Foreign TradeAfter independence in 1966, Guyana sought an influential role in international affairs, particularly among Third World and nonaligned nations. It served twice on the UN Security Council (1975-76 and 1982-83). Former Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister, and Attorney General Mohamed Shahabuddeen was elected to a 9-year term on the International Court of Justice in 1987. Guyana's Ambasssador to the United Nations, Rudy Insanally, is unopposed for election to the Presidency of the UN General Assembly in September 1993.
Guyana has diplomatic relations with a wide range of nations. Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Cuba, North Korea, Russia, Suriname, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Venezuela maintain diplomatic missions in Georgetown. Several other nations, such as France, Germany and Japan, retain honorary consuls there. The European Community (EC), the Inter-American Bank (IADB), the UN Development Program (UNDP), and the World Health Organization (WHO) also have offices in Georgetown. In June 1993 the Organization of American States (OAS), which Guyana joined in 1991, announced plans to open an office there before the end of the year.
Guyana is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which is headquartered in Georgetown. It also is a member of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). Guyana strongly supports the concept of regional integration and is currently discussing increased ties to Trinidad and Barbados. It played an important role in the founding of CARICOM, but its status as by far the organization's poorest member limits its ability to exert leadership in regional activities. Both the Hoyte and Jagan Administrations have sought to keep Guyanese foreign policy in close alignment with the consensus of CARICOM members, especially in voting in the UN, OAS, and other international organizations.
Since ratifying in April 1993 the 1988 Vienna Convention on illicit traffic in narcotic drugs, Guyana has been a member of all the major international agreements for cooperation against narcotics trafficking, and it cooperates closely with U.S. law enforcement agencies.
Two neighbors have longstanding territorial disputes with Guyana. Since the 19th century, Venezuela has claimed all of Guyana west of the Essequibo River--62% of Guyana's territory. At a meeting in Geneva in 1966, the two countries agreed to receive recommendations from a representative of the UN Secretary General on ways to settle the dispute peacefully. Diplomatic contacts between the two countries and the Secretary General's representative are continuing. Neighboring Suriname also claims the territory east of Guyana's New River, a largely uninhabited area of some 15,000 square kilometers (6,000 sq. mi.) in southeast Guyana. Guyana regards its legal title to all of its territory as sound.
Guyanese-U.S. RelationsU.S. policy toward Guyana seeks to promote democracy, development, and human rights. During the last years of his administration, President Hoyte sought to improve relations with the United States as part of a decision to move his country toward genuine political nonalignment. Relations were also improved by Hoyte's efforts to respect human rights, his decision to invite international observers for the 1992 elections, and to change the electoral laws to ensure genuinely free and fair elections. The United States also welcomed the Hoyte government's actions to reform the economy and stimulate investment and economic growth. The coming to power of the Jagan government through democratic elections and its reaffirmation of sound economic policies and respect for human rights have placed U.S.-Guyanese relations on an excellent footing.
Following the 1992 elections, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States decided to increase their aid to Guyana. U.S. assistance had ceased in 1982 due to economic and political differences with the Burnham regime, but in 1986 the United States began to supply humanitarian food aid to the country, to a total value of $49.7 million in 1986-93. In response to the economic reforms made by the Hoyte administration and continued by the Jagan government, and as part of an international effort to reduce Guyana's debt burden and clear its arrears in repayment of debt to the multilateral banks, the United States also provided $4.4 million in Economic Support Funds (ESF) in FY 1991-93.
British, French, and United States military personnel conducted training exercises with the Guyana Defence Force in Guyana in 1993, and such exercises were expected to become a regular feature of the military cooperation between these countries. United States military medical and engineering teams have also conducted training exercises in Guyana, digging wells and providing medical treatment to the population.
The U.S. Information Agency maintains the John F. Kennedy Library in Georgetown, one of the largest and most heavily-used libraries in Guyana. USIA also arranges U.S. cultural presentations in Guyana several times a year, and provides scholarships for Guyanese students and professionals for advanced study in the United States.
Principal US OfficialsAmbassador--George F. Jones
Deputy Chief of Mission--J. Christian Kennedy
Politcal Officer--Edgar L. Embrey
Economic and Commercial Officer--Michael Heath
Labor Officer, Press and Cultural Attache--Willard Smith
The US Embassy in Guyana is located at the corner of Duke and Young Streets, Georgetown
Mail may be sent to the Embassy