(CMC) — Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves is travelling to Venezuela and possibly to Cuba for medical attention after suffering “an excruciating” pain on his right side.
Gonsalves, 75, said he received medical attention locally last Friday but was advised to do a full medical check-up.
He said his initial plan was to travel directly to Cuba, but will go to Venezuela first because of insistence “from the highest level” in Caracas.
“I wanted, by way of this medium, to indicate that I am going to be travelling to Venezuela and possibly to Cuba for medical attention,” Gonsalves said on radio, adding that he is likely to miss the visit of Britain’s royal family on Saturday.
“On Thursday night I didn’t sleep well. I had an excruciating pain on my right side, and I went into the hospital on Good Friday, was attended to and looked after quite well by local doctors and other health personnel.
“But I was advised to go and do my full check-up. I did one last year in July and I was going straight to Cuba, but the Venezuelans insisted that I come there. In fact, the insistence is from the highest level. So that’s where I am going today.
“In all probability I will miss the visit of Prince Edward, Earl of Essex, and his wife who are coming to St Vincent for one day on Saturday,” he said.
Gonsalves said that the royals are coming on behalf of The Queen, who is celebrating her Platinum Jubilee — 70 years on the throne.
“I spoke to the governor general, and I just wanted to indicate formally, this is the only place over the weekend that I can make the information known to the public. I didn’t just want to go off and persons hearing second hand,” he added.
British media this week reported a royal branding expert as saying that The Queen is turning to stalwart royals like Sophie Wessex and Princess Anne to bolster the monarchy’s image after controversy dogged Prince William and Kate’s tour of the Caribbean last month.
The visit was plagued by public relations gaffes and protests about British colonialism, which led to the endeavour being branded ‘tone deaf’ to modern sensibilities, the Daily Mail reported.
In the wake of the criticism, The Queen is reportedly turning to “relatively scandal and misstep-free” royals to drum up support for the Royal Family ahead of her Platinum Jubilee, the Daily Mail reported royal branding expert Cele Otnes as telling the Express newspaper.
According to the Daily Mail, it’s significant that the Royals are visiting the Caribbean so soon after William and Kate, as it displays quite a bit of trust in them on The Queen’s part.