Still no word on president’s return

Harmon: ` The doctors have advised that he cannot travel and until he is given advice from his doctors, we cannot [say]’

President David Granger

Even as speculation about the health of President David Granger continues to grow, government yesterday said it is still uncertain of when he is due to return as he still has to await clearance from doctors in Cuba.

“The doctors have advised that he cannot travel and until he is given advice from his doctors, we cannot [say],” Minister of State Joseph Harmon yesterday told Stabroek News when contacted.

The Ministry of the Presidency said that any other statement on the president’s health will be issued by the Guyana Embassy in Cuba.

“Any other statement will be issued by the Guyana Embassy in Cuba, as it was stated last week,” Ministry of the Presidency (MotP) spokeswoman Ariana Gordon said when reached.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge, who is currently acting as Prime Minister, explained that the decision was made to have the President’s health update issued from the Guyana Embassy in Cuba so that it is “Accurate and straight from the place he is located and being treated.”

Two weeks ago, Granger, accompanied by First Lady Sandra Granger, left Guyana for Cuba for what the Ministry of the Presidency said was to “undergo a medical investigation.”

He was scheduled to return to Guyana on Sunday, in time to vote at Monday’s local government elections. But on Sunday the MoTP said he would not be returning then.

There was no word on when he would be returning or update on his medical condition but Harmon had said that government would have issued a further statement yesterday.

Greenidge assured that a statement would be issued and said there should be no concern on which country the statement comes from but that it comes. “I won’t worry too much about where it is issued, you just look at what is issued,” he said.

The president had a medical check-up in Trinidad and Tobago in May. It was announced by the Ministry of the Presidency that following that check-up he had been experiencing some “symptoms.” No reference was made to the type of symptoms he had been experiencing.   

Shortly before his departure on October 30th, Granger, 73, told the MoTP press team that he had travelled twice to Trinidad and Tobago, where he had done his annual medical check-up in May and had been given a clean bill of health.

“If I take you back over the last six months, I went to Trinidad and Tobago to do my annual medical examination which is normally done in August.  I went in May because of the Congress of my party and the impending local government elections,” he was quoted as saying.

However, on his return to work, the President said that he started to experience certain symptoms, which were persistent, and he took the decision to travel back to Trinidad to revisit the tests that were done in May.

“At that time, they discovered some symptoms which needed further investigation so I just agreed with that diagnosis and made arrangements to go to Cuba for further investigations.  At this time, there is no clear indication of disorder or what the nature of the disorder is. It is a question of investigation and I think I can get the best advice in Cuba,” he stated.

While he does not suffer from a particular ailment, President Granger said that out of an abundance of caution, he took the decision to travel to Cuba to have the relevant medical investigation done.

“The Guyanese public should be assured that once those investigations are complete they would be kept abreast with the health of the President of the Republic,” he said.

On the 7th of November, the Department of Public Information issued an update on the President’s condition, informing that he was “resting comfortably at an official residence” following “an intensive series of tests by specialist doctors immediately after he arrived in Cuba on Tuesday, October 30, 2018.”

It said that he continued to receive treatment at Cuba’s Centro de Investigaciones Medico Quirugicas (CIMEQ) and responded satisfactorily.

“The President is receiving treatment at the Centro de Investigaciones Medico Quirugicas (CIMEQ) in Havana. Clinical analyses are still incomplete and it is expected that the Guyana Embassy in Havana will issue a statement when enough evidence is available. The Head of State has responded satisfactorily to medical interventions over the past week, however, and is recovering well,” the statement explained.

The press release spoke of “treatment” and “medical interventions,” whereas the earlier press release had only referred to a “medical investigation.”

Cuba’s CIMEQ, located in the exclusive beach-based Siboney community of Havana, has some of the country’s most senior doctors, specialists and medical researchers attached to it.

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