Guyana: Information on whether military or paramilitary service is a prerequisite for entrance to university, other institutes of higher learning, the civil service
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||1 September 1994|
|Citation / Document Symbol||GUY18264.E|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Guyana: Information on whether military or paramilitary service is a prerequisite for entrance to university, other institutes of higher learning, the civil service, 1 September 1994, GUY18264.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ac3838.html [accessed 2 March 2015]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
For basic information on military, paramilitary and national services in Guyana, please refer to Response to Information Request GUY0599 of 3 November 1990, which is currently available at your Regional Documentation Centre.
According to a staff member of the Guyanese embassy in Washington, DC, the Guyanese military, paramilitary and national services are voluntary (6 Sept. 1994). Although national service still exists, it is not enforced (ibid.). Unlike the Burnham years, all three services are now voluntary (ibid.). The services are not prerequisites for entrance to university, other institutions of higher learning or the civil service (ibid.).
The above information was corroborated by editors with the Catholic Standard, Catholic church weekly, and the Guyana Chronicle, a Georgetown daily owned but not controlled by the state (6 Sept. 1994; 6 Sept. 1994). The Guyana Chronicle editor added that the "bad things associated with the national service program" (such as the requirement for admission to university and other institutions of higher learning, and employment in the public service) have been rejected by the government. According to the editor, the government has not been able to eliminate the whole programme because of the racially sensitive nature of such a policy change. He noted that Afro-Guyanese are heavily employed in the military and para-military services (ibid.). The national service programme has been regarded by many as a way of assisting Afro-Guyanese to participate in the system (ibid.). For the People's Progressive Party (PPP), which promised racial harmony and tolerance during the 1988 presidential election campaigns, discarding the national service programme could be misinterpreted as racially motivated. Consequently, the government is apparently not in a hurry to abolish this programme (ibid.).
The Catholic Standard editor corroborated the information provided by the editor with the Guyana Chronicle (6 Sept. 1994). This editor added that the country is in a state of transition and it is not clear what the government intends to do with the national service program (6 Sept. 1994).
This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.
Catholic Standard, Georgetown. 6 September 1994. Telephone interview with editor.
Embassy of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Washington, DC. 6 September 1994. Telephone interview with staff member.
Guyana Chronicle, Georgetown. 6 September 1994. Telephone interview with editor.