Despite being the target of the Opposition’s attacks last night, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley was said to be continuing on the mend after his angioplasty at the West Shore Hospital last weekend.
Rowley and National Security Minister Stuart Young were the targets of accusations by Opposition Member of Parliament Rodney Charles at last night’s UNC meeting.
Charles, saying T&T’s foreign police don’t serve the national interest, slammed policies including on migrant/refugee issues, Venezuela and other matters.
Charles asked if Dr Rowley, as CARICOM chairman will seize the opportunity to try and resolve the simmering Venezuela/Guyana maritime border issue.
Rowley however, is recuperating after he was taken to the private hospital last Friday suffering from discomfort and reported cardiac issues. After overnight observation and tests—including an angiogram—an angioplasty was done.
Angioplasty is a common procedure to open clogged arteries whereby a tiny balloon is used to widen the artery.
It’s described as a method to alleviate not only clogged arteries and angina that can’t be controlled by medication but also as an emergency process if someone’s having a heart attack.
After the angioplasty, Dr Rowley was assessed by doctors last Sunday and discharged.
The Prime Minister’s office didn’t issue any word on Rowley’s condition yesterday.
Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young didn’t reply to WhatsApp queries on Dr Rowley’s day, if he was ambulatory, when he’d return to work, and on who is paying for the stay at the private hospital.
But several Cabinet members said Dr Rowley was “good….and resting” and he’d been talking to some ministers. They had no idea when he’d return to work.
Yesterday, normal Government functions which Dr Rowley usually heads continued, including a Cabinet sub-committee meeting.
Bharath wishes PM well, Roodal doing tests
The UNC’s Vasant Bharath who suffered a heart attack in December 2008, yesterday wished Dr Rowley a speedy recovery.
In 2008 Bharath, was rushed to the St Clair Medical Centre and had to have a stent inserted. That is a tiny tube of metal mesh or plastic to keep a blocked artery open.
Bharath said, “Politics is a stressful profession. I wish Dr Rowley good health as he’s going to require all his faculties to be in full play to handle the challenges we face ahead.”
Bharath said he had no problems since his heart attack 13 years ago and hasn’t had by-pass surgery. He said a doctor who saw him two months ago, said the stent was in the same shape in which it was inserted and his cardiogram also showed no issue.
Bharath said his only changes since suffering the heart attack was “a little more frequent exercise and being a little more careful in what I eat…but no major diet change.”
Yesterday, UNC MP Dr Roodal Moonilal, who was among the first to wish Dr Rowley well last Friday, said, “Dr Rowley’s matter and his treatment is a wake-up call for us all in public life undertaking the stresses and rigours of public service and political conflict of all kinds.”
“This incident reminds us all our health is our wealth and I must confess to being very delinquent in managing mine but this has jolted me into making the necessary appointment to a complete bloodwork check, to embark on a weight loss programme and to return to the golf course,” he said.
There are a number of people on the Opposition benches in the Upper and Lower Houses, including Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, managing health issues. On Government’s side, there’s also a significant number of people managing health issues.
While Dr Rowley has received ‘Get Well’ messages from some, there’s also been a stream of negative comments.
PNM communications manager Laurel Lezama-Lee Sing said yesterday, “I saw positive comments from people. But the only negative comments were under the Opposition Leader’s brief ‘Get Well’ greeting where her supporters said some of the most vile, vitriolic things. Those comments were neither discouraged or removed. It speaks of the cold, bitter hearts that exist in some sectors of society.”
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s healthcare costs will be born by the State, according to the conditions of his remuneration package.
This was confirmed yesterday by Government officials.
Under the Salaries Review Commission’s 98th report (2013) recommendations, the listing for ‘Prime Minister’ states, “Medical Benefits Entitlement to medical attention/treatment and prescribed drugs for self, spouse and children who are unmarried and under the age of eighteen, at any healthcare facility under the Regional Health Authorities, including the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex. Where such medical attention/treatment is not available at such healthcare facility, the costs at any other hospital, institution or nursing home in Trinidad and Tobago to be met by the State. (‘Medical attention/treatment’ excludes optical and dental treatment/services. ‘Prescribed drugs’ exclude drugs which are obtainable without a prescription.)”
A source stated that costs for the treatment, and for any necessary follow-ups, will likely be taken to Cabinet for approval.
They noted, “Costs will be paid for by the State. The State has paid for healthcare costs for former prime ministers Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Basdeo Panday continuing up to today and for instance wherever Mr Panday has had healthcare treatment.”