The country's underdeveloped and decaying infrastructure
seriously handicapped Guyana's economy. Many of the basic
facilities and services that were taken for granted even in other
developing countries were either never present in Guyana or had
deteriorated by the late 1980s. This absence of basic
infrastructure meant that the country's economic recovery would
have to begin at the most fundamental levels. No reform of Guyana's
productive sectors was possible without a significant level of
investment in electricity, transportation, communications, the
water system, and seawalls.
The unreliable supply of electricity in Georgetown and
throughout Guyana was "the single most debilitating infrastructural
inadequacy," according to Minister of Finance Carl Greenidge. The
United States Embassy reported that the lack of electricity in the
Georgetown area was a leading factor in emigration from Guyana.
Blackouts of sixteen hours per day were common in 1989-90.
Improving the electrical system was a government priority
(see Energy Supply
, this ch.). Other infrastructural problems also
blocked economic development. The poor road system, for example,
made it difficult to transport bauxite and blocked efforts to
, this ch.).
Data as of January 1992