Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, 74, will be flown to Barbados for an MRI to determine the extent of the injuries he sustained when he was struck in the head as he walked through a protest in Kingstown, on Thursday evening.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging technique used to create detailed images of the organs and tissues in the body.
“I want to inform the public that on the analysis and advice of the medical professionals at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, a decision has been taken that it is necessary to fly the prime minister to Barbados to receive and MRI consequent on the injuries,” Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves told Parliament, after 10 p.m. on Thursday.
“I want to say that clearly. This is not some scratch. This was an attempt on the prime minister,” said Gonsalves, who is also the prime minister’s son.
“I want to thank, on behalf of the government, Prime Minister Mottley, and her team in Barbados for making the necessary arrangements tonight to fly the honourable prime minister to Barbados to receive that MRI. That is the seriousness we are talking about today,” he said.
“But I am fortified by Almighty God, and I am fortified by the prime minister’s favourite song, by Prince Buster, they could lick him down, you could knock him down, he would bounce right back, cause he is a hard man fe dead,” the finance minister said.
The update by the younger Gonsalves came about an hour after the Office of the Prime Minister said in a statement that the injured leader would remain warded at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital overnight.
The Office of the Prime Minister said in a press statement that Gonsalves was recuperating under the care of hospital staff.
“He will remain at the hospital overnight for observation. He has informed his colleagues that he is recovering, and reaffirmed that no lawless mob will prevent him from doing the people’s business in the seat of our democracy,” the statement said.
The statement said that at approximately 5:15 p.m., Gonsalves was physically assaulted and wounded by “Opposition demonstrators while attempting to enter the House of Assembly.
“Approximately 200 demonstrators, responding to a call to action from the Leader of the Opposition, picketed the Parliament and blocked the entrance to building. When the crowd prevented the vehicle carrying the Honourable Prime Minister from driving through the gate of the Parliament, he alighted the vehicle and attempted to enter on foot.
“An Opposition demonstrator then hurled a projectile at the Prime Minister, which struck him in the head, inches above the temple. The Prime Minister, bleeding profusely, was taken to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital by his security detail, where he was met by his wife,” the statement said.
The statement said that Gonsalves “strongly reiterated his belief in the solemnity of the vote as a cornerstone of parliamentary democracy and basis of governmental legitimacy.
“In spite of his injuries, the Prime Minister welcomed all peaceful demonstration as a fundamental right enshrined in our Constitution, but cautioned that legitimate peaceful demonstration should in no way impede parliamentarians’ rights of entrance and egress from the House of Assembly.
“Moreover, the use of violence in pursuit of political purposes is entirely unacceptable. We expect that the perpetrator of the actual act of violence will be brought to justice.
“Such an act is to be unequivocally condemned. Equally to be condemned are the instigators and back-room authors of this kind of violence,” the statement said.