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Co-operative Republic of Guyana

Last modified: 2020-08-08 by rob raeside
Keywords: guyana | america | arrow |
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1:2 image by Hemendra Bhola, 25 July 2020

3:5 image by Hemendra Bhola, 25 July 2020

Official Name: Co-operative Republic of Guyana
Previous Name: British Guiana
Capital: Georgetown
Flag adopted: 1966
Author: Whitney Smith
Coat of Arms adopted: 1966

See also:

Other sites:

The Flag

"The Golden Arrowhead, Guyana's National Flag has FIVE symbolic colors:
represents the agricultural and forested nature of Guyana,
symbolizes the rivers and water potential of the country,
GOLDEN arrow represents Guyana's mineral wealth,
portrays the endurance that will sustain the forward thrust of the Guyanese people,
represents the zeal and dynamic nature of nation-building which lies before the young and independent Guyana."
Dov Gutterman
, 6 January 1999

According to Album 2000 [pay00] - National Flag (CSW/--- 3:5) - On land the flag is in ratio 3:5, green with white fimbriated yellow isosceles triangle with base at hoist and top at fly end, and over it a black fimbriated red triangle with bas at hoist and top at midpoint of the flag. The fimbriations are not made along hoist edge, of course.
According to Whitney Smith, the hoist triangle should reach the midpoint of the flag (and should not be an equilateral triangle).
Željko Heimer, 27 October 2001

Although I have no correct construction sheet of the Guyana flag, I've found an interesting data in Ludvik Mucha's book "Flags and Coats of Arms". According to him, green color occupies 50% of the flag area, yellow 24%, red 16%, white 6% and black 4%. However, if the red+black triangle reaches the center of the flag, red+black should occupy 25% (not 20%), and yellow+white also 25% (not 30%) of the area.
Jan Zrzavy, 7 November 2001

I find the document at which sets out the details. However, it looks really useless since it provides no drawing or any sort of hint. All it says is the green is 50", gold 24", white 67" and the black is 1".
However, it is worth noting that this document confirms the civil ensign to be in a 1x2 ratio.
Zachary Harden, 27 November 2009

My own spec. for this flag is exactly based upon one by the late William Crampton, which was in turn taken from the brochure "Symbols of Nationhood" published on the day of independence (26 May 1966). I have seen the brochure in the Flag Institute files but unfortunately failed to take a copy.
William Crampton's specs shows the white pile to be (of course) the length of the flag whilst the apex of the black triangle touches the exact centre.  In order to show the sizes of the red and yellow triangles, the spec. gives the white and black as fimbriations equal to 3/50 the width of the flag.
My memory (such as it is) tells me that these specs are accurate to the brochure, but I don't have a copy to confirm.
Christopher Southworth, 28 November 2009

I have spent considerable time researching the national flag. One of my longest projects was the Guyana flag itself - specifically
the layout and colours. We have to start with a few disadvantages:
1. There is no actual construction sheet, and even the Schedule to the Constitution which describes the flag does not provide one.
2. The country has had to contend with whatever electronic images of the flags are made by users outside the country, so images which are used on websites can’t be said to be authoritative given that the sites only use what is already there.
3. The color discrepancy between locally manufactured flags (which involve stitching each color together) and imported flags which often follow widely circulated images of the flag online.

In my research, rather than depend on flags already online, I depended on:
1. A locally made flag I purchased in Guyana and have had in my possession for over 10 years now.
2. My recollection of the locally made flags I observed flying from flagpoles at various institutions and even from local ships and
3. A scan of the approved flag in 1966 obtained from the College of Arms.
4. An image of the first flag raising ceremony at Independence Day 1966 (grey-scale photo).
5. The original Constitution Amendment Act (Act No. 6 of 2001) which added the description of the flag to the schedule of the constitution (black and white scan).

I used numbers 1, 2, and to some extent 3 for the determination of the closest approximate colours AND numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 to determine the closest proportional sizing of the black and white fimbriations to the rest of the flag.

Based on the above, I have found:
1. The colours on the flag are less fluorescent than widely seen online.
2. The gold is deeper and more vibrant. This is critical as the flag identifies this color as Gold. While some may argue that in heraldry
there is no difference, the distinction was made in regards to the Guyana flag on approval and the incorrect usage of yellow can be said to have contributed to incorrectly colored flags - especially those with an almost safety vest yellow.
3. The green is in a mid position - its not very dark nor can it be said to be light.
4. The red is slightly deeper but not overly dark.

