BACK HOME: Labour Minister Errol McLeod welcomes Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC back to Trinidad yesterday after she visited her ailing sister in New York. —Photo courtesy Office of the Prime Minister



Rambachan says Prime Minister is fine in response to Manning on Facebook

By Anna Ramdass and Joel Julien

Minister of Works and Infrastructure Suruj Rambachan told the Express yesterday that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar was in good health and had nothing to hide.
“The Prime Minister is fine as far as I know and she is in very good health and apart from that the Prime Minister has always used the public health service,” said Rambachan.
This was in response to a query from the Express after a posting from former prime minister Patrick Manning on his Facebook page about the status of Persad-Bissessar’s health.
Persad-Bissessar returned to the country yesterday from New York after a trip made suddenly on December 27 to be with her ailing sister, Sally Ahamad. But Manning on Saturday posted a status update on his official page on Facebook comparing it to a “clever” tactic used by this country’s first prime minister Dr Eric Williams to undergo medical treatment without the nation knowing.
On Saturday night Manning wrote on his Facebook page:
“The country’s first Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams at one time became very ill, needed urgent medical attention and required to be hospitalised. On his way to the hospital he picked up one of his Ministers to accompany him,” the post read.
“They arrived at the hospital the Minister jumped out, sat in a wheel chair and Dr Eric Williams pushed the Minister into Casualty”.
“Once inside and behind closed doors the doctors proceeded to immediately work on Dr Williams. A clever move that averted public concern and diverted attention with regards to the Prime Minister’s health”,” Manning’s post stated.
“Is there not a similar situation today? People of Trinidad and Tobago open your eyes!!!” the post stated.
This status update went viral with more than 165 shares.
Over 700 people liked the status up to press time.
There were over 100 comments made.
Manning, the Member of Parliament for San Fernando East, is currently on extended leave from the House of Representatives since suffering a stroke in January 2012.
However Rambachan pointed out that even when Persad-Bissessar’s grandson fell ill with dengue he received medical attention at the San Fernando General hospital.
“The Prime Minister has always been using local health services. It would be good if Mr Manning reminds himself that he went to Cuba to receive medical services and ignored the local health sector,” he said.
“As far as I know the Prime Minister is in very good health,” he reiterated.
Attempts to contact Persad-Bissessar, who returned to the country yesterday after spending a week in New York City, USA, visiting her ailing sister, were yesterday unsuccessful.
A release from the office of the Prime Minister said that her eldest sister, Sally Ahamad, underwent surgery for “a stomach problem” .
Persad-Bissessar went to New York after learning that Ahamad was hospitalised. “Mrs Persad-Bissessar is making this visit to be at the bedside of her eldest sister Sally, who has encountered a serious medical situation and is in hospital requiring surgery. The Honourable Prime Minister is taking the time off on compassionate grounds to be close to her family at a time of great need,” a release from the Office of the Prime Minister had stated.
Persad-Bissessar returned yesterday aboard BW 425 which landed at Piarco International Airport around 6.25 a.m.
“She was met on arrival by several Cabinet Ministers, including Minister of Labour Errol McLeod who acted as prime minister in her absence,” the release from the Office of the Prime Minister stated.
Upon her return Persad-Bissessar confirmed that Ahamad underwent surgery last Thursday at Sloane Hospital in New York.
“She underwent the surgery for a stomach problem. We still do not know the full extent of her ailment, but we continue to pray for her recovery,” Persad-Bissessar is quoted as saying in the release.
“When I left her (Saturday), she was speaking, although she has been kept at the hospital. It has been a difficult time for all of us, but we continue to have faith in God,” Persad-Bissessar is quoted as saying.
Persad-Bissessar also thanked all those who have been praying for Ahamad.
Originally Persad-Bissessar planned to return to this country on Friday night but due to the snow storm in New York and the uncertainty on whether JFK International Airport would be open, she could not return until yesterday.
“Mrs Persad-Bissessar said she has been updated on all that have happened in Trinidad and Tobago during her absence,” the release stated yesterday.
“The Prime Minister has several engagements in the coming week,” the release stated.
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