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bodies created by the Dutch remained in operation under British rule for another century. In 1831 the three Colonies merged to become British Guiana.


A new Constitution with universal adult suffrage at the age of 21, twoChamber Legislature and a ministerial system was introduced in 1953 and a General Election was held, at which the People's Progressive Party (P.P.P.) won a majority. Later in 1953, Her Majesty's Government suspended the Constitution in circumstances which were subsequently analysed in a report by a Constitutional Commission consisting of Sir James Robertson, Govo, GCMG, KBE, Sir Donald Jackson (then Chief Justice of the Windward and Leeward Islands) and Mr George Woodcock, CBE (then Assistant General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress).

After the Commission's report was published in November 1954 Her Majesty's Government accepted its recommendation for a period of “marking time" in the advance towards self-government. In the meantime the Colony continued to be administered in accordance with the British Guiana (Constitution) (Temporary Provisions) Order in Council of 22 December, 1953, which provided for an Executive Council of three ex officio Members and not more than seven Nominated Members; and a Legislative Council of a Speaker, the same three ex officio Members and not more than twenty-four Nominated Members.

Constitutional changes were introduced by the British Guiana (Constitutional) (Temporary Provisions) (Amendment) Order in Council 1956, providing for a Legislative Council of not more than 28 Members (excluding the Speaker) comprising three ex officio Members, not less than 14 Elected Members and not more than 11 Nominated Members. At the first election held under the amended constitution in August 1957 the number of Elected Members was 14, and six other Members were nominated by the Governor.

As a result of a resolution passed by the Legislative Council in June 1958, a Constitutional Conference was convened in London in March 1960. Following the decisions of this Conference, the British Guiana (Constitution) Order in Council, 1961 was passed, providing for a new constitution giving full internal self-government to British Guiana.

The new constitution, which came into effect on 18th July 1961, provided for a bi-cameral Legislature—a Legislative Assembly of 35 members, elected by universal adult suffrage, and a nominated Senate of 13 members, eight appointed on the advice of the Premier, three after consultation with such persons as could speak for the differing political views of opposition groups in the Assembly, and two by the Governor in his discretion. The life of the legislature was to be for four years unless dissolved before. The Legislative Assembly was presided over by a Speaker who was not a member of the Assembly. The Senate was presided over by a President chosen by members from among their own number.

The Council of Ministers, consisted of a Premier and not more than nine other Ministers and the Governor was required to exercise all his powers in accordance with the advice of the Council except where otherwise expressly stated (the notable exception being defence and external affairs).

In the elections under the new constitution held on 21st August 1961, the People's Progressive Party under Dr Cheddi Jagan obtained twenty seats and formed a government.

In January 1962, Her Majesty's Government announced its willingness to


hold a Constitutional Conference to discuss the date and arrangements to be made for the achievement of independence by British Guiana. The Conference was held in October but was unable to reach agreement and was adjourned to allow for further discussions between the parties in British Guiana. Since these discussions did not lead to agreement the Secretary of State reconvened the Conference in 1963.

At the resumed Conference the Leaders of the three parties reported that they had failed to reach agreement between themselves on the terms of a constitution for independence and asked the British Government to settle on its own authority all the outstanding political issues. The then Secretary of State for the Colonies (the Right Honourable Duncan Sandys, MP) announced his decisions on 31st October 1963 at the closing session of the Conference. The most important item was that elections would be held on a new basis as soon as possible under a system of proportional representation.

In spite of renewed disturbances in the course of 1964 the elections were duly held under the proportional representation system in December 1964 as a result of which Mr L. F. S. Burnham, Leader of the People's National Congress (P.N.C.), formed a Government in coalition with the United Force (U.F.).

A final Constitutional Conference was held in London in November 1965 when agreement was reached on the outline of a Constitution under which British Guiana should become independent under the name of Guyana on 26th May 1966 (Cmnd. 2849, December 1965). The Leader of the People's Progressive Party (P.P.P.), Dr Cheddi Jagan declined to attend the Constitutional Conference or to be associated with its conclusions.

The British Parliament gave effect to the decisions of the Constitutional Conference in the Guyana Independence Act (1966 Ch. 14) of 12th May 1966. The Act gave power to provide a constitution for Guyana by Order in Council. An Order in Council was accordingly made on 16th May 1966 (S.I. 1966 No. 575) containing in a Schedule the Constitution of Guyana. The country became independent on 26th May 1966, and became a Republic within the Commonwealth on 23rd February 1970.


The Constitution provides for a uni-cameral Legislature, which is referred to throughout the Constitution as the National Assembly but is now more usually known simply as Parliament. Members of Parliament are elected under a system of proportional representation by which those qualified to vote may cast a single vote in favour of lists of candidates. The seats in Parliament are then allocated between the lists in proportion to the numbers of votes cast. There is universal adult suffrage.

