A woman who went to see a doctor at a state-owned clinic recorded him making critical comments of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves.
Gonsalves made the disclosure on Thursday during a press conference in which he reported to the nation on his recent visit to Europe.
The Prime Minister said that the doctor is employed by the state, adding “and I am quite sure he is a good human being” but described his conduct as unprofessional.
He said the young woman went to see the doctor as a patient just over two weeks ago.
“And all he begins with is a bare anti-Ralph politics,” Gonsalves said, adding that the young woman used her phone to record a part of the conversation.
He read what he said was the “monologue” that the doctor had.
The Prime Minister read at Thursday’s press conference what he said was a transcript of the conversation, prepared by his secretary.
Gonsalves said the doctor’s comment were:
“Eat a lot of apples. The problem is, it’s always expensive to eat healthy, you understand. And thanks to your wicked government who you are dying for, everything gone up. But you don’t mind. Do you? Because you are supporting Ralph, right?
“I don’t understand all yo’ young people. You all will be suffering under these people and you all will still die for them. I don’t understand how all yo’ thinking.”
The Prime Minster said that the doctor also told the young woman that she needs to eat a lot of yogurt.
The physician is said to have noted that the supermarket used to sell yogurt for EC$2.70 but “since your worship government raised VAT, they gone up now to 2.95 or three dollars.
“I’m sure you wouldn’t mind paying more, right? That is just how it is. To eat healthy is expensive and Ralph Gonsalves make it even more expensive,” Gonsalves further read from the transcript.
In his Budget address earlier this year Gonsalves announced the imposition of VAT on a number of items, including sugar, flour, rice, cooking oil, salt, and chicken part, except the back and neck.
The new tax regime will take effect on May 1.
He said the doctor told the patient that his government did not put VAT on the unhealthy meat like chicken back, adding, “So poor people would have to eat more chicken back and they would die faster.
“I’m sure you wouldn’t mind either right? Anyway, that is how it is. Of course it’s politics. Every time you breathe, it’s politics. It has to be.”
Commenting on the doctor’s alleged comments, Gonsalves said one would think it is “a rant by an NDP fanatic on NICE Radio”.
He said the doctor’s purpose in the recording is not to advise on diet but to curse and abuse him, “never mind the fact that though I have now made sugar and salt and a couple of other things like the chicken parts save and except back and neck now vatable, the VAT ain’t coming in until the first of May, but, already, I am being criticized for raising it.”
Gonsalves who is also Minister of Finance said that yogurt is not on any list of items on which VAT would be imposed.
The Prime Minister, who is a lawyer, said that one would have thought that a doctor who wants to advise someone on their diet, would suggest local fruits.
He, however, said this was not the doctor’s interest.
“The government is paying a doctor, the people of St. Vincent is paying a doctor, someone has a health problem, goes to a doctor and instead of the doctor paying attention to the person’s condition, he wants to make it an occasion to rile up the person on partisan politics.
“Now, how in heaven name is that professional? How could that in heaven’s name be reasonable?” Gonsalves said.
“Let us stop these things. We have too many problems already,” he said, adding, “By all means, oppose me if you want to oppose me.
“By all means, vote for whoever you want to vote,” Gonsalves said but added that it is inappropriate for a state-employed physician to behave that way when someone comes to see them at a state facility.
He said there are already many persons who are reluctant to go see doctors and dentists.
“So, if somebody is going to … have a conversation about their eating and so on with a physician, the physician should make that visit as normal as possible. I would have thought so and I believe most people would think so, but there it goes. But, you see, the’re different sets of perspective.
“If I am out of the way, apparently all of the problems in St. Vincent would be solved.
“And no tax must be put on the probiotic yogurt … on drivers licences. St. Vincent would be a land of milk and honey. If you like milk and you don’t like honey, they would tell you migrate cause we only serve milk and we only serve honey. Let us be real. That’s all I am asking,” Gonsalves said.
Over the past year, some interesting secret recordings have surfaced in SVG.
Last year, Louis Straker was heard speaking in an untoward way about his fellow ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) member and then MP for Central Leeward Maxwell Charles who had succeed him in that district.
Straker’s comment came one day after he came out of politics after a five-year break to replaced Charles as the ULP’s candidate in that district for the December 2015 elections, which Straker and the ULP went on to win.
And last November, recordings of man sounding strikingly similar to a prominent ULP politicians having phone sex with a female made the round on social media and instant messaging services.
And, in another recording late last year, a voice sounding strikingly similar to that of a ULP candidate was heard asking a young woman to get him the names of all the opposition New Democratic Party’s agents in East Kingstown for the December polls.