : 26 May 1966 (from the UK)
National holiday : Republic Day, 23 February (1970)
Constitution : 06/10/80
Legal system
: common law system, based on the English model, with some Roman-Dutch civil law influence
International law organisation participation : has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Suffrage : 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
: chief of state: President Donald Ramotar (since 03 December 2011);
head of government: Prime Minister Samuel Hinds (since October 1992, except for a period as chief of state after the death of President Cheddi Jagan on 6 March 1997)
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president, responsible to the legislature
elections: president elected by popular vote as leader of a party list in parliamentary elections, which must be held at least every five years (no term limits); elections last held on 28 November 2011 (next to be called by December 2016); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Donald Ramotar elected president, percent of vote 48.6%
Legislative branch

: unicameral National Assembly (65 seats; members elected by popular vote, also not more than 4 non-elected non-voting ministers and 2 non-elected non-voting parliamentary secretaries appointed by the president; members to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 28 November 2011 (next to be held by November 2016)
election results: percent of vote by party - PPP/C 48.6%, APNU 40%, AFC 10.3%, other 1.1%; seats by party - PPP/C 32, APNU 26, AFC 7
Judicial branch : highest court(s): Supreme Court of Judicature (consists of the Court of Appeal with a chief justice and 3 justices, and the High Court with a chief justice and 10 justices organized into 3- or 5-judge panels)
note - in 2009, Guyana ceased final appeals in civil and criminal cases to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London), replacing it with the Caribbean Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the Caribbean Community
judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal and High Court chief justices appointed by the president; other judges of both courts appointed by the Judicial Service Commission, a body appointed by the president; judges appointed for life with retirement at age 65
subordinate courts: Land Court; magistrates' courts
Political parties and leaders

: Alliance for Change or AFC [Khemraj Ramjattan];

Justice for All Party [C.N. Sharma];

A Partnership for National Unity or APNU [David Granger];

People's Progressive Party/Civic or PPP/C [Donald Ramotar];

Rise, Organize, and Rebuild or ROAR [Ravi Dev];

The United Force or TUF [Manzoor Nadir];

The Unity Party [Joey Jagan];

Vision Guyana [Peter Ramsaroop]
Political pressure groups and leaders
: Amerindian People's Association;

Guyana Bar Association;

Guyana Citizens Initiative;

Guyana Human Rights Association;

Guyana Public Service Union or GPSU;

Private Sector Commission;

Trades Union Congress
International organisation participation
Diplomatic representation in the US
: chief of mission: Ambassador Bayney Karran
chancery: 2490 Tracy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 265-6900
fax: [1] (202) 232-1297
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US
: chief of mission: Ambassador D. Brent Hardt
embassy: US Embassy, 100 Young and Duke Streets, Kingston, Georgetown
mailing address: P. O. Box 10507, Georgetown; US Embassy, 3170 Georgetown Place, Washington DC 20521-3170
telephone: [592] 225-4900 through 4909
fax: [592] 225-8497
Flag description : green, with a red isosceles triangle (based on the hoist side) superimposed on a long, yellow arrowhead; there is a narrow, black border between the red and yellow, and a narrow, white border between the yellow and the green; green represents forest and foliage; yellow stands for mineral resources and a bright future; white symbolises Guyana's rivers; red signifies zeal and the sacrifice of the people; black indicates perseverance
National symbol(s) : Canje pheasant (hoatzin); jaguar
National anthem : name: "Dear Land of Guyana, of Rivers and Plains"

lyrics/music: Archibald Leonard Lukerl/Robert Cyril Gladstone Potter

note: adopted 1966




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