Guyana, officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, is a located on the Guyana plateau on the northern coast of South America. Having gained independence from Great Britain in 1966, Guyana is the second-least populous sovereign state in South America (after Suriname) and one of the least densely populated countries on Earth. As part of the Anglophone Caribbean, Guyana maintains strong cultural, historical, and political ties with other Caribbean countries (and serves as the headquarters for the Caribbean Community, CARICOM). The country’s ethnic heterogeneity (with ethnic groups originating from India, Africa, Europe, and China, as well as indigenous peoples) is part of its colonial heritage, but continues to inform political dynamics and periodic ethnic tensions. Informed by its ethnic diversity, low population density, and British administrative heritage, Guyana has a complex model of decentralization. While Guyana’s Constitution (1980) recognizes that local governance is a vital aspect of democracy and should be organized so as to involve as many people as possible in the task of managing and developing the communities in which they live, in practice, the autonomy and authority of different regional and local governance institutions is limited.

Subnational governance structure

Nature of subnational governance institutions

Functional assignments

LoGICA Assessments

LoGICA Intergovernmental Profile: Guyana 2023 (Excel)

Additional resources

Country sheet: Guyana. Panorama de las relaciones fiscales entre niveles de gobierno de países de América Latina y el Caribe. 2022.

Guyana Country Profile (Commonwealth Local Government Forum)

Local government country profile: Guyana (UN Women)

Handbook for Councillors of Municipalities and Neighbourhood Democratic Councils. Ministry of Communities, 2017.

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Last updated: April 6, 2024