Deputy Prime Minister, Sir Louis Straker. (IWN file photo)

Deputy Prime Minister Sir Louis Straker on Thursday dismissed as opposition propaganda reports that he was ill and receiving medical attention in New York.

Straker, who turns 72 on Feb. 23, said, however, that he was in the United State for his annual check-up and was discussing with his doctors the scheduling of the removal of a “small cataract” from his left eye.

In a call to a local radio station, Straker, who came out of retirement last year to contest Central Leeward for the Unity Labour Party (ULP) again, said that he was in New York for a check-up that he should have had since last September.

Foreign Affairs, Commerce and External Trade Minister sought to assure listeners that he was in good health.

“Nothing is wrong with me. In fact, when I took my pressure with my general practitioner, my pressure was 120 over 80. He said, ‘Man, you are a young man.’ My diabetes count was very good, my prostate is alright, my cholesterol is OK. The basic thing is just for me to see the specialist with my eye and get some dental work done. I am fine! Let them know that I am fine. I hope people are hearing this,” he said.

Straker, who did not inform the nation that he was travelling overseas for medical attention, told the radio programme that the “rumour mill” of the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) seemed to be going crazy.

He said had received calls about whether there was any truth that he left St. Vincent in an air ambulance or whether he had to be taken by ambulance from the airport in New York.

“I don’t know where all this madness and stupidness come from. I am well. I should have been up here since last year. Once a year, to take advantage of my insurance, health insurance, I come to the United States for a full check-up,” Straker said.

He said he did not go to the United States last year although he had a ticket to travel in September.

“I didn’t use it and I had a year in which to use it. I lost some money but because of the campaign, I didn’t come last year, but I decided to come this year because really, mostly, it is my dental work and the doctor told me about a year and a half ago there was a small cataract in my left eye and I must make sure I come back in six months. It’s more than a year I hadn’t seen the doctor. I decided to come at this time.

“I am feeling fine and I don’t know where they are getting this stupid rumour from that I was sick.

“Everybody saw me up to the Friday I left there. I was in Kingstown, I was walking around, I showed up at my job and I left Friday night and I am here and I don’t know where they got this stupid thing from that I am sick and I am dying or I had a stroke and all this foolishness from.”

Straker was MP for Central Leeward from 1994 to 2010 when he retired from electoral politics. But the party called him out of retirement last year, amidst a strong challenge from the NDP’s Ben Exeter against then MP, Maxwell Charles, who the ULP retired after one term.

Straker said that he and Central Leeward have a love affair.

He said the NDP had it in their heart that they were going to win Central Leeward and put it with the other seven seats that it had in the last Parliament and form the government in the Dec. 9 elections.

The ULP won the vote by eight seats to the NDP’s seven.

“And they were badly disappointed. And I kept telling them that they could not win Central Leeward as long as I was running as a candidate in Central Leeward. And, with the help of God, if I were to run again in 2020, I would win Central Leeward again. But I have already indicated in Parliament that I would not run again,” Straker said.

“So, I don’t know why they are going crazy. They are making themselves look like fools. They are putting up all this propaganda and making it look as if something is wrong with me in Brooklyn.

“I am well. I am sitting in my living room right now, waiting to go to see a retina specialist and to get my OK to see whether I have to have the surgery now, or if I can put it off.”

He said he was told that he would need a month in Brooklyn for the eye surgery and follow-up care.

“And I don’t want to stay very long up here, because I want to be home for the Budget. But these folks, they manufacture their own foolishness and there are fools like them who believe this kind of story.”

The Budget Debate is scheduled to begin on Feb. 22.

Straker said that he had notified the Cabinet of his intention to travel and had also told his constituency council and other “prominent people” in the Constituency.

He, however, said that he did not inform the Speaker of the House of Assembly.

The government did not inform the nation that Straker was leaving the country.

Strake promised constituents   “five years of even greater representation”.

9 replies on “Deputy PM says US trip is for annual check-up”

  1. Since the health care system in SVG is so good, why has the so-called Deputy PM gone to the US for an annual checkup and to do a simple procedure as removing a cataract from his eye? Is it that he does not have faith in the excellent health care system that the simple man/woman/child in SVG is forced to endure?

  2. 1. These political elites have no shame to throw it in poor people’s that an the anointed ones they are entitled to better, foreign medical care than ordinary Vincentians.

    2. I bet Straker has no private overseas medical insurance and like most returned migrants still pretends to maintain overseas residence in order to take advantage of the free medical care that seniors in the United States are entitled to (Medicare). Someone should report him to the authorities.

  3. …Hi Anita;-)

    The only concern I have with this issue, is the seemingly lack of respect by the government to issue a public announcement to officially inform the general public about the absence of an elected official, minister etc.

    But this is vincyland, to hell with protocol.

  4. Petty, Petty, Petty!
    Where do we get our “right to life” from…THE US!
    Where do we get our” economics” from… THE US!
    Where do we get our “sustenance” from (drinks, food, etc) …THE US!
    Where do we get our “technology” from… THE US! (Via China)
    So in that case, “Deputy PM I agree wid yo. Hurry up to THE US for first rate medical care, and if things don’t work out well, next stop CUBA”! Please. Gey me a break!

  5. Sir Lewis has said that his American citizenship is a “non-issue,” but has never offered any proof that he has renounced his American citizenship.

