Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says he feels “so terrible” about the attack of a Cuban doctor in Kingstown, on Friday night, resulting in him being placed in intensive care at the nation’s main hospital.
Police are yet to comment on the incident, but iWitness News was reliably informed that Dr. Alfredo Batista Salgado, a member of the Cuban Medical Brigade, was on his way home to McKies Hill when he was cut across the abdomen, resulting in his intestines being exposed.
“I feel so terrible about this incident which happened where someone inflicted this very severe wound on a Cuban doctor,” Gonsalves said on WE FM on Sunday.
“I have been getting reports from the police,” said Gonsalves, who is also minister of national security.
He said he has also been keeping up to date with Minister of Health Jimmy Prince and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Cuthbert Knights.
“It is of great concern and the Cuban ambassador has been in touch with us and we have been in touch with him,” Gonsalves said.
“And we are hoping that he gets over this particular injury. But the Cuban people and the Cuban government know that we appreciate very much the work that they are doing and the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines show tremendous kindness to the Cuban professionals who are here.”
Gonsalves spoke of the excellent relationship between the Cuban medical professionals and the people and the other health workers in the Georgetown area, where many of the Cubans are based.
The prime minister noted that the attack on the doctor comes days after the announcement by Havana that it will grant 21 scholarships to Vincentians this year, an increase over last year’s figure.
The prime minister said he was surprised at the increase in light of “all of the difficulties that Cuba is facing”.
He said the scholarships are mainly in the medical field, including seven first degrees in medicine, seven degrees in nursing, four for post graduate studies in different specificalities in medicine and one in engineering.
“Despite all their challenges under this wicked, illegal embargo that the American government has on Cuba. It is cruel and they have been helping us very much and we have to thank them,” Gonsalves said.
iWitness News was reliably informed that prison guards found Salgado outside His Majesty’s Prison bleeding profusely and his intestines exposed.
Salgado, 53, who is the district medical officer for the Marriaqua health District and is based at the Levi Latham Health Centre, is said to have told police that he was on his way home after the calypso semi-finals at Victoria Park when someone attacked him.
iWitness News understands that the doctor suffered a large wound to his abdomen and lost a considerable amount of blood, resulting in being placed in intensive care.
There are a number of Cuban healthcare professionals performing various roles in the public and private healthcare sector in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The attack on the physician may cause Vincentians to remember a case in September 2019 where Cuban surgeon Horlirio Ferrer-Robaina saved the life of Byera resident Michael “Mike” Woods, who was disembowelled in a cutlass attack.