KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says that he will travel outside of the Caribbean during his three-week vacation, which begins Friday, July 8, his first since 2005.
Gonsalves did not say where he was going when he spoke to reporters on Thursday but said, “I will be taking, really for the first time, a proper vacation”.
Gonsalves, who came to office in March 2001, spent 10 days at the Mount St. Benedict monastery in Trinidad in 2005, ahead of the December elections.
“It may amount to missing what you may call 16 working days,” Gonsalves said of this vacation
“I have chosen to take a vacation because I wanted to recharge my batteries a little. We all have to. In fact, about two weeks ago when I was approving [my Press Secretary] Hans King’s annual vacation of three weeks, I said to myself, ‘But really, I am approving everybody’s holidays and I am not going on any myself.’
“Of course, that’s not anybody’s fault; that’s my fault because I make the determination as to whether I go or not. But I want to go and just take a period of rest and the best time for me to do it, I think, is July.”
Gonsalves said that July “is a slow month” for governmental business, adding that all provisions have been made to ensure that schools are ready to reopen in September.
Gonsalves first announced in late June the vacation, which he said would have begun after the 32nd Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Summit in St. Kitts from June 30 to July 4 and a meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, which was postponed.
“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. … And, I have a problem also with my ankle,” said Gonsalves, who turns 65 on Aug. 8.
He did not attend the CARICOM meeting but assigned Foreign Affairs Minister Sen. Douglas Slater to lead the delegation to St. Kitts.