The normal life of Parliament is five years. The Cabinet consists of the Prime Minister, who must be an elected Member of Parliament and such other Ministers as the President, acting on the advice of the Prime Minister, may appoint. Provision is made for the appointment of up to four Ministers who have not been elected. Such Ministers become Members of Parliament but have no right to vote.

There is an office of Leader of the Opposition to which appointments are made by the President. The Prime Minister is required to consult the Leader of the Opposition before advising the President on certain senior appointments.

The Independence Constitution provided for a Governor-General to be appointed by the Queen but also gave Parliament the power after 31st December 1968 to declare Guyana a Republic if Parliament by a simple majority of all elected members passed a resolution to that effect. The motion that Guyana should become a Republic was adopted by Parliament on 29th August 1969, and the Republic was inaugurated on 23rd February 1970. Mr Arthur Chung was elected first President on 17th March 1970 for a six-year term.

There is a Court of Appeal and High Court. The Judges of the Court of Appeal are the Chancellor, who is President, the Chief Justice and such number of Justices of Appeal as Parliament prescribes. The Judges of the High Court are the Chief Justice and such number of Puisne Judges as Parliament prescribes. The Constitution provides for an Ombudsman to investigate actions taken by Government departments or other authorities.

The Constitution also contains provisions relating to human rights, citizenship, the functions of the executive, Parliamentary procedure and elections, and procedures for appointments in the Judicature, Public Service and Police. Parliament has power to alter the Constitution but certain provisions are entrenched.


Sir Richard Luyt, GCMG, KCVO, DCM, 26th May 1966 to 31st October 1966
Sir Kenneth Stoby, Ist November 1966 to 15th December 1966 (Acting)
Sir David Rose, GCMG, CVO, MBE, 16th December 1966 to 10th November 1969
Sir Edward Luckhoo, QC, 11th November 1969 to 22nd February 1970 (Acting)

His Excellency Mr Arthur Chung
(Assumed office on 17th March 1970)


At the elections in December 1968 the People's National Congress (P.N.C.) won 30 seats, the People's Progressive Party (P.P.P.) 19 seats and the United Force (U.F.) 4 seats.

Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs, Defence, Economic Development,

Local Government and the Public Service: The Hon. L. F. S. Burnham
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance: Dr the Hon. P. A. Reid
Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources: The Hon. R. J. Jordan

Minister of Communications: The Hon. M. Kasim

Minister of Home Affairs: The Hon. H. D. Hoyte
Minister of Labour and Social Security: The Hon. W. G. Carrington

Minister of Education: The Hon. Miss S. Field-Ridley

Minister of Trade: The Hon. B. Ramsaroop
Minister of Housing and Reconstruction: The Hon. David Singh
Attorney-General and Minister of State: The Hon. S. S. Ramphal

Minister of Information and Culture: The Hon. M. W. Carier
Minister of Works, Hydraulics and Supply: The Hon. M. Green

Minister without Portfolio: The Hon. H. O. Jack
Minister of Health : Dr The Hon. S. E. Talbot

Ministry of Local Government: P. Duncan
Ministry of Finance: J. G. Joaquin, OBE, JP

Ministry of Works and Hydraulics: W. Haynes
Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources: A. Salim

Office of the Prime Minister: J. R. Thomas

Ministry of Local Government: V. Mingo

Dr C. B. Jagan

Speaker: (to be appointed)

Deputy Speaker: 0. E. Clarke
Clerk of the Legislature: F. A. Narain

President The Chancellor:
Members The Chief Justice:

Justices of Appeal:

Court of Appeal
The Hon. E. V. Luckhoo, QC
The Hon. Harold B. S. Bollers
Mr Justice P. A. Cummings, Mr Justice V. E. Crane,
Mr Justice G. L. B. Persaud

High Court

The Chief Justice
Mr Justice Akbar Khan

Mr Justice F. Vieira
Mr Justice G. A. S. Van Sertima Mr Justice K. M. George
Mr Justice D. Jhappan

Mr Justice R. M. Morris
Mr Justice C. J. E. Fung-a-Fatt Mr Justice J. Gonsalves-Sabola
Mr Justice H. Mitchell

K. Barnwell


Head of the Civil Service and Permanent

Secretary, Ministry of the Public Service: Permanent Secretary: F. Noel
E. E. Burke (Acting)

Chief Agricultural Officer: B. W. Carter Permanent Secretary (Economic Develop- (acting) ment): B. Crawford

Director of Geological Survey: Dr S. Singh Permanent Secretary (External Affairs): Conservator of Forests: L. E. Dow

R. E. Jackson (acting)
Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister:


Permanent Secretary: G. A. Marshall Chief of Staff, Guyana Defence Force: Chief Works and Hydraulics Officer: Col. C. A. L. Price

P. Allsopp (Acting)
Public Relations Officer: F. Pilgrim


Permanent Secretary: L. E. Mann
Permanent Secretary: D. E. Shepherd
Commissioner of Police: C. E. B. Austin

Director of Prisons: H. A. Davis

Permanent Secretary: N. L. Franker Chief Fire Officer: E. A. Spellen

Chief Medical Officer: R. L. S. Baird (acting) MINISTRY OF FINANCE

MINISTRY OF HOUSING Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the

Permanent Secretary: V. J. Correia Treasury: H. O. E. Barker

MINISTRY OF LABOUR Deputy Secretary of the Treasury: S. A.

Permanent Secretary: C. E. Douglas

Chief Labour Officer: L. A. Dyal
Controller of Customs and Excise: S. L.

Director of Audit: R. P. Farnum

Permanent Secretary: M. Spencer
Accountant General: S. Seymour (Acting)
Commissioner of Inland Revenue: W. R. ATTORNEY-GENERAL'S CHAMBERS

Solicitor-General: M. Shahabuddeen

SERVICE COMMISSIONS Permanent Secretary: T. B. Richmond

Chairman, Public Service Commission:

W. G. Stoll

Chairman, Judicial Service Commission: Permanent Secretary: D. Yankana

E. V. Luckhoo General Manager, Transport & Harbours Chairman, Police Service Commission: Dept.: J. W. Evelyn

W. G. Stoll
Director of Civil Aviation: E. A. Phillips Chairman, Elections Commission: Sir

Donald Jackson
Permanent Secretary: W. D. Agard

Chief Education Officer: G. 0. Fox

G. S. S. Gillette

GUYANESE REPRESENTATIVES IN OTHER J. A. Stiles; Trinidad and Tobago: Eric

Murray; India: D. Hejmadi; Jamaica: Ivo
High Commissioner in the United Kingdom: De Sousa, O BE (resident in Port of Spain);
John Carter, sc

Pakistan: (vacant). High Commissioner in Canada: R. B. Gajraj (resident in Washington)

GUYANESE REPRESENTATIVES IN High Commissioner in Barbados, Jamaica

NON-COMMONWEALTH COUNTRIES and Trinidad, and Commissioner to the United States: R. B. Gajraj Associated States: Mrs W. Gaskin Germany; France; Netherlands: John Carter (resident in Kingston).

sc (resident in London)

Venezuela: Dr Ann Jardim

Surinam (Consul-General): W. D. R. Kendall

United Nations: P. Thompson
Britain: W. S. Bates, CMG, Canada: Brazil: E. Drayton

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INDIA INDIA is bounded to the north-west by West Pakistan, to the north by Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim, and to the north-east by East Pakistan, China and Burma; Ceylon lies off the south-east coast. India also includes the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal and the Laccadive Islands off the south-west coast. The mainland can be divided into three well-defined regions: (a) the mountain zone of the Himalayas; (b) the Indo-Gangetic Plain and (c) the Southern Peninsula. The main mountain ranges are the Himalayas in the north (over 29,000 ft), the Aravallis and Vindhyas (up to 4,000 ft) in central India, and the Western and Eastern Ghats (over 8,000 ft). The most important rivers are the Ganges, Jumma, Brahmaputra, Indus, Godavari, Krishna, Mahanadi, Nerbudda and Cauvery which are all navigable in parts.

There are four distinct seasons:(i) the cold season (December-March); (ii) the hot season (April-May); (iii) the rainy season (June-September); and (iv) what is known as the season of the retreating S.W. monsoon (October-November). The mean temperatures range at Delhi from 50°F to 92°F, at Calcutta from 65°F to 86°F and at Madras from 75°F to 89°F Maximum temperatures of about 100°F. and 115°F. are reached during May in Madras and Delhi respectively. Annual rainfall varies widely; as little as four inches falls in the Thar desert, but parts of Assam experience more than 300 inches.

India is the world's second most populous country. A census is taken every ten years and at the time of the 1961 census the population was estimated to be 439 million, an increase of 20 per cent during the previous decade. The estimate for 1969 was 537.2 million, an increase of 22.8 per cent since 1961. The birth rate is about 39 per 1,000 (1968 figure), and the death rate about 12 per 1,000 (1967). The numbers of adherents to the main religions practised in India at the time of the census were: Hindus 366,500,000; Muslims 47,000,000; Christians 10,725,000; Sikhs 7,850,000; Buddhists 3,250,000 and Jains 2,000,000. Primary education is free but not yet universal. In the year 1964/65 there were 25,295,000 secondary school students. About 24 per cent of the population was literate according to the 1961 census, but estimates for 1968/69 showed about 78 per cent of children receiving some primary education. For further information about India see India, a Reference Annual, published by the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. An outline of the history and constitutional development of the Indian sub-continent prior to August 1947 may be found in the Commonwealth Office Year Book, 1967.

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