1. All of the examples demonstrated that the fimbriations are not as wide as generally portrayed.
2. While there are slight variations in regards to the observed locally made flags, the scan from the College of Arms, the Constitution Amendment Act, and even the image of the independence flag raising in 1966 these variations are minute of each other and do not support the current belief that the fimbriations are as wide as commonly drawn.
Hemendra Bhola, 25 July 2020

The closest approximate colours are:

Hemendra Bhola, 25 July 2020

An approximate construction being (also applicable for 3:5 by modifying B and C to 25 and 50 respectively and keeping the remaining measurements):

image by Hemendra Bhola, 25 July 2020

Another fact I came across from a video of independence days, was a segment on the design of the flag. In an interview with one of the members of the design committee, she noted that the committee liked Smith’s arrangement, but solicited other colours to substitute using the Smith design. In the end the committee opted to keep Smith’s design and reverse the red and green. It was then noted that on presenting this to one of the artists on the committee they remarked that they didn’t see anything symbolic of the waters and rivers. The white was then added and to balance it out black was added as well. The design was given a name and symbolism attached to the colours, and was then sent to the College of Arms.
     So we now know that the black and white were never added by the college.
Hemendra Bhola, 25 July 2020

The Original Design

image by Kazutaka Nishiura, 03 March 2014

The black and white fimbriations were not in Whitney Smith's original design, but were added by the English College of Arms. Can't see why, as the flag wasn't disobeying the colour-on-colour/metal-on-metal rule before (it does now!).
Roy Stilling, 1 October 1996 and 14 May 1997

The current flag of Guyana was designed in 1962 by an American, Mr. Whitney Smith, and was the result of an international competition held by the then government. (The year 1962 was expected to be "Independence Year"). The design was NEVER CHANGED by the new government which took office in December 1964. This flag of Guyana, since 1966, became known as the "Golden Arrowhead."
Amb. Odeen Ishmael, Guyana Embassy - Washington DC, 18 December 2000

In DK's Complete Flags of the World (1999) [udk99] I read: 'The original design had a red field, but this was altered by the College of Arms (in England) in 1966, which also added the black and white fimbriations.' That is corroborated in Crampton's FOTW (1990) [cra90i] and by Roy Stilling.
Jarig Bakker, 18 December 2000

Just a clarification: "The original design had a red field" - I assume it means: 'green triangle on yellow arrow on red field' and not 'red triangle on yellow arrow on red field'.
Ole Andersen, 18 December 2000

Flags in Use

1) image by André Pires Godinho, 1 June 2003

2) image by André Pires Godinho, 1 June 2003

I saw a picture of Georgetown in the day of the independence of Guyana, in this picture is showed two flags, I don't know if these flags are still in use, but these flags are a more used in this commemoration than the national one.
The first is the national flag with an extension in white, the size of the extension is approximately 1/2 of the national flag
The second is a flag with three horizontal stripes in the colors red, yellow and green with black and white fimbriations between the stripes.
So this is the ask...someone know the use or the meaning of these flags?
André Pires Godinho, 1 June 2003

As to the second: My guess is that it is an inexpensive, easily sewn celebratory flag which displays the national colors. The arrowhead design is striking, but not easily stitched at home. People without a copy of the national flag might have elected to create the horizontal design which is easy to assemble with a sewing machine.
Al Kirsch, 1 June 2003

National Flag at the London 2012 Olympics

The protocol manual for the London 2012 Olympics (Flags and Anthems Manual London 2012 [loc12]) provides recommendations for national flag designs. Each NOC was sent an image of the flag, including the PMS shades, for their approval by LOCOG. Once this was obtained, LOCOG produced a 60 x 90 cm version of the flag for further approval. So, while these specs may not be the official, government, version of each flag, they are certainly what the NOC believed the flag to be.
For Guyana: PMS 032 red, 109 yellow, 355 green and black. The vertical flag is simply the horizontal version turned 90 degrees clockwise.
Ian Sumner, 10 October 2012

The National Pledge

The Guyana National Pledge, as reproduced on the TUF website, mentions the national flag (in the first position):
"I pledge myself to honour always the flag of Guyana, and to be loyal to my country, to be obedient to the laws of Guyana, to love my fellow citizens, and to dedicate my energies towards the happiness and prosperity of Guyana."
Ivan Sache, 29 September, 2007

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