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PM Gonsalves, photographed here at a meeting with Vincentians in Taiwan on April 22, 2011, says he will go on vacation in July.

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said on Tuesday that he would go on vacation in July after attending two important regional meetings.

Gonsalves will attend the 32nd conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community in St. Kitts from June 30 to July 4 and will then travel to Margarita, Venezuela for a meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.

“I was having two minds about going because my right knee is still acting up. … I should point out, I have a problem with my right knee. I have had it quite a while but it had subsided. I banded it about when I was a boy climbing coconut trees and playing cricket on the concrete strip and as you get older, you pay for some of these earlier sins and indiscretions,” said Gonsalves, who turns 65 on Aug. 8.

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He said he has been told that he does not need surgery, but added,  “I would take a second opinion”.

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“And, I have a problem also with my ankle,” he further said.

“The reports of my impending demise from this physical universe has been hugely exaggerated. I am feeling well and working as contentiously as ever for the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said.

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“I just want to say, after I return from St. Kitts and Venezuela, I intend to take some holidays for the first time in many, many years. I haven’t taken holidays really since I have been prime minister (since March 2001) and July is a month which is relatively slow compared to some of the other months. … If I am going to take some holidays, that is the most opportune time to do so,” Gonsalves said.

He further said that the deputy prime minister, minister of education and other government officials could handle the work necessary for the reopening of school in September.