KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – A 10-working-day trip overseas this month is on the calendar of a still-ailing Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, as he returns to the public spotlight after being hospitalised last month in Barbados, where he was treated for an abscess.
The 66-year-old head of government will on Wednesday leave St. Vincent for Taiwan to attend on Sunday the second-term inauguration of President Ma Ying-jeou.
“I had promised the president of Taiwan that I would come to his second inauguration and despite the fact that I am not fully recovered, because the incision is still not healed, I am keeping my commitment and I want to show my appreciation to the government and people of Taiwan for all the assistance they have given to us,” he told reporters during a 150-minute press briefing Tuesday.
In Taiwan, Gonsalves will on Saturday meet with the 40-member Vincentian community, which comprises mainly students.
He will then travel to London to deliver the keynote address at a function for 50 Vincentian entrepreneurs.
Gonsalves returns to St. Vincent on May 30 for back-to-back meetings of Parliament.
The meeting on May 31 is a regular one but lawmakers will gather on June 1 for a short ceremonial meeting to mark the Queen’s diamond jubilee.
During the press briefing on Tuesday, Gonsalves updated reporters and radio and Internet audiences on the nation’s economy, the Argyle International Airport and other national issues. He also commented on political developments, including the opposition’s policy on religion that led to the revocation of Anesia Baptiste’s senatorial appointment.
Later Tuesday, Gonsalves delivered the keynote address in Langley Park where the government handed over keys to three new and 11 refurbished houses to persons whose houses where damaged or destroyed by flash floods in April 2011.
Gonsalves fell ill in Barbados last month en route the Middle East, days after he complained of being excessively tired after the Summit of Americas in Colombia.
On his return to St. Vincent after two weeks in Barbados, Gonsalves denied having suffered a heart attack and said that there were no problems with his prostate gland.
“I am feeling good!” he said at the airport, adding, “I know that the public is concerned about my wellness and I have to report that I am feeling good.”