I am a relatively small country (83,000 sq. miles) with a population of about 770,000. I am the only country on my continent whose official language is English. I received my independence from the United Kingdom in 1966 and became a Republic in 1970. One can feel the British influence because we drive on the left side of the road. My currency is the dollar but not the US one. My name comes from an Indian word meaning “land of many waters”. Originally there were 9 tribes scattered across the country. The most mentioned being the Arawak and the Carib tribes. Today the largest ethnic groups are East Indian (43%), Black African (30%), Mixed (17%), and Amerindian (9%). I am divided into 5 natural regions. A narrow and fertile marshy plain along the coast where most of my population lives; a white sand belt more inland contains most of my mineral deposits; the dense rainforests in the southern part of the country; the desert savannah in the southwest; and the interior lowland which actually consists mostly of mountains. My highest mountain is Mount Roraima at 9,219 feet above sea level and my longest river is the Essequibo at 628 miles. My climate is tropical and generally hot and humid, but northeast trade winds along the coast help to moderate the temperature. I have one of the largest unspoiled rainforests in the world. In 2012, I received a $45 million reward from Norway to help protect the rainforest. I am divided into 10 regions; the largest is Demerara-Mahaica. One of my proposed UNESCO World Heritage Sites is Kaieteur National Park. Kaieteur Falls is the world’s largest single-drop waterfalls by volume. I have one of the world’s highest levels of biodiversity including 1,168 vertebrate species and 1,600 bird species. Some of my animal life includes the jaguar, giant anteater, Saki monkey, and the scarlet macaw. My main economic activities are agriculture, bauxite mining, gold mining, timber, and shrimp fishing. The sugar industry accounts for 28% of all export earnings. Nearly 57% of my people are Christians, 28% are Hindus, and 7% are Muslims. Of my 4,950 miles of highway only 367 miles are paved. I have only one International Airport. My water and sanitation system is in serious need of repair and expansion. Life expectancy is 67 years for both men and women. Malaria is the leading cause of death. The mortality rate is 5 per 100,000 people. Basic health services are limited particularly in the interior of the country. My educational system is improving, but it does not train sufficient students in science and technology, technical and vocational subjects, business management, or computer science. This is due in large part to the emigration of trained teachers to other countries over the last 2 decades. Cricket and soccer are my major sports. I hosted the 2007 Cricket World Cup at the new 15,000 seat Providence Stadium. One of my writers is E. R. Braithwaite who wrote To Sir, With Love. One of my unique food preparations is Pepperpot, a stew of Amerindian origin made with cassareep (a bitter extract of cassava), hot pepper, and seasoning. Another specialty is called Cookup Rice which includes peas or beans and rice. Who am I?
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