Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says he is battling “a terrible flu” that has left him taking antibiotics and other medication.
The illness caused the Gonsavles, who turns 76 in August, to miss Thursday’s meeting of Parliament, when government MPs spent almost six hours praising his leadership of the Unity Labour Party over its 21 years in office.
The prime minister, speaking on his party’s radio station earlier on Thursday, apologised for missing the meeting of the national assembly and said he hopes to be better by Monday, the actual anniversary of the ULP’s 2001 election to office.
“I got a terrible cold, a terrible flu. Apparently, it is going around. I avoided the COVID and end up with the flu, it really mash me up.”
Gonsalves said he caught the flu at a t time when he was tired.
“I have been pushing myself to the limit so my body became susceptible. I knew from the beginning it wasn’t COVID, I did not have any of the symptoms.”
He said his COVID-19 tests on Saturday and Wednesday returned negative results.
“This one is a flu, a terrible one… It has not been pleasant. I have to be so constrained and I have always been very active,” he said.
‘he has fallen sick’ — Deputy PM
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Montgomery Daniel announced the prime minister’s illness in Parliament on Thursday.
“I believe you are aware that he has fallen sick. Like all of us, being human, one day we will fall sick as well. And so, prime minister will not be with us,” Daniel said.
He said that when he contacted the prime minister, he was told the he would not attend Parliament.
“But, knowing the prime minister, of course, he may every well be with us here today. You never know. But we want to wish him well.”
Daniel said that Gonsalves is “an outstanding son of the soil.
“He has worked hard for this country, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and we want to ask that he has a speedy recovery and be able to join us in the near future.”
Daniel also announced that government MPs Orando Brewster was absent as he was overseas on government business and that Senator Rochard Ballah “again is on some sick leave”.
In January, Ballah was among eight government lawmakers who missed part or all of the budget debate after they tested positive for COVID-19.
To ensure that the budget was passed within the timeline the government set out, the prime minister revoked Ballah’s senatorial appointment temporarily and replaced him with former Culture Minister Rene Baptiste.
Ballah was subsequently re-appointed senator.
And, Leader of the Opposition Godwin Friday said he was just hearing of the prime minister’s illness.
“Let just say from members on this side of this house that we too wish him a speedy recovery so that he can return to do his duty here and elsewhere,” he told Parliament.
Last August, after being injured during protest in Kingstown, the prime minister blamed Friday for his injury and said he would not talk to the opposition leader.
On Thursday, the opposition leader also announced that opposition senator Israel Bruce will not be in Parliament because he was completing quarantine.