    The research I have done — and will reveal in due course — suggests that he is still an American citizen who is permanently residing in his homeland St. Vincent and the Grenadines. If I am correct, this means:

    1. He is guilty of electoral fraud because American citizens are prohibited from occupying elected political office in SVG.

    2. He is guilty of Medicare fraud because Americans permanently residing overseas are prohibited from accessing Medicare.

    3. He is guilty of fraudulently holding a British title like “Sir” since American citizens are prohibited from holding such honorific titles.

    On the other hand, there is actual evidence on US government web sites that Camillo Gonsalves has indeed renounced his American citizenship.

    Even if “Sir” Louis renounced his American citizenship today, his election on December 9, 2015 would still be legally null and void.

    Do your own homework and prove that I am wrong!

    1. THE COURT: I understand the Jury has brought in a verdict

      OLD WOMAN: Your honor, the Jury has reached a verdict…I think.

      RALPHIE: Your Honor, before the jury is brought in, may I make a statement? May I address the Court please?

      THE COURT: WTF, Really…yes yes

      RALPHIE: Your Honor, considering what has gone on in this courtroom before, we would ask your Honor to have the court cleared of all spectators except the press-Ms Garraway. I have the authority for it if your Honor requires it.

      PETER BINOSE: Your Honor, we would want to voice the strongest possible objection to the application by the Government. To clear the courtroom at what is probably the most significant part of the trial, the rendering of a verdict, of the friends and relatives of the defendants is to deny them a public trial. The verdict of this jury should not be received in secret with or without the press being here. I think this is making a star chamber proceeding out of this procedure. There have been many claims made by the defendants about this trial, that it has not been a fair trial, that it has been a trial which has been dictated by an almost indecent effort to convict them, and we have made this contention, as your Honor knows, against you and against the prosecution. This is the last possible motion that the Government can make in this case and the defense is hoping that with this last motion, that your Honor will at long last deny a motion made by the prosecution and not let these men stand here alone in the courtroom that has essentially been their home for five months. I beg and implore you to deny this motion of the Government.

      THE COURT: F–K YOU RALPHIE. You always trying to hug the limelight. Sit to f–k down. And Mr Binose, what with the sermon..just say objection and its enough for me…jeez…The verdict may be read now.

      JURY: We, the jury find the defendant, Sir Loose Dentures, NOT GUILTY on all but one count as charged in the indictment.

      1.On Count ONE, we are unable to come to a verdict on this issue. The issue is complicated by the ambiguity of the relevant electoral laws. There are provisions in our constitutions which prohibit the holding of office by persons who owe “allegiance, obedience or adherence” to a foreign government; yet, the various courts in the Region have shown no consistent leanings in the way these terms can be, and indeed have been interpreted. Camillo made a convincing legal argument as to why dual citizenship is not an issue and this has been supported in some courts in the Region but rejected by others. It would be interested if the NDP actually challenged the eligibility of Sir Loose Dentures IF he indeed hold American citizenship. We strongly suggest that C. ben-David provide a far more substantive argument to uphold his legal position on this issue.

      THE COURT: Wait a f–king minute, you mean to say you dumbarses spend all this time f–king around and couldn’t come up with a verdict on the most important issue…really..so basically I have to rule a mistrial here…WTF…carry on.

      2.NOT GUILTY-US citizens living overseas simply do not get coverage outside of the US. But there are alternatives plans available to US citizens living overseas to allow them to pay for the upkeep of their medicare plans, in the event that they return to the US. IF Sir Loose Dentures has medicare, it make sense for him to go back to the US;as he can’t get any coverage while in SVG. We found no evidence to support the claim of FRAUD.

      3.NOT GUILTY- Even though many US citizens have been knighted by the queen such as; BILL GATES AND PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH, they indeed can’t use “SIR” before their names in any OFFICIAL document or capacity. Yes, IF Sir Loose Dentures has a US passport, there will be no “sir” before his name in it…but outside of the US, its perfectly fine for Sir Loose Dentures to use the “SIR”, if only to just show his arse in the presence of other dignitaries. Where is the fraud?

      THE COURT: Well Thank you ladies and gentlemen. My apologies for calling you dumbarses. I wish I were eloquent enough to express my profound disappointment to you for your several months of disservice in this case, one of the most difficult I ever tried, one of the longest, and I know you had a great responsibility not to f–k it up but you just couldn’t help yourselves. I express to you on behalf of everybody concerned our deep and appreciative f–k you!

      You are excused now.

      1. Thank you, TeacherFang. I stand corrected on the knighthood issue but continue to look into the medical insurance and citizenship issues and will report back in due course with more convincing evidence.

        My preliminary analysis is that any medical insurance purchased in the United States by seniors (like Sir Louis) who are ineligible for government Medicare is for those residing in the United States as visitors or long term residents. For example, I have not been able to find any annual private plans in New York State for people living overseas, say in SVG, who want to be able to travel and get treated there for medical issues. (I do know that such plans are or were available for Vincentians for treatment in Trinidad.) If I am wrong, I apologize for not looking hard enough.

        As for the citizenship issue, I have found no evidence that Sir Louis has renounced his American citizenship; on the other hand, I have found evidence that Camillo Gonsalves did so in 2015